Brazil 2014: the World Cup of the 'keepers

Brazil 2014: the World Cup of the 'keepers

Goalkeepers are often the butt of jokes and the subject of fan fury but in this World Cup they came into their own, finally taking back some of the spotlight from the strikers.

Costa Rica were one of the surprises of the tournament, sending both Italy and England home as they topped their group.

Three-time Man of the Match Keylor Navas played a big part in this and made the jump to star after their round of 16 game.

Just two days later, it was the turn of US and Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard to take all the attention.

His side may have lost to Belgium but as far as social media was concerned Howard’s barnstorming performance was the highlight of the match and deserved serious accolades.

His incredible 16 saves during the match also triggered one of the most popular memes of the tournament, #thingstimhowardcouldsave.

Louis Van Gaal had goalkeeping trickery on his mind when he secretly arranged for his sub keeper Tim Krul to practice penalties.

Even his starting keeper Jasper Cillessen was baffled when Krul started warming-up in extra-time of their match against Costa Rica. Krul was brought on and the ploy worked on the night, with him saving twice to see them through.

The shock tactic may havebackfired in their next match though as goalkeeper’s confidence is notoriously fragile. It can’t have helped Cillessen to know he was only between the sticks when it went to penalties because his manager had no substitutions left.

He didn’t stop a single shot.

Up stepped Sergio Romero to grab the goalkeeping glory with a first save against Vlaar and then this brilliant stop to deny Schneider.

Last night it was sweeper-keeper Manuel Neuer who enjoyed the greatest glory of all - lifting the World Cup trophy.

He may not have lit up the tournament in the same was as Navas or Howard, but like the whole German side, he was consistently solid rather than spectacular and for that he also got the Golden Glove.

Just maybe don’t expect flowers or a card from Gonzalo Higuain.

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