Biggest World Cup Qualifying Blunders
Though it may be the pinnacle of quality in world football, even those playing on the international stage have a “blonde moment” every now and then.
Tuesday brought a close to World Cup qualification for a host of UEFA participants as the likes of England, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Spain all booked their places in next year’s World Cup finals.
However, it wasn’t such a smooth journey for all those seeking to climb the next rung on the World Cup ladder.
Last night showcased some of the finest football standards one can witness in the sport, but not everyone can claim to have been so proficient.
Read on to find out who wasn’t quite so silky smooth during the latest round of World Cup qualification.
6. Volkan Demirel Watches the World Pass by
Having a set-piece taker like Arjen Robben on your side will always be a great boon for any side, not least of which is the Bayern Munich attacker’s national team.
Although Netherlands had already secured their spot at the 2014 World Cup, Louis Van Gaal’s men saw fit to dish out one more solid win this week, this time a 2-0 thumping of Turkey.
However, it didn’t help the hosts that defensive concentration such as this was on display as Robben netted a direct free-kick from 35 yards out.
The Dutchman was hoping to simply curl his delivery into the box so that someone else might finish things off, but Volkan Demirel was kind enough to simply allow the ball to sail through the blockade and straight into the corner of his net.
As a goalkeeper, one of the first rules learned is to always watch the ball and never the man. Demirel might have forgotten his training on this occasion.
5. Wael Gomaa Own Goal Gaffe
Egypt’s 6-1 loss to Ghana on Monday was a result that the seven-time winners of the African Cup of Nations will be in a hurry to forget.
Showcasing an absolute lack of defensive nuance, Egypt fell victim to the Blacks Stars’ counter time and again, often to great success for the hosts.
One of the more embarrassing moments for the Egyptians came in the victors’ second goal where, after Michael Essien seared in on Sherif Ekramy’s goal, Wael Gomaa was on hand to put the final touches on the move.
An own goal is never glamorous, but such was the decisive manner in which this entry came about that it sticks so far out from the average.
4. BBC’s Ropey Ramsey Report
In the humdrum world of the modern media, even the very best can make mistakes and however swift they’re cleared up, chances are they’re around to stay.
Such was the case on Monday when BBC Sport reported in their live blog that Aaron Ramsey was mean enough to actually tread on someone’s (ahem) derriere in the build-up to his goal against Belgium.
The faux pas was reported by 101GreatGoals.com, with the direct quote being that Ramsey “ran onto a cute a** from Craig Bellamy.”
Now, I’ve heard of team spirit, but this is getting ridiculous.
3. Dmitry Shomko Own Goal
Aiden McGeady made a characteristic nuisance of himself against Kazakhstan on Monday, forcing the Aviva Stadium’s visiting defence into several errors, the best of which came in the dying phases of the game.
Poor Dmitry Shomko may not have seen the Irishman’s saved shot creep up onto his back, but the least the Kazakh could have done is not then convert the chance into his own net.
Again, this particular blunder is finished with as much aplomb as most strikers can ever hope for, never mind a defender.
2. Hugo Almeida Open Goal Miss
The efforts you both hate to see but love to watch are often those gaping goalmouth misses, the likes of which Hugo Almeida gave a fine tribute to on Monday evening.
The Portuguese striker was in the midst of helping his side to the UEFA World Cup Qualification playoffs, but could have put things to bed against Luxembourg far earlier were it not for this skyward shot.
Six yards out and with nobody home, what could be easier than to simply stroke the ball in for national pride?
Why, cutting Row Z a slice of the ball, of course.
1. Joona Toivio Own Goal
This might be the one for the review committee as Joona Toivio netted an own goal against France last night, a finish that Olivier Giroud would have been proud of.
The Arsenal striker headed toward the opposition goal only to see his effort hit a defender harmlessly, but thankfully Toivio was on hand to slam home for Les Bleus.
In futile fashion, Didier Deschamps’ man could still only manage a playoff place behind Spain, even with their opponents helping them out.