José Mourinho has pulled no punches in his assessment of Argentina and Chelsea goalkeeper Willy Caballero, whose catastrophic error enabled Croatia to break the deadlock in Thursday’s FIFA World Cup Group D clash.
The Croats went on to win 3-0 – a result which leaves La Albiceleste on the brink of an ignominious early exit – and Caballero was at fault, lifting the ball up for Ante Rebic to volley home.
However, the Manchester United manager’s comments about Caballero were actually after the Iceland game last week, which Argentina drew 1-1.
Speaking in his capacity as a pundit on Russia Today, Mourinho said: “One chance, one goal, Caballero in goal or myself would be the same because I would save the same as Caballero, there was not one single dangerous situation.”
The Chelsea keeper could arguably have done better to prevent Iceland from scoring in their opening Group D clash. However, Mourinho’s criticism actually looks far more appropriate now, after Caballero tried unsuccessfully to chip the ball over Croatia wide man Rebić – who promptly fired an unstoppable volley past him.
Nevertheless, even by Mourinho’s standards, it seems a little audacious to claim that Caballero is no better between the sticks than he is. The 55-year-old played in goal for the ‘Game4Grenfell’ charity match at Loftus Road in September – and failed to make a save in the penalty shootout.
In any case, Argentina’s defeat wasn’t merely Caballero’s fault – Lionel Messi made little impact on the match, while Croatia were superior in every department. The Argentinians will be anxiously watching the match between Nigeria and Iceland on Friday.
Whatever the result, Argentina will not only need to win their final Group D match against Nigeria – they’ll also need Croatia to do them a favour against Iceland. Seeing as Croatia are already through to the last 16, this may turn out to be a forlorn hope.