This exhilarating 2014 World Cup has unearthed some superb goalkeeping talent and confirmed what we already knew about some of the world’s finest stoppers. Such has been the quality we’ve seen by goalkeepers in Brazil, that Hugo Lloris - who has enjoyed an inspired spell between the sticks for fifth favourites France 9.00 - does not make the list.
Here’s our top five, do you agree?
5. Manuel Neuer, Germany (Germany are 5.50 to win the World Cup)
Germany’s ‘sweeper keeper’ always keeps you on the edge of your seat with his tendency to race off his line and see off the danger with a swift punt into touch. It’s nearly always a close-run thing, but Neuer hardly ever gets it wrong. Against Algeria, there were a few hairy moments but Neuer was commanding, his decision making was spot-on and he did the defensive work his back four struggled to manage. His distribution was also first class. Neuer has already kept two clean sheets in four games in Brazil.
4. Rais M’Bolhi, Algeria
Manchester United had the chance to sign Algeria goalkeeper Rais M’Bohli four years ago, but Sir Alex Ferguson opted for Anders Lindegaard instead after watching M’Bohli in a trial. Now at CSKA Sofia, the goalkeeper is proving that recommending David Moyes wasn’t Ferguson’s only mistake. The 28-year-old put on an outstanding series of show-stopping saves against the Germans, who needed extra time before finally putting a goal past him.
3. Keylor Navas, Costa Rica
Costa Rica owe a lot of their groundbreaking World Cup success to goalkeeper Keylor Navas, whose string of brilliant displays have already alerted Atletico Madrid. Last season's Champions League finalists have reportedly had a bid of €6 rejected by his current employers Levante, and it's little surprise after his impressive displays in Brazil. Navas' heroics included clean sheets against Italy and England - none too shabby.
2. Guillermo Ochoa, Mexico
The first goalkeeper to capture the imagination of fans worldwide in Brazil was Mexico’s Ochoa, who kept out Cameroon and then Brazil with several world class stops. Then in the knockout phase, it was looking like Ochoa’s heroics would send the Netherlands packing when he made save after save for 88 minutes, but Mexico were eventually undone by two late goals. Unbelievably, Ochoa doesn’t have a club after being released by French outfit Ajaccio. Something tells me he won’t have any problems finding a club now.
1. Tim Howard, USA
For all the fine goalkeeping displays in Brazil this summer, Tim Howard has to take the number one slot for his epic performances. Not only was he superhuman against Belgium in the round of 16, but also throughout the group stage, when he turned defeats into draws and draws into victories. However that game against Belgium, when he made 16 saves – more than any other goalkeeper in a single match since records began in 1966 - has cemented his legacy. Indeed, he made 27 saves at the tournament, more than any other keeper. His performance in the game has led to a wave of memes, cartoons, commemorative coins and dollar notes and hashtags created in his honour. There was even a change to Howard’s Wikipedia page, which briefly read: Tim Howard, US Secretary of Defense.
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