Goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev was blinded by a laser beam aimed directly at his eyes 10 seconds before Algeria scored the winning goal, said Russia’s coach Fabio Capello. Social media exploded with wild theories concerning the origin of the laser beam.
“Our goalkeeper was affected by a laser 10 seconds before the goal. He was blinded by a laser; there are photos, films of it,” said Capello at a press-conference in Brazil. “I'm not looking for excuses. I accept defeats.”
“I don't like to speak about referees, but every time it's against Russia!” the renowned coach said.
Russian fans inundated Twitter with resentment, with some even joking that a Star Wars’ ‘Death Star’ used its beam on goalkeeper Akinfeev.
— пирожок маша (@masha_myyr) June 26, 2014
The goal provided the point needed to get second place in Group H, and sent Russia crashing out of the tournament.
The Russians took an early lead in the match with Algeria on Thursday in the Arena da Baixada in Curitiba. Russia’s Aleksandr Kokorin scored a bullet header in the sixth minute. However, Algeria struck back from a free-kick with half-an-hour to go.
— Илья Козлов (@sweetassasin666) June 26, 2014
The laser beam could be seen on Akinfeev’s face in television pictures as he prepared to defend the free-kick in the 59th minute of the match. As the goalkeeper missed the ball, Islam Slimani headed a goal.
Лазер, который ослепил Акинфеева pic.twitter.com/0AwkZjWup1
— Никотинка с Бровями (@Yoghikitt) June 26, 2014
“The referees drew attention to the lasers but nothing changed,” Akinfeev told Izvestia newspaper on Friday. “They continued to beam.”
“Did I miss the ball because of it? I don’t really know,” he said, adding that he doesn’t want to put the blame on someone else and he accepts the criticism. “Blame me, blame the laser…”