Football

Roy Keane Criticises 'Ball-Watching' Stones For Croatia's Second Goal

Roy Keane Criticises 'Ball-Watching' Stones For Croatia's Second Goal

At the half-way mark, with England unlucky not to have more than a 1-0 lead in their first World Cup semi-final in 28 years, Roy Keane reckoned the players 'would never forgive themselves' if they threw this one away.

Along with complimenting England on their first-half performance, that little nugget of uncertainty was Keane at his most meddlesome.

At full-time, with the score deadlocked at 1-1, England looking to be lagging, and extra-time looming, the former Irish captain found his opportunity to wreak havoc.

Alongside Gary Neville, Ian Wright and Lee Dixon, Keane went to town on an England team in danger of spurning their best chance of reaching a World Cup final in a few generations (of players, at least): 'It's back to the old England.'

As extra-time came to an end and the 'old England' had resurfaced, Keane, as expected, was merciless:

Croatia deserved it on the night. ... England gave two sloppy goals away. This game can kick you where it hurts, and England will have to suffer that tonight.

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Ultimately accusing them of not showing enough quality, Keane believed the inexperience of their players, and a lack of trophies won by the players in their club careers, told throughout: 'It was a step too far for them.'

When it came to Croatia's second goal, Keane believed Stones' defensive reactions left a lot to be desired:

Stones is very comfortable on the ball, but you've got to have the art of defending, and I always talk about players smelling danger ... Stones is ball-watching, and then when the ball goes in he's looking at people saying nobody gave me a shout - you're not going to get a shout in a World Cup semi-final!

You've got to be aware of it and deal with it yourself.

Crediting the 'warriors' of Croatia in a tough, 120-minute battle, Keane was quick to point out his admiration for Southgate after doing a fantastic job, and carrying himself with consummate class throughout the tournament.

See Also: Ryan Giggs Believes Lionel Messi Is Behind Ronaldo's Move To Italy

Arthur James O'Dea

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