England’s worst goalkeeping howlers following Hart’s Iceland error
Robbie Purves | June 28, 2016
England suffered yet another exit in the early stages of an international tournament after a 2-1 defeat to Iceland in Nice on Monday, as their disappointing Euro 2016 campaign ended before it ever truly began.
The Three Lions were let down by a goalkeeping howler from Joe Hart, while outfield players lacked the desire and organisation to defeat a country with more volcanoes than professional footballers.
As England pack their bags and stuff the lion mascot that they’ve been wearing on their backs into the nearest bin, we take a look at some of the worst goalkeeping mistakes by the Three Lions’ post protectors…
Scott Carson v Croatia (2007)
England had to collect just a point from their final Euro 2008 qualifying game against Croatia to see themselves into the competition’s finals in the summer.
Manager Steve McClaren gambled with his selection, making two huge calls in dropping Paul Robinson and David Beckham, and it proved catastrophic.
Keeper Carson’s performance will live long in the memory for all the wrong reasons and saw him only collect two caps after the debacle.
When the stopper stepped out onto the turf to warm-up and saw heavy rain making the pitch increasingly treacherous and slippery, he could have been forgiven for wishing Robinson was the one stepping out – in reality his selection rival wasn’t even on the bench.
With eight minutes gone, he must have wanted the rain-sodden turf to open up and swallow him whole.
Niko Kranjcar found space 30 yards out and let fly with a speculative dipping right-footed shot that bounced just in front of the keeper and Carson fell to his knees in effort to save the tame shot, but instead he parried it into the roof of the net.
The stadium fell silent and England’s footballing world was in free-fall as they lost that game 3-2 and failed to qualify for the Euros. The press famously coined McClaren the ‘Wally with the Brolly’ and he was sacked soon after.
Robert Green v USA (2010)
Goalie Green suffered a World Cup nightmare as England were forced to settle for a desperate draw in the opening game of their campaign against the USA.
While England rarely hit the heights, they were maintaining their 1-0 advantage in relative comfort, until five minutes before half-time when Green, then with West Ham United, suffered the lapse that will haunt him.
England looked like holding their lead until the interval, before a moment of complete calamity engulfed Green. Clint Dempsey’s tame left-foot shot from 25-yards barely merited the label of speculative, but every aspect of Green’s technique collapsed, as he allowed the ball to squirm through his grasp and over the line – with him tragically crawling into the net.
England finished the group second behind the United States and therefore drew a top team, crashing out at the round of 16 at the hands of Germany.
Joe Hart v Wales and Iceland (2016)
Hart experienced arguably the worst showing of any English keeper in tournament history with his two howlers.
The Manchester City keeper only faced five shots this tournament and let in four of them, yet he claimed: “I’ve had nothing to do.”
The first of his cat-flap handed errors came against group rivals Wales. Gareth Bale lined up a free-kick from around 40-yards out, and floated it goalwards. The ball found itself about two-yards away from the keeper, yet he failed to stop it right next to him.
The other came in England’s final outing at Euro 2016, against Nordic nation Iceland. Before the game, Hart began his usual chest-beating and shouting ritual, but in reality England didn’t need that; just a goalkeeper that can save shots.
In the 18th minute, Kolbeinn Sigthorsson stroked an effort towards Hart after Swansea City’s Gylfi Sigurdsson cushioned it into his path. To many keepers this would have been a gift, but not to Hart. The ball disappeared under his arm and sent Iceland into the quarter-finals, where they are 17/2 to defeat France.
Paul Robinson v Croatia (2006)
Then Blackburn Rovers keeper Robinson was left red faced as England sunk to a dismal defeat against Croatia in a Euro 2008 qualifier in Zagreb.
The error is one of the most comical in football history, as he takes a long, confident, powerful strike into thin air.
Robinson had previously produced a string of saves to keep Croatia at bay, however, his career changed forever with his calamitous ‘clearance’. Gary Neville’s back-pass struck a divot, or at least Robinson claimed it did, as the keeper went to clear and watched in agony as the ball rolled in.
The error set up a mistake-laden qualifying campaign that ended in the Three Lions failing to reach Euro 2008.
David Seaman v Brazil (2002)
In the quarter-finals of the 2002 World Cup, Ronaldinho stood over a free-kick near the right-hand touchline. Everyone watching, including David Seaman, expected the Brazilian to float the ball into the penalty area but Ronaldinho had other ideas. The lofted the ball flew over the stranded goalkeeper’s head and into the top left-hand corner.
Despite questions over his ability to cope with dipping shots, the keeper kept his place in the side until a Euro 2004 qualifier. Against Macedonia, he conceded a goal straight from a corner in a 2-2 draw and was never selected for England again.