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21st Mar 2019

Thibaut Courtois mistake gifts Russia open goal in Euro 2020 qualifier

Thibaut Courtois is at it again, making gaffes, gifting goals to opposition teams, because it turns out, he's not actually very good

Reuben Pinder

It is with a heavy heart that I must announce that Thibaut Courtois is at it again

Last summer, Belgium finally justified the hype surrounding their golden generation of players, as they reached the semi-finals of the World Cup, before France knocked them out by the margin of just a Samuel Umtiti header.

Roberto Martínez’s side had found a system that got the best out of key players: Eden Hazard, Vincent Kompany, Romelu Lukaku, but there was always one glaring weakness – aside from Nacer Chadli playing at wing-back.

That weakness was Thibaut Courtois. All two metres of him, stood between the goalposts like a giraffe in headlights.

Long gone are the days of him being considered as one of the world’s best goalkeepers, as he legitimately was during his time at Atlético Madrid and his first season back at Chelsea. Now, he’s become something of a punchline, as shown by Zinedine Zidane’s decision to drop him from Real Madrid’s starting line-up for his first game back in charge.

Belgium suffered from a Courtois howler on Thursday night during their Euro 2020 qualifier against Russia – the second best team in their group.

The goalkeeper had the ball at his feet, in a relatively low risk situation. He had time to pick a pass and execute it. But, so lacking in confidence with the ball on his weak foot, Courtois stuttered, unsure as to what to do, tripped over the ground, and passed straight to Denis Cheryshev.

The Valencia winger, who starred at last summer’s World Cup, reaping the benefits of [REDACTED], rounded the goalkeeper before slotting the ball home to equalise in the 16th minute, just two minutes after Youri Tielemans’ opener.

It looks like Chelsea cashed in at the right time, eh?