The sliding doors moment has brought Bono to the brink of World Cup immortality | world cup 2022

Video The assistant referee modified my life. He’s not the more than likely starter, however within the case of Yassine “Bono” Bounou it’s true. “All people talks about him now,” says Julen Lopetegui. Two years in the past, Wolves and the previous Sevilla supervisor know that many have been additionally speaking about him, however not for the best purpose. Fortunately each every now and then VAR does one thing that implies it isn’t solely horrible, and this was a kind of occasions. That evening, he rescued the person who ended up rescuing Morocco, on his approach to make World Cup historical past.

It was February 2020, the spherical of 32 of the Europa League. With a minute to go in opposition to Cluj, a moderately tame shot slipped underneath Bono’s physique and into the web. Sevilla was out and, possibly, he was too. Signed on mortgage from Girona, Bono returned to Tomas Vaclik. He had barely performed 45 minutes within the League and two Copa del Rey video games in opposition to rivals from the fourth division. The Europa League was his competitors and, between whistles and stress, that was gone. He too: that buy choice wouldn’t be taken now.

This can be a World Cup like no different. For the final 12 years the Guardian has been reporting on the problems surrounding Qatar 2022, from corruption and human rights abuses to the remedy of migrant staff and discriminatory legal guidelines. The perfect of our journalism is gathered on our devoted Qatar: Past the Soccer residence web page for individuals who need to go deeper into the problems past the pitch.

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This can be a World Cup like no different. For the previous 12 years, The Guardian has been reporting on points associated to Qatar 2022, from corruption and human rights abuses to the remedy of migrant staff and discriminatory legal guidelines. The perfect of our journalism is gathered in our devoted Qatar: past soccer residence web page for individuals who need to delve into subjects past the pitch.

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Cinematography: Caspar Benson

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However then the replays detected a hand within the buildup, the objective was disallowed and Sevilla made do with away targets. On the finish of the season, they’d gained the competitors and Bono stayed. He was a hero too, if not as a lot of a hero as he has been ever since. “It appears unusual to think about, however his progress owes one thing to VAR, however above all to him,” says Sevilla’s goalkeeping coach, José Luis Silva.

Issues have been about to alter. Ten days after the match in opposition to Cluj, the pandemic closed the stadiums and put soccer on maintain. Vaclik was injured; Bono had alternatives and in circumstances that allowed his restoration to be full. Once they returned, the video games have been performed behind closed doorways. Sevilla settled in Cologne for the conferences with Wolves, Roma, Manchester United and Inter Milan. in opposition to wolvesBono saved a penalty from Raúl Jiménez and made some excellent saves in opposition to the united. Within the ultimate, Romelu Lukaku was the person denied by a shocking save.

Bono had a winner’s medal, a contract and a beginning spot. It was not sufficient to make shortcuts, he additionally scored. She had began a brand new period, his expertise was starting to point out. Final season he gained the Zamora award for one of the best goalkeeper in LaLiga for conceding lower than anybody else. it has been eight hours and a penalty shootout With out being overwhelmed by a rival in Qatar, the one objective conceded was an personal objective in opposition to Canada, the nation the place Bono was born and which he rejected internationally. An distinctive late save prevented João Félix from equalizing for Portugal and in addition denied Cristiano Ronaldo in stoppage time. Morocco grew to become the first African group to achieve the semi-finals.

Morocco map

Not that you just knew it after seeing how ridiculously calm Bono remained. Silva laughs out loud. “Truthfully, Marko and I [Dimitrovic, Sevilla’s second keeper] I’ve tried to be like him and it’s unimaginable”, he says. “It is superb how calm he’s: we speak about it, we chuckle about it. His tranquility is value finding out. He by no means appears apprehensive, and that is an essential software. It isn’t leisure as a result of in the case of competing he has the strain he wants ”.

