FIFA World Cup 2022: The Top Goalkeepers To Watch Out For
From Thibaut Courtois to Manuel Neuer, some of the game's best keepers will guard the goalpost with their defending gloves during their national duties in Qatar.
The 2022 FIFA World Cup will begin in a month's time. With 30 days left for football's apex tournament to begin, all eyes are on Qatar and the 32 teams heading to the Middle East, about to make history in the first World Cup taking place in an Arab country. The teams, representing countries from various continents will eye for the ultimate prize and managers have a huge task of bringing out the best playing XI to achieve the dream of adding another star to the national crest.
In a game that celebrates the best of goals scored majorly by the forwards and strikers, the role of a goalkeeper often goes unnoticed. They make the difference between the two teams with their saves, wearing the gloves and guarding the post while donning jersey number one (in most cases). When the match is decided on the basis of penalty shoot-outs, the goalkeeper is the unsung hero, soaking all that pressure while aiming to save or deflect the ball away to avoid a goal.
Here are some of the best goalkeepers who will represent their countries during the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Thibaut Courtois (Belgium)
Courtois, a key member of the Roberto Martínez-coached Belgian squad, is part of the country's golden generation, which has yet to achieve international success. Courtois' resume speaks for itself, having played for Real Madrid at the club level. For starters, he was a key member of the Belgian Red Devils' third-place finish at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Despite finishing third, Courtois' was awarded the Golden Glove for being the tournament's best goalkeeper.
Fast forward to 2022, when he was awarded the Yashin trophy by France Football for his game-winning saves that helped Real Madrid win the LaLiga and the Champions League. Courtois would be the first-choice keeper for Belgian manager Martínez as they head to Qatar, hoping to improve on their previous bronze medal podium finish.
Alisson Becker and Ederson Moraes (Brazil)
It would be an understatement to say that Brazilian coach Tite will be spoilt for choice when he picks the Brazil squad as it has the best players in the business. When it comes to the goalkeeper for the team, it will be likely a choice between Alisson Becker and Ederson Moraes.
Alisson and Ederson play for Liverpool FC and Manchester City respectively, clubs that are not only top challengers for the English Premier League but also the UEFA Champions League as well. Both Alisson and Ederson are the first-choice keepers for their club managers, Jürgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola respectively and have been a fundamental part of the squads that won and dominated the Premier League in the last five years.
The two keepers were successful in maintaining 20 clean sheets each for their clubs in the 2021-22 season of the Premier League. The infamous duo will be flying to Qatar and donning the Brazil jersey, giving their best to feature in the playing XI. It will be a hard time for forwards to break the clean sheet against either Alisson or Ederson.
Manuel Neuer and Marc-André ter Stegen (Germany)
Another team with great squad depth is Germany and their goalkeeping options are one example of it. For coach Hansi Flick, it will be a difficult call between Manuel Neuer and Marc-André ter Stegen. Neuer has been the first-choice keeper for Germany and his experience with Die Mannschaft speaks for itself.
From the famous sweeps to reflexes that deflect the ball away from the goal, strikers find it hard to score past Neuer. This gets better when the second option is veteran FC Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen, who has been a pivotal part of the defence, standing out alone when the team records a clean sheet.
In Manuel Neuer, coach Flick also gets the Golden Glove winner of the 2014 World Cup. Neuer stood like a wall against Argentina in the final, stopping Leo Messi and company from achieving the biggest international glory. He was the first choice of then-coach Joachim Löw that saw Germany triumph in Brazil and add the fourth star over the German national crest.
Emiliano Martínez (Argentina)
Things changed for Argentina since the arrival of coach Lionel Scaloni and the squad rebuilding he did. Lionel Messi has finally won an international trophy with the Copa América glory and a huge credit goes to Emiliano Martínez.
Martínez was integral to the Argentine squad led by Leo Messi and managed by Lionel Scaloni that triumphed in Brazil 2021. In the finals, Martínez saved various shots and avoided a single goal in the final to confirm a 1-0 victory for Argentina in the final. His overall performance throughout the tournament earned him the best keeper award in Copa América 2021.
Things turned around for Argentina ever since, as 'La Scaloneta' remain unbeaten for 35-games straight. They defeated Italy 3-0 at the Wembley Stadium in England during the Finalissima and Martínez stood out in goal yet again, maintaining another clean sheet. Martínez will be flying to Qatar with Messi and company as Argentina eyes the biggest international glory since their triumph in Mexico 1986, led by Diego Maradona.
Honorable mentions: Unai Simón (Spain), Keylor Navas (Costa Rica), Édouard Mendy (Senegal), Fernando Muslera (Uruguay), Yann Sommer (Switzerland), Rui Patrício (Portugal), Kasper Schmeichel (Denmark), Wojciech Szczęsny (Poland), Hugo Lloris and Mike Maignan (France)
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