rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Sports » 6 keepers who raise the bar at the World Cup

6 keepers who raise the bar at the World Cup

July 04, 2014 11:16 IST

6 keepers who raise the bar at the World Cup

     Next

Next

In a tournament that well before the quarter-final stage exceeded the 145 goals scored in South Africa in 2010, goalkeepers have stolen the limelight with a string of scintillating performances.

Tim Howard (USA, 35)

Belgium needed extra time to crack heroic United States goalkeeper Tim Howard in a thrilling 2-1 extra-time victory on Tuesday that set up a World Cup quarter-final clash with Argentina.

Howard was in terrific form from the first minute when he denied Divock Origi and he made a series of excellent stops.

He was also showered with compliments when his team buckled under the Europeans' pressure. He was the only reason they managed to go into extra time, with Howard earning hugs and pats on the back from the Belgians at the end of the game.

The 35-year-old keeper’s saves were the most ever seen by a goalkeeper in a World Cup since 1966 according to world soccer's governing body FIFA.

Complete coverage of the football World Cup

Please click NEXT to read more...


Image: Tim Howard of the United States reacts
Photographs: Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

     Next

6 keepers who raise the bar at the World Cup

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Guillermo Ochoa (Mexico, 28)

Mexico's World Cup roller-coaster came to abrupt end on Sunday when they suffered a heart-breaking loss to the Netherlands in the last 16.

Guillermo Ochoa emerged as a strong contender for the best goalkeeper of the tournament with a series of brilliant reflex saves while - conceding just one goal in the pool phase - then being named man of the match in the loss to the Dutch.

Please click NEXT to read more...


Image: Mexico's goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa saves a goal shot by Klaas-Jan Huntelaar of the Netherlands
Photographs: Mike Blake/Reuters

Prev     Next

6 keepers who raise the bar at the World Cup

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Keylor Navas (Costa Rica, 27)

Costa Rica's Keylor Navas was even more successful at soaking up Greece's pressure in the round of 16, doing everything right for about an hour when his team was down to ten men.

Then he stepped up to the plate again in extra-time with the Greeks pouring forward as if sensing that if it came to penalties Navas would again deliver.

He did exactly that, saving a spot kick in the ensuing shoot-out to send the Central Americans into the last eight and the Greeks heaping praise on the man who denied them what would have been a memorable qualification.

Navas, who plays for Levante in Spain but now has big clubs circling to sign him, has several training tricks up his sleeve.

One of them is saving tennis balls, shot at his goal at a speed of 160 km per hour by Spain Davis Cup player Pablo Andujar from a distance of 20 metres to improve reflexes.

"I just try and do the best I can," Navas says.

Please click NEXT to read more...


Image: Costa Rica midfielder Yeltsin Tejeda (17) hugs Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas (1) after they defeated Greece
Photographs: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Prev     Next

6 keepers who raise the bar at the World Cup

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Manuel Neuer (Germany, 28)

Germany keeper Manuel Neuer provided a blueprint of the future with a masterclass of goalkeeping, rushing out of the box for much of the game to act as a sweeper while his leaking defence was caught napping.

Neuer played down his performance after the game. "I always play like that, and at Bayern Munich I also play like that.

But looking at the heatmap of his positions during the match, Neuer, who used to be an in-field player as a young boy and tries to get in on the action in training as much as possible, spent much of his time outside his box.

He even hit a top speed of 22.4 kmh as he outsprinted Algerian forward in his half.

So it no real surprise that in the eight round of 16 games, five man-of-the-matches awards went to goalkeepers.

Please click NEXT to read more...


Image: Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer of Germany gestures during their World Cup Round of 16 match against Algeria
Photographs: Martin Rose/Getty Images

Prev     Next

6 keepers who raise the bar at the World Cup

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Rais M’Bolhi (Algeria, 28)

Indicative of their quality is the fact that when Algeria lost 2-1 against Germany in extra-time it was the Desert Fox's keeper Rais Mbolhi who was man-of-the-match despite his team being eliminated.

Until Germany scored their first goal early in extra-time he had single-handedly denied the three-time champions again and again, frustrating them with superb saves to give the North Africans hope until the very end.

Please click NEXT to read more...


Image: Mesut Oezil of Germany scores his team's second goal past Rais M'Bolhi of Algeria
Photographs: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

Prev     Next

6 keepers who raise the bar at the World Cup

Prev     More
Prev

More

Julio Cesar (Brazil, 34)

The 2010 black sheep, Julio Cesar, has been transformed into a hero.

The Brazil keeper, vilified after his mistakes that led to their 2010 elimination to the Netherlands, made a game-changing save in their round of 16 match against Chile.

He then proceeded to save two spot kicks in the shootout, answering the prayers of an entire nation as he kept the hosts dreams of a sixth World Cup very much alive.


Image: Julio Cesar of Brazil celebrates
Photographs: Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

Prev     More