Time and again, goalkeepers are termed the last line of defence, but also time and again, their contribution is mostly overlooked in favour of the strikers who score most goals in competitions. On a deeper look, a good goalkeeper at a major tournament would be the difference between a group stage exit and a place in the semi-finals, or final.
Later this year, goalkeepers will be in focus again as the 2022 World Cup comes around. The top nations will converge in Qatar for the competition, vying for the world’s biggest prize in the game of football.
In the review of goalkeepers expected to light up the competition this year, the biggest miss will be Italy’s Gianluigi Donnarumma, whose wait for a first World Cup appearance continues as Italy stays absent from the big event for the second time running.
Donnarumma was pivotal as Italy won the European Championship. He later secured a move to PSG where he condemned one of the world’s best keepers, Kaylor Navas to second choice at the French giants.
Navas will for sure be a starter when Costa Rica takes on the world. With his country drawn against Spain, Japan and Germany one would wonder just how much his presence can influence the World Cup 2022 predictions on SportyTrader as far as the North American country’s chances are concerned. He will definitely be one to watch.
Another top keeper to watch happens to also come from the CONCACAF region – Mexico’s Guillermo Ochoa. The veteran keeper is now 37 and has been a regular face in Mexico’s teams for the better part of the last two decades. Serving 17 years in the national team, this will be Ochoa’s fifth World Cup appearance. He has 134 caps and that number will have risen by the time Mexico plays in Qatar.
Jordan Pickford has emerged as one of the top keepers in the world and twice in major competitions he almost guided his nation, England, to glory. In Russia 2018, he was instrumental as the Three Lions got to the semi finals then at Euro 2020, he helped England reach the final, where they lost to Italy on post match penalties. He has competition from Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsdale and Newcastle United’s Nick Pope but we expect to see the Everton man taking the gloves in Qatar.
As France looks to successfully defend their World Cup crown, their skipper Hugo Lloris will be the man to inspire them at the back. However, he is not in the form he was in when France won the coveted trophy four years ago, and in all regard, France too aren’t doing well. He will be playing in his fourth World Cup and will still be expected to shine for Les Bleus.
No coach will have a bigger headache in selecting a goalkeeper than Brazil’s Tite. He has Alisson, of Liverpool and Manchester City’s Ederson. The two are top among the cream of the best goalkeepers in the world and will definitely be in the team if they stay fit. So far the manager has used them interchangeably but going to the World Cup, one would wish to have a first choice. Whoever that will be, these two remain the men to watch.