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British tabloids blame goalie fumble on Canadian model

England's goalkeeper Robert Green reacts after missing a goal during their Group C first round 2010 World Cup football match on June 12, 2010 at Royal Bafokeng stadium in Rustenburg. Getty Images/ HOANG DINH NAM


A Canadian lingerie model is baffled that she has been dragged into England's World Cup-opening disappointment because of her past relationship with the English goalkeeper.

The storm began after Robert Green fumbled a routine shot against the U.S. in a 1-1 draw Saturday in South Africa. Reports in English tabloids suggested that Green was still rattled by the fact his relationship with 23-year-old Canadian Elizabeth Minett had ended.

Canadian outlets were quick to pick up the story.

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"She was just taken off-guard," said Dan Grant, who works in the Toronto office of Next Model Management, Minett's agency.

"She's just surprised that the story's about her at all," he added. "Because it really shouldn't. ... He mishandled the ball. It wasn't because of her. It's like when a centre-fielder drops the ball because he's looking to throw to second base before he's actually made the catch, or when a running back tries to hit the hole before he's got the ball tucked in."

The Football Association, the governing body of soccer in England, has asked her not to speak with reporters in an effort to keep the attention focused on the games, according to Grant, who said he spoke with Minett on Tuesday morning.

The Daily Mirror reported Green is "apparently devastated" after parting ways with Minett, but also went on to quote Green's agent saying the split has not affected the goalie's focus on the field.

According to the Daily Mail, the pair met two years ago when Green's English Premier League team, West Ham United, was in Toronto playing in the 2008 Major League Soccer all-star game.

The paper says the couple lived together in London until about a month ago, when the relationship ended.

Earlier, Minett had told a British paper she was going to cheer Green on in South Africa, and even had plans to speak to him in French so the couple could have some privacy.

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Green has since apologized for his on-field blunder, saying the fumble made him even more determined to play again "to right the wrong."

Minett, who graduated from the University of Waterloo with a degree in economics, has also starred in a pop video for U.S. pop star Hilary Duff.

Grant refused to say whether she was still living in London. He did say that her family has been hounded by the overseas media.

"She's sort of baffled," Grant said. "I wouldn't say surprised by it, because we all know what the English tabloids are like. She's been a little bit overwhelmed."

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