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15th Jun 2018

David De Gea criticised the World Cup ball only three weeks ago

De Gea got his excuses in early

Reuben Pinder

“Dave saves”

Spain vs Portugal provided us with the best half of football of the tournament so far, which is no surprise given the players on show.

Portugal took the lead early on through a dubious penalty that Cristiano Ronaldo made no mistake in slotting home. Diego Costa then levelled the scoring with a powerful shot into the bottom corner, leaving Rui Patricio helpless.

But Portugal did not retreat into themselves. Instead they came back with more intensity, looking to get Ronaldo running at Spain’s defensive line.

On the cusp of halftime, Ronaldo received the ball just outside the penalty area. He got the ball out from under his feet as best he could and unleashed a tame effort straight at David De Gea.

De Gea then very uncharacteristically allowed the ball to slip through his fingers and trickle into the net. It was reminiscent of Robert Green’s error against the United States of America back in 2010.

This howler comes just three weeks after De Gea was critical of the ball being used at this summer’s tournament.

The Manchester United keeper described the ball as “really strange” before adding that “It could have been made a lot better.”

Goalkeepers are often critical of a new ball before a tournament, keen to explain how it swerves so much more than the other footballs used in top level football.

De Gea certainly got his excuses in early this time.