Casillas and Buffon were two of the goalies who were supposed to shine at the 2014 World Cup, however, both have exited along with their teams. Many of the best goalies are names that not many outside their clubs and countries have heard of.
Many were making their debut in the international arena and if not many knew who they were before Brazil, most do now. Thanks to some spectacular heroics many of the men listed below have become household names and social media favorites. Let’s take a look:
Tim Howard – United States
In one of the most impressive performances — not only in the 2014 World Cup, but previous ones — American Tim Howard became a wall, in team USA’s match against Belgium. So much so that he established a new record, with 15 stops.
Howard allowed the U.S. to go into overtime, but eventually Belgium won. However, the U.S. goalie became an instant internet sensation and inspired a nation in which soccer — as they call it — is not the most popular sport.
Manuel Neuer – Germany
Not as flashy as Howard, Germany’s Manuel Neuer is an imposing figure at the net nonetheless and has been crucial in keeping his team in the run. With a daring style, in which he leaves his net open and effectively becomes the 11th man on the field, the six-foot, four-inches goalie will continue his campaign against Brazil on Tuesday.
Guillermo Ochoa – Mexico
Ochoa has some of the most impressive reflexes and seems to multiply to cover the whole net. His best performance came during Mexico’s round of 16 match against the Netherlands, when he stopped a ball from just four-yards away and many other dangerous shots on goal.
Julio Cesar – Brazil
The Brazilian goalie won back his country’s fans in the match against Chile, where he saved a penalty kick in the shootout. Julio Cesar was vilified in the 2010 World Cup. In the match against Holland in South Africa, the Brazilian goalie made a mistake that cost the country the match and the opportunity to move on.
Julio Cesar confessed: “After the last World Cup to be labelled as the villain was very hard for me.” Now he has the chance to redeem himself in front of La Torcida, when they face Germany in the semifinal.
Keylor Navas – Costa Rica
Costa Rica was probably the biggest surprise of the 2014 World Cup, after finishing first in the very tough Group D, which also included Italy, England, and Uruguay — all former title holders. The team, as a whole, was solid, but Navas stood out as one of the brightest star of Los Ticos.
Navas was critical to advancing to the quarterfinals, after he stopped the barrage Greece threw his way and led Costa Rica in the penalty kick definition. Many have dubbed him the best goalie of the tournament.
David Ospina – Colombia
Along with Costa Rica, Colombia was another of the Cinderella teams of this 2014 World Cup and goalie David Ospina, was one of the best players on his team. His best performance came in the round of 16 match against Uruguay, where he did not allow one goal.
The OGC Nice goalkeeper, along with James Rodriguez were two of the brightest stars in the surprising team of Colombia, who exited after losing to Brazil in their first quarterfinal ever.
The 2014 World Cup has been known for having very skilled goalies, in what is perhaps the best group of men at the net. Surely these talented goalkeepers are looking at lucrative contracts in their future and will hopefully grace the 2018 World Cup for the enjoyment of viewers.
[Image via Twitter]