Unai Simón’s failure in the 20th minute of the round of 16 match against Croatia entered directly into the chapter of misfortunes for the Spanish team in major international tournaments. Pedri’s innocent transfer was uncontrollable for the Athletic goalkeeper. Another disastrous episode in a story of blunders that Julio Cardeñosa inaugurated on June 7, 1978, in Mar del Plata, with his non-goal against Brazil, in the second game of the first phase of the World Cup in Argentina. But, over time, the goalkeepers took over this unfortunate role.

On June 27, 1984, in the Parc des Princes in Paris, before 47,000 spectators, Luis Miguel Arconada condemned the responsibility for the defeat of Spain against host France in the final of the European Championship. After a very disputed first part and with numerous alternatives, the fateful moment arrived. An affordable free kick for Arconada launched by Platini slipped between the arms and chest of the Spanish goalkeeper. Bellone’s last goal in the last minute was of little use. Spain lost the title due to one of the most childish mistakes that remind them of a goalkeeper in the disputed editions. The triumph marked the consecration of a generation of French players led by Michel Platini, who gave the first great trophy to French football. Manuel Amoros, Maxime Bossis, Alain Giresse, Jean Tigana, Luis Fernández and Bernard Lacombe were part of that team that two years earlier had failed at the World Cup in Spain, but which finally achieved the success it was after.

Antonio Maceda recalled years later: “I shared a room with him and he didn’t tell me about the goal until a couple of games later, when we came back from the summer.” Juan Señor defended him. “Arconada was a leader and he didn’t have to say anything. With his eyes he was already telling you that he was aware that he had failed, but it was an accident. He didn’t deserve it. Without him, we would not have recovered our enthusiasm for the national team because we would have returned home after the first phase, “he said.

Arconada, in the final of the Eurocopa 1984.EFE

The Spanish fans also do not forget the mistake that Zubizarreta made in the opening match of the World Cup in France 98 against Nigeria. That day, the team had gone ahead on the scoreboard with a free-kick from Fernando Hierro in the 21st minute. Nigeria then tied, but a goal from Raúl put Spain ahead again. In the 73rd minute of that match, the team’s luck at that World Cup changed: Garba Lawal crossed almost from the baseline.

It was a seemingly safe shot, the ball was not going very strong and there were no Nigerian players nearby. But Zubizarreta, the goalkeeper of Spain, reached in and deflected the ball in such a way that he ended up entering his own goal with almost no force. That play ended up becoming the symbol of that World Cup for Spanish fans, as Nigeria later scored another goal and the team lost the match. Finally, the ruling was decisive for Spain to be eliminated from that championship in the first phase.

Zubizarreta, lying on the grass after his failure against Nigeria.
Zubizarreta, lying on the grass after his failure against Nigeria.Reuters

Six years after that, at Euro 2000, in a match between Spain and Norway, José Francisco Molina, current sports director of the Federation, went to the mess gallery. The goalkeeper starred in the play of the game with a resounding error in the clearance at the edge of the area that generated the Norwegian goal. He went to catch the ball in hostile territory, away from the sticks, without having to act on a distant ball and without apparent danger. The fight seemed for the central and the forward, the consequence was a goal that will go down in the history of the Spanish fatality. “I saw it clearly, I went for the ball, but I ate it,” Molina said later.

Errors remembered such as that of René Higuita, goalkeeper of Colombia, in the round of 16 of the World Cup in Italy 90 against Cameroon. The legendary goalkeeper caught a ball almost in the middle of the field and ended up making a mess that the legendary Roger Milla took advantage of, who snatched the ball from him and scored. Colombia lost the match and had to return to their country. In the United States 1994 it was the South Korean goalkeeper Cho In Young who had the bad luck to go down in history. Young relied on a shot from the German Klinsmann and the ball ended up passing into the goal just a few millimeters from his glove. South Korea coach Kim Ho Kon replaced him at half-time. The list of goalkeepers who have gone down in World Cup and Euro Cup history for their mistakes is much longer: neither the German Oliver Kahn (who failed in the 2002 World Cup final against Brazil) nor the Salvadoran Raúl are saved. Magaña nor the Dutch Patrick Bonner. Faults for the story.

Subscribe here to our special newsletter about Euro 2021

Disclaimer: If you need to update/edit/remove this news or article then please contact our support team Learn more