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Willy Caballero should not be anywhere near a World Cup field. He should not be Argentina’s starting goalkeeper. But he is. And for the second straight game, he cost Argentina.
This time, against Croatia, he did so in embarrassing fashion. With the two Group D favorites locked in a tense stalemate early in the second half, Cabellero completely mishit a lobbed pass, and gifted Croatia a goal – the first of a 3-0 win that will likely dump Argentina out of the World Cup:
To be fair to Ante Rebic, the Croatia forward still had a lot of work to do. His volley was excellent, and had to be excellent to take advantage of Caballero’s mistake.
But Caballero’s reaction said it all. He covered his head, and then his face, with his hands. As far as goalkeeping howlers go, this is about as bad as it gets.
Caballero would not be starting for Argentina if it weren’t for a pre-tournament injury to longtime starter Sergio Romero. Caballero, a backup for Chelsea in the English Premier League, came into the tournament as Argentina’s No. 3 – as a veteran handed a spot on the roster primarily because he’s a veteran.
But Romero’s injury vaulted him into the conversation for playing time, and manager Jorge Sampaoli made the strange – and wrong – decision to start Caballero over Franco Armani.
In Argentina’s first game, a 1-1 draw with Iceland, Caballero failed to come off his line to collect a cross. Seconds later, he dove and palmed a second cross right out to an Icelandic player who tapped home the rebound.
And now this. Argentina, with just one point from two games, is on the brink of elimination. Its fate is out of its hands.
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