Petr Cech – from Hero to Villain

Would you believe only recently a Czech goalkeeper was the hero of 2012 Champions League Final? Probably.

Would you believe the same goalkeeper let in 4 goals in the next competitive fixture he played? Probably not.

The player in question is none other Chelsea FC goalkeeper Petr Cech. On May the 19th, Cech was the hero as he saved crucial penalties. First Arjen Robben’s spot kick in extra-time then  Schweinsteiger’s penalty take during the shootout. Yes, you are right. Cech got a hand to it, which resulted in it hitting the post. Furthermore, Cech guessed every penalty the correct way.

Cech was the Man of the Match, in this writer’s humble opinion, in the final as well as in the semi-final spread over two legs. He may not have saved the Messi spot kick, but he did guess the right way. Cech made many saves during those two games. He acted like an invisible shield.

So what happened to Petr Cech in the game against Russia in Euro 2012? How could he have let in 4 goals, almost all of them he should have stopped?

One would be tempted to say that the Czech defense does not possess the same quality as the Chelsea back line. You wouldn’t be wrong if you feel so.

Cech’s major skills as a goalie are Positioning, Anticipation, Reaction and Hand-eye coordination. Even with a mediocre defense he can keep the ball out most of the time. However, his weak point(s) was his ability to stop penalties. He was an excellent shot stopper. Now he has become a complete goal keeper.

Alas, the question remains. What went wrong in the game against Russia? Let us investigate, shall we?

This writer believes it has got something to do with the football – the match ball. Adidas Tango 12 is being used for the Euro 2012.

Remember the names Jabulani and Teamgeist? The former was used in World Cup 2010 in South Africa and the latter in 2006 World Cup in Germany. One would also recall Roteiro balls used in Euro 2006.  Many controversies were connected to them. Sergio Ramos could argue that he was given one of those for his spot kick against Bayern in the Champions League Semi-Finals. Rumour has it that the ball is till flying. Flubber Deja vu anyone?

Recall this: “The new ball is really unpredictable. We will see lots of goals from 30 meters out. The balls are so quick, they have scarcely any wind resistance and they can change direction any second, also in the last five metres.”?

Those words were spoken by Petr Cech to Rotweiss, the online magazine of the Swiss Football Association, prior to Euro 2008. (Source)

After having seen a helpless Cech in front of the goal in the game against Russia, this writer feels the match ball controversy would get kicked up again.

All the goals that Cech failed to stop, he was in a great position to block them. He usually does get it right. However, one got the feeling that he reacted too slowly. There is a possibility that the ball traveled too quick in the air. If a player can manage to fire a shot when he is in or around the ‘D’, he could be in luck. To have a higher percentage of success, a player should focus on power and low altitude strikes.

So if you are still wondering whether Petr Cech is as good a goalie we saw on May the 19th, then the answer is, YES.

As history suggests, tournament match balls have been designed to help the goal scorers. After all, the audience wants to be entertained with the spectacular, don’t they?

As always, we at Chelsea FC 360 would like to know your thoughts. Also, KTBFFH.

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