How Goalkeepers Are Deciding This World Cup
This 2018 World Cup has already been an absolutely amazing show of just how good the professionals are on World stage, but I want to focus particularly on how the goalkeepers are playing their part in this World Cup.
Let’s start with the soccer goalie who currently holds what is considered THE save of the World Cup so far...
Jordan Pickford - England vs Colombia
For much of the game, Pickford wasn’t really taxed too hard by the Colombian forwards. That changed in the final minutes of added time when Uribe fired off a shot from way outside the penalty area. Pickford, not being the biggest or tallest keeper in the world somehow managed to pull off an incredible save that sent the ball wide. Sure, some might speculate that the shot was going wide anyway - but it was still an incredible save nonetheless.
Unfortunately that didn’t help England secure the win as the ball that Pickford sent wide led to the corner that allowed Colombia to equalise in the final seconds of the game. The game went through extra time with neither team securing a winner and ended up going to penalties.
Again, Pickford managed to step up under immense pressure and managed to save a penalty that allowed England to score the winning penalty and move on to the next round against Sweden.
The next keeper I’d like to talk about is the home nation’s keeper, Akinfeev.
Igor Akinfeev - Russia vs Spain
This world cup has produced a lot of shock moments and true to form this match was no different. Spain were the favourites against the host nation but were denied when Russia’s keeper managed to save not one, but two penalties from the Spanish lineup.
He was also exceptional throughout the game and proved himself worthy against the Spanish strikers who were denied time after time from getting the goal they needed to go through.
10 Best Goalkeeper Saves in FIFA World Cup 2018
Those are just a few of the standout moments from just two of the goalkeepers in this World Cup but there have been many more - too many to list here in fact, so I will give you a quick run down of the TEN of the more incredible saves that have been made so far in this World Cup.
Keylor Navas - Costa Rica vs Brazil
Navas managed to get a finger to Neymar’s shot to tip it just over the bar. Unfortunately that didn’t stop Brazil from slipping two goals past him to win the game but still an incredible save from the Costa Rican keeper.
Guillermo Ochoa - Mexico vs Germany
When Germany’s free kick from outside the penalty area looked like it was heading for the top right corner, Mexico’s keeper Ochoa made an incredible save to keep the ball out of the net before a defender managed to clear the ball. Mexico ended up winning the game 1-0 and the title holders were sent home early.
Yann Sommer - Switzerland vs Brazil
This is the first opening match that Brazil have failed to win for the first time in 40 years and this is due in part to an incredible save from the Swiss keeper, Yann Sommer. When Paulinho tried to place the ball into the corner of the net, Sommer was there to put a hand to it and send it wide. The game ended 1-1.
Rui Patricio - Portugal vs Morocco
A well placed free kick from Morocco led to the ball being confidently headed towards the goal. Luckily for Portugal, their keeper was their to safely beat the ball away and kept it from crossing the line. Portugal won the game 1-0 and Morocco kept their record of not scoring in five of their last nine World Cup games.
Robin Olsen - Sweden vs Germany
When Kroos put a cross into the mix and found Mario Gómez who connected with the header, Robin Olsen found himself at full stretch to tip the goal attempt over the bar for a corner.
Germany managed to snatch a winner in the final minute of extra time to win 2-1. Despite that win Germany are no longer in the competition and Sweden now face England to decide who will enter the semi-final.
Hannes Halldorsson - Iceland vs Argentina
The Argentinian cross into the 6 yard box which was flicked on by Sergio Agüero nearly caught Iceland keeper Halldorsson off guard. Luckily his quick reactions saved his team from disaster and the game ended 1-1.
Mouez Hassen - Tunisia vs England
A sloppy Tunisian defense in the box left the ball open to the English attackers. Luckily it wasn’t enough to get past the Tunisian keeper Mouez Hassen who managed to keep out the shot from Jesse Lingard by using his foot. It didn’t matter though as England went on to secure a 2-1 win.
Hyun-woo Cho - South Korea vs Mexico
When Andrés Guardado’s shot from just inside the box pinged towards the top left corner, the reactions of the Korean keeper allowed him to pull off an incredible save to send the ball wide. Mexico went on to win 2-1 and moved onto the knockout stages but exited after a defeat against Brazil.
Vladimir Stojkovic - Serbia vs Switzerland
Luckily for the Serbian keeper, Blerim Džemaili couldn’t connect to the chip pass from his teammate and his lightening speed reactions allowed him to tip the shot wide. Switzerland won 2-1 and went to the knockout stages before losing to Sweden and leaving the competition.
Hugo Lloris - France vs Australia
A long range cross slipped through the French defense and fell at the feet of Australian player Trent Sainsbury who couldn’t get the ball past the French keeper who managed to keep the ball out and helped his team secure the 2-1 win.
If that rundown wasn’t enough for you, just do what I did and watch the real thing below (wait, you really thought I’d been paying that much attention?...).
There’s still plenty of time left in this competition to see more incredible saves. There are a lot of amazing teams with amazing goalkeepers in the running for the title so keep your eyes peeled and enjoy the show!
Image Courtesy of: https://www.sportsgamblingpodcast.com/2018/05/15/2018-fifa-world-cup-countdown-to-russia/ and Jerry Bo.