Have you ever messed up an easy task — like decorating your dining table for guests but then realizing the pieces on the table aren’t symmetrical? Then, in a desperate attempt to fix your mistake, you accidentally knock over all the plates, breaking your fine china and leaving you a slobbering mess? No? Just me? Well, Haiti goalkeeper Josué Duverger had a similar situation happen to him on a much bigger stage.
With the second game of a home-and-home series against Canada tied at nil, less than 30 seconds into the second half, Duverger gets a pass from his left back and can’t control the ball. It slips under his foot. Duverger panics (gotta stay calm in this situation, but that’s easier said than done). In his last-ditch effort to stop the ball from crossing the goal line, Duverger accidentally taps the ball with his left foot and whiffs on his attempt to clear. All the 21-year-old keeper can do at that point is put his hands over his head and try to hide from the world.
I get it man. We’ve all been there. With the weight of an entire nation looking for its second World Cup appearance on Duverger’s shoulders, he let them down. This was a must-win game for Haiti as the team lost its first match against Canada 1-0. The second match would finalize the aggregate score, so Haiti had to win in order to have a chance to advance in the qualifier. Canada would use the momentum from that own goal to defeat Haiti by a final of 3-0 and eliminate them from World Cup contention.
To add insult to injury, Duverger was actually born in Montreal. He’s a natural-born Canadian citizen, but opted to represent Haiti due to his family’s ancestry. He was even called up for an evaluation for the U-17 Canadian national team in 2016.
It’s a shame really. Duverger had an incredible first game against Canada with some really nice saves including this triple against Jonathan David:
But despite all the great moments, it’s likely that Duverger will forever be remembered by this one slip-up. It’s reminiscent of England’s Robert Green and his own goal against the United States in the 2010 World Cup.
Green had some pretty incredible moments throughout his professional career, including a 2004 season with Norwich City in which he allowed just 39 goals in 46 appearances. But Robert Green will always be synonymous with that own goal that allowed the United States to earn a draw and advance in the 2010 World Cup. It’s unfortunate, but that’s how the sports world works. We remember the bad, and overlook the good that came before. I really hope Duverger doesn’t meet the same fate.