Premier League Watch
Less than 24 hours after reportedly agreeing a bumper new five-year deal with Manchester United, David de Gea had his head buried deep into his gloves after a very disappointing World Cup opener. The Spanish goalkeeper was called into action early in his team’s first Group B fixture against Portugal, as right-back Nacho brought down Real Madrid teammate Cristiano Ronaldo with only four minutes on the clock. Despite De Gea’s best attempts to shake the unshakeable Ronaldo, he dived the wrong way. First blood to the Portugal captain.
In possession, De Gea looked typically composed throughout. Constantly available to help his back line rotate the play away from danger, his distribution numbered 18 accurate passes from 18. But, in keeping with Spain’s unsettled preparation for the tournament, De Gea was himself unsettled by a deeply uncharacteristic mistake as half-time approached. Stooping to collect a tame effort from Ronaldo, he lost focus and allowed the ball to pass through his hands and ricochet off his right ankle into the goal.
Portugal’s front line managed nine attempts on goal in the game. Three were off target and a further three blocked by the Spanish defence, meaning that De Gea failed to save any of the three attempts that Portugal – and Ronaldo – worked on target. Despite some excellent play from the 2010 champions going forward, their goalkeeper got off to a particularly stuttering start.
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