What do you and Joe Hart have in common?
You’ll both be watching the World Cup from the comfort of your living room this summer.
Hart’s dwindling career reached it’s lowest point yet on Wednesday as, off the back of a pretty desperate season with West Ham, he was snubbed from Gareth Southgate’s 23-man squad.
With the former England number one now stuck in limbo – neither a West Ham nor really a Man City player either – he’s stuck at a career crossroads.
It’s a far cry from the dizzy heights Hart reached in the past when he was genuinely regarded as one of the best shot stoppers around.
And we think we’ve pinpointed where it all started going wrong.
Before Euro 2012 Hart was Mr Reliable between the sticks at Man City, collecting two Premier League Golden Glove awards in succession and clinching a first Premier League title.
But after that tournament Poland and Ukraine the shakiness kicked in.
Hart’s form in the 2012/13 season dipped and then fully nose-dived in 2013/14, so much so that he was even replaced by Costel Pantilimon for a month of the season.
Pep Guardiola would later publicly shame his flaws before being shipped off on loan to Torino and most recently West Ham.
But why did it start going so pear shaped?
Well, it’s all Andrea Pirlo’s fault.
Hart thrives on confidence, so when Pirlo elected to unceremoniously humiliate him in front of millions of people around the world you can only imagine the damage caused.
You remember the moment.
The scene is the Euro 2012 quarter final.
England and Italy have laboured for 120 sluggish minutes, forcing yet another dreaded penalty shootout at a major tournament.
The Three Lions gain the early advantage when Riccardo Montolivo misses and Wayne Rooney tucks his away.
Up steps Pirlo – all bearded and brilliant – knowing another miss would put England on the brink of glory.
Any mere mortal with a sense for the magnitude of the occasion will have just put their foot through it as hard as possible.
Unfortunately for England Pirlo doesn’t fall into that category.
The Italian icon stepped up, saw Hart’s jubilant smiles as he jumped up and down animatedly on his line and decided enough was enough.
Hart went one way and Pirlo barely broke sweat as he executed the most delicious Panenka chip.
It left Hart in a sprawling mess of limbs on the floor and he didn’t get close to Italy’s remaining two penalties as England, rather inevitably, crashed out.
Even this fan bearing all behind the goal couldn’t distract the Italy players.
On the biggest stage of all in the biggest game of his career to date, Hart was reduced to a hopeless spectator by his Italian nemesis.
He’s never really recovered.
Dream Team World Cup has landed
The greatest show on Earth just got that bit more exciting.
That’s because the Dream Team World Cup game is coming ahead of this summer’s tournament.
Dream Team World Cup
- Completely free to enter
- £50m budget and 20 transfers throughout the tournament
- £175k total prizepot (for UK players only)
- PRE-REGISTER FOR DREAM TEAM WORLD CUP NOW
The game officially launches on June 1 – but you can pre-register for the game now.
If you’re an existing Dream Team customer the World Cup game now appears in the app or you can enter here, but if you’re not follow these simple steps:
- Download the Dream Team app
- Create an account
- Click on the World Cup banner below in the app and follow the pre-registration instructions
From Russia with a whole lot of love.