He has all the time been like that. Born in Montreal, Bono is the son of a physics professor on the college and speaks 5 languages, together with Spanish with a tender Argentine accent: he’s an Argentina fan who despatched his jersey to Ariel Ortega after the spain recreation and named his canine because the striker, which can be awkward in the event that they meet within the ultimate. Lopetegui describes him as having a “privileged thoughts.” He talks to colleagues from Atlético de Madrid, his first membership in Spain that left Casablanca, and so they inform you an identical factor.

There he typically skilled with the primary group -the 12 months that Atlético gained the league- and performed with the B group. calm is the phrase, says Isaac Nana. Sergio Cidoncha says: “Very well mannered, calm, a lot in order that he nearly went unnoticed. An introverted and sensible goalkeeper”.

Bono saves Sergio Busquets in the penalty shootout against Spain.  They have only been beaten once in the entire tournament, including on penalties.
Bono saves Sergio Busquets within the penalty shootout in opposition to Spain. They’ve solely been overwhelmed as soon as in the whole match, together with on penalties. Picture: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

That tranquility maybe hid the strain of these first months at Sevilla. There was a second, says the previous Sevilla goalkeeper Andrés Palop, as quickly as he arrived on the Girona membership during which he didn’t appear to have a lot confidence in himself. “I believe he has grown rather a lot psychologically; And when he needed to substitute Vaclik, the undisputed starter, doing so throughout the pandemic helped him to not have an excessive amount of stress in a membership the place there may be all the time stress. He has turn into very robust in that regard.”

Silva agrees: “That second had affected him, like several goalkeeper. He stepped up throughout the pandemic. There aren’t any followers, we’re in Cologne, and that helps his growth. Earlier than he had not had the alternatives that he actually wanted to point out his qualities ”.

These qualities are many. Palop makes an in depth technical evaluation of a goalkeeper that he describes as “full” and “among the many 10 finest on the planet”: quick, with plenty of vary and a complicated beginning place, studying the sport, courageous within the air, glorious -one, good together with his toes to flee the stress and begin the sport.

“When he arrived he was an excellent reactive goalkeeper: regardless of his peak and measurement, he was fast, he had good reflexes,” says Silva. “The Girona coaches mentioned that he was improbable together with his toes. What advanced was his potential to know the sport. He’s adaptable, his understanding and habits is ideal. He labored right here with [Jorge] Sampaoli and Lopetegui, who connect nice significance to this understanding: search for the free man, select the best areas. Even in harmful conditions, it is good. You will see him dribble and even play roulette.”

Yassine ‘Bono’ Bounou

That was seen in opposition to Spain. So have been the sanctions. Later, Bono mentioned that he knew of Pablo Sarabia, who took the primary one, however that he had not likely studied them. It was, he recommended, extra intuitive, with plenty of luck concerned.

And but that is the person who has saved a penalty from Erling Haaland, who grew to become the primary goalkeeper to save lots of one from Mikel Oyarzabal, a specialist; he denied Nabil Fekir in a Seville derby; and in opposition to Spain he ignored a penalty shot by Carlos Soler, who in his day scored a hat-trick for them in opposition to Actual Madrid and Thibaut Courtois. Silva does not assume so both: “Effectively, he He says that”, says the goalkeeping coach, suggesting that there’s extra work and fewer likelihood than Bono desires to recommend. And that additionally says one thing.

“He has by no means had any conceitedness and by no means will,” Silva insists. “Bono has values ​​which are laborious to search out in soccer. He spent nearly the entire 12 months with out enjoying and I by no means heard a nasty phrase, a gesture. He all the time helped Tomás. I believe he’s the goalkeeper who has finest accepted being a substitute of all those I’ve coached. He all the time knew that his time needed to come, and now he has. In life, you all the time get one thing in return and he has.”

“He is very calm, very mature, very balanced”, says Lopetegui. “It is an instance: when she did not play, she saved quiet, supported her teammates and labored. It’s a pleasure to work with him. He’s humble, and humility and intelligence all the time go collectively. He was a starter on the finish of the primary 12 months, then Zamora. Everyone seems to be speaking about him now. He has the reward from him and I’m very comfortable for him ”.

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