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07th Jul 2018

Slaven Bilic looked like he wanted to throttle Gary Neville after goalkeeper comment

If looks could kill

Darragh Murphy

Only Gary Neville knows if he was intentionally trying to wind Slaven Bilic up or not but we all know that he absolutely accomplished it.

Bilic was visibly angry with Neville during the English pundit’s analysis of the opening goal in the World Cup quarter-final between Russia and Croatia on Saturday evening.

Denis Cheryshev curled a gorgeous shot into the back of the Croatian net on the half-hour mark of the game and the strike was lauded as one of the goals of the tournament.

But Neville believed it had more to do with the poor positioning of goalkeeper Danijel Subasic rather than the quality of the shot.

“I’ve got a big problem. He’s too far off his line for me,” Neville said, much to the bemusement of the man sat to his left.

“He never adjusts his position from the initial attack.

“It’s a metre and a half inside the post when it goes in the back of the net. If a goal goes in without the goalkeeper diving for it from 25 yards, something’s gone wrong.

“It’s one of those ones where if the goalkeeper is in the right position, three or four yards back, he steps across and saves it with his right hand. Now people at home might say that that’s ridiculous but it’s my view.”

After then suggesting that Thibaut Courtois and Peter Schmeichel would have saved it, Neville allowed himself a wry smile as he saw Bilic, a proud Croatian, begin to rise to the bait.

“If this goal was savable then Harry Maguire’s goal was savable, Dele Alli’s goal was savable, Coutinho’s goal against Switzerland was savable,” Bilic responded before shaking his head in anger.

Lee Dixon tried to calm matters but Bilic’s blood was already boiling at that point and supporters reckoned that a bust-up was inevitable.