Soccer fans blame everything in sight for a poor result at the World Cup: the ball, the referee, the temperature, then alignment of the planets. And this week Spanish and English fans have found new scapegoats: their goalkeepers' lady friends. After England keeper Robert Green let in an ugly sputter of a goal for the U.S. last weekend, the tabs screamed that it was his recent breakup with model girlfriend Elizabeth Minett that distracted him. And No. 2–ranked Spain's loss to Switzerland found fans blaming keeper Iker Casillas's woman, a Spanish reporter who was literally right behind the goal during the game. So are the ladies to blame?
No. Of course not. Green and Casillas are professionals at the top of their sport, playing in the most-watched, highest-pressure tournament their game has. They are good enough not to be distracted by the women in their lives, right? Well, mostly. England's Daily Mail reported last week that Green's split with Minett, a lovely blond Canadian underthings model, had left him "devastated" and could be why he stumbled so spectacularly. The couple, who'd been dating for two years, broke up just before Green got the call to join the national side in South Africa. Which has to be rough, but certainly isn't the reason he blew that save. He blew that save because he stupidly didn't put his body behind the ball. We teach kindergarteners that, for crying out loud.
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Casillas's horrorshow of a gaffe against Switzerland Wednesday was seen quite up close by his girlfriend, journalist Sara Carbonero. Carbonero was filming for her TV station from behind the goal before the game, and at the match's conclusion (1-0 for the Swiss) she was the first person to interview her boyfriend, asking him, "How did you muck that up?" (That's a translation. We're sure it sounded even worse in Spanish.) How To Help A Partner Grieve
Yeeesh. Because that's the first thing you say to the man in your life when he's just blown it on live television in front of a billion rabid footie fans. Damn. Casillas was visibly uncomfortable during the interrogation, replying, "I don't know what to say. I don't know if this defeat will have consequences. The dressing room is fed up." He didn't add, "Honey, I am a wreck here. Give me a freaking break. And a kiss."