Spanish goalkeeper Pepe Reina has criticised the balls being used at the World Cup after Fernando Muslera’s error led to Uruguay’s exit in a 2-0 quarterfinal defeat to France.
France were already leading 1-0 when Muslera attempted to parry Antoine Griezmann’s shot from distance, only to see it squirm through his grasp and over the line.
It was only the latest goalkeeping gaffe in a World Cup that’s been full of them, with Spain’s David De Gea and Argentina’s Willy Caballero among those who have also suffered howlers that have cost their team.
And veteran goalkeeper Reina, who was in Spain’s World Cup squad in 2006, 2010 and 2014, blamed Adidas for continuing to introduce new balls.
Reina worte: “Let’s keep ‘designing’ game balls that make it easier and easier to for goalkeepers to ‘intuit or guess’ their trajectories, shall we? We should look for another way to create a ‘show!!'”
Adidas has supplied the ball for each World Cup since 1970 and have commonly used the world’s biggest stage to unveil its newest product. The 2018 version, the Telstar 18, joins the ranks of the Tango, the Azteca, the Questra, the infamously unstable Jabulani from South Africa 2010 and the Brazuca used in Brazil in 2014.
And this year, Adidas even introduced another version of the Telstar for the knockout stage, with a new design and name: the Telstar Mechta.
Reina, who signed with AC Milan this week after playing for the likes of Barcelona, Liverpool and Napoli, had also criticised the ball before the tournament after a friendly in March and predicted trouble with long shots at the World Cup.
“I bet you as much as you like that we’ll see at least 35 goals from long range [in Russia], because it’s impossible to work out,” Reina said at the time. “And it’s covered in a plastic film that makes it difficult to hold on to. Goalkeepers are going to have a lot of problems with this ball.”
Muslera, for his part, accepted the blame for his error, saying “these are things that can happen to a goalkeeper.”