Nobody’s got it worse than the goalkeeper in the game of soccer. Yes, they’re the only players that are allowed to (legally) use their hands, but they’re also the only players directly responsible for defending the 8-by-24-foot zone where all the points come from. This is, to put it lightly, a fairly important task, especially when you’re in the midst of a game that is routinely decided by a margin of only one point.
The other thing about ‘keepers is that they’re largely absolved of responsibility if the game goes south — no one’s going to save every goal, after all, and not even the most superhuman effort can save a team with a shell of an offense or defense. More than half of these players were suited up for teams that have been eliminated from the tournament, and some of the remaining teams could do with a serious upgrade in front of the net, like Argentina.
So without any more pretense, let’s dive into the five best at keeping the ball out of the net. And, of course, no man is an island (which may explain England’s perpetual mediocrity) — these guys are almost certainly not the only bright spots on their teams. Disclosure fulfilled.