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7 player mistakes that cost their teams major titles

  • Chronicling 7 instances when mistakes by players cost their respective teams a title at a major tournament.
  • A few of the players are still active for club and country.
Sachin Bhat
ANALYST
Feature
Modified 16 Apr 2020, 01:02 IST
The bigger you are, the harder you fall.
The bigger you are, the harder you fall.

Football games are often decided by small margins. One mistake, and a trophy could be lost. One chance missed, and you are the scapegoat.

Whether its a major final or a title-deciding league game, the room for error can be little to nothing. In the sport's rich history, there have been several players who came a cropper in the biggest moments of them all.

While a few went on to eventually redeem themselves, some were forever banished in the hall of shame. On that note, let us look at the seven players who made big mistakes that cost their respective teams a trophy.

#7 Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal) vs Birmingham City | 2010 League Cup Final

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What was Koscielny thinking?
What was Koscielny thinking?

The Frenchman's unpleasant departure last year wasn't the first time he drew flak from the Gooners. Cast your mind back to Koscielny's horrendous error that resulted in an embarrassing defeat for Arsenal in the 2010 League Cup final against Birmingham City.

With the scores deadlocked at 1-1, and extra-time looming large, the former Arsenal skipper mindlessly thwarted Wojciech Szczesny from collecting a backpass. That allowed Obafemi Gomis to pounce and score the winner for Birmingham.

#6 Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid) vs Real Madrid | 2016 Champions League Final

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Griezmann recently expressed regret over his missed chance.
Griezmann recently expressed regret over his missed chance.

Antoine Griezmann had developed a habit of scoring against Real Madrid during his time with Atletico Madrid, but he missed the most glorious chance of them all. The Frenchman missed the opportunity to pull his side level in the 2016 Champions League final in Milan by smashing his penalty kick against the crossbar.

Yannick Carrasco did find the equaliser late on that forced the penalty shootout which the Rojiblancos lost. But such a prospect would never have arisen had Griezmann dispatched that penalty. As if that wasn't disappointing enough, Griezmann then went on to lose another significant final few weeks later, the 2016 Euros, to the eventual European champions Portugal.

#5 Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich) vs Chelsea | 2012 Champions League Final

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Robben missed the chance to win it for Bayern in their backyard
Robben missed the chance to win it for Bayern in their backyard

Arjen Robben was always a clutch player for club and country, but he did choke in some crucial moments. He failed to beat Iker Casillas one-on-one in the 2010 World Cup final against Spain, and then squandered the opportunity to win Bayern the long-eluded Champions League title on home soil in 2012.

Had he dispatched his penalty kick in extra-time, the prospects of a shootout would have never occurred, and Chelsea may not have won the Champions League that season. Though as painful as it might have been for Robben to let his side down, the Dutchman did find redemption the next year. Robben netted the winner in the Wembley showpiece against Borussia Dortmund.

#4 Steven Gerrard (Liverpool) vs Chelsea | 2014 Premier League

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Gerrard
Gerrard's slip up triggered a barrage of online trolls and memes.

Liverpool had to win the game against Chelsea to maintain pressure on Manchester City, but then, Gerrard slipped, and so did the Premier League title from the club's grasp. The Reds skipper's slip-up allowed Demba Ba to put Chelsea in front.

Even though the hosts had the entirety of the second stanza to try and get something out of the match, they didn't manage to do it. Chelsea had knocked the winds out of Liverpool's sails. And even though the 3-3 draw to Crystal Palace in the next match proved to be the last straw, Gerrard became the butt of all online trolls for his gaffe.

#3 John Terry (Chelsea) vs Manchester United | 2008 UEFA Champions League Final

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Terry could have won Chelsea the title, but he slipped.
Terry could have won Chelsea the title, but he slipped.

Mr.Captain of Chelsea has had his fair share of controversies and catastrophes in a very happening career. But this particular moment against arch-rivals Manchester United might have hurt John Terry the most.

He could've won his beloved club its maiden European title by scoring his penalty in the 2008 Champions League final in Moscow. But he slipped, sending his shot against the upright. The miss proved costly as the Red Devils were crowned champions in the Russia capital.

#2 Loris Karius (Liverpool) vs Real Madrid | 2018 Champions League Final

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Karius flopped big time in the ill-fated 2018 Champions League final.
Karius flopped big time in the ill-fated 2018 Champions League final.

Some players successfully redeem themselves after a costly mistake, like a few on this list. But that certainly wasn't the case for Loris Karius, whose career would likely forever be tainted after the horror-show in the 2018 Champions League final against Real Madrid.

The German shot-stopper single-handedly cost Liverpool the title with two huge blunders. After throwing the ball straight at Karim Benzema, and then fumbling with Gareth Bale's long hopeful punt, it proved too big a deficit for the English club to overcome.

Desolate images of him crying and joining hands in a show of apology in the aftermath of the game made for a sad highlight reel of the ill-fated Kyiv final. Karius was never to be seen again in the Liverpool jersey.

#1 Oliver Kahn (Germany) vs Brazil | 2002 World Cup Final

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Kahn accidentally gifted Ronaldo a chance he didn
Kahn accidentally gifted Ronaldo a chance he didn't miss

The ever-reliable Oliver Kahn uncharacteristically caused an error in the 2002 World Cup final against Brazil that triggered Germany's downfall. Kahn spilt Rivaldo's attempt straight into the path of Ronaldo, who grabbed the opportunity with both hands to break the deadlock.

Germany, who had managed to keep the Seleccao at arm's length till that moment, were dealt a big psychological blow from which they never recovered.

Published 16 Apr 2020, 00:28 IST
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