Igor Akinfeev and 10 Biggest Goalkeeper World Cup Blunders of All Time

Karl Matchett@@karlmatchettFeatured ColumnistJune 17, 2014

Igor Akinfeev and 10 Biggest Goalkeeper World Cup Blunders of All Time

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    Warren Little/Getty Images

    Igor Akinfeev might be one of the lucky few who get to play at Brazil in 2014, but the goalkeeper has also had the misfortune of making a terrible error for his nation, Russia.

    Their game against South Korea was scoreless until the 68th minute, until Akinfeev bundled Lee Keun-ho's seemingly harmless shot and allowed it to bounce off his hands and into the net.

    Akinfeev joins an unfortunate list of goalkeepers who have made high-profile blunders at the World Cup; he's far from the first, and he certainly won't be the last to do so.

Igor Akinfeev, 2014

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    Fabio Capello's Russia were locked in a scoreless draw with South Korea in both teams' Group H opener on Tuesday at the 2014 World Cup. Despite the lack of goals, Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev had already put in a less-than-convincing shift, bobbling multiple shots in the second half.

    Then, he went one worse, allowing Lee Keun-ho's tame shot past him despite getting both hands to the ball.

    Russia hit back quickly, though, sparing Akinfeev's blushes with an equaliser via Alexander Kerzhakov just six minutes later. The teams went on to draw 1-1.

Andoni Zubizarreta, 1998

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    LUCA BRUNO/Associated Press

    Andoni Zubizarreta was one of Spain's best all-time stoppers, but his horrendous mistake against Nigeria contributed to his nation exiting the '98 World Cup at the group stage.

    Spain were 2-1 up against Nigeria when Zubizarreta misjudged a low cross by Garba Lawal with less than 20 minutes to play, tipping the ball inside his own post in trying to recover.

    Spain went on to lose 3-2 and ended third in the group, a point behind Paraguay and two behind Nigeria.

Rene Higuita, 1990

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    GIANNI FOGGIA/Associated Press

    Colombian goalkeeper Rene Higuita is memorable for all sorts of reasons, but he got it very, very wrong at Italia 1990.

    Often he would dribble or roam out into midfield, picking the ball up between his centre-backs around the halfway line—and when he tried to backheel his way past Roger Milla, the Cameroonian forward won the ball, ran through on goal and tapped into the empty net.

    Worse yet, this was in extra time in a second-round tie, which Higuita's side thus lost 2-1.

Rob Green, 2010

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    Martin Rose/Getty Images

    England goalkeeper Rob Green made a monstrous error against United States in the group stage of 2010, spilling a tame long-distance shot into his net when his side were leading 1-0.

    The game ended 1-1 and Green lost his place in the team—and England ended second in the group.

    A win there would have seen them face Ghana in the knockouts instead of Germany, where they were trounced 4-1.

Moacir Barbosa, 1950

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    Anonymous/Associated Press

    Don't get beaten at your near post—one of the first rules of thumb for any goalkeeper.

    Unfortunately for Moacir Barbosa, that's exactly what happened to him, the Brazil stopper for the 1950 World Cup final against Uruguay.

    Alcides Ghiggia beat him with a low drive that squirmed under Barbosa and in at the near post, winning the World Cup itself for Uruguay.

Mohamed Al-Deayea, 1998

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    Michel Lipchitz/Associated Press

    David Trezeguet was the beneficiary of some woeful goalkeeping by Saudi Arabia's Mohamed Al-Deayea in World Cup 1998.

    The Saudi stopper merely had to catch a ball in flight after a cross from the right side, but he only proved capable of jumping too early, misjudging the path of the ball and spilling it straight onto the striker's head.

    That was the second goal in a 4-0 win. Saudi Arabia finished bottom of the group. France went on to win the World Cup.

Pat Bonner, 1994

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    Hans Deryk/Associated Press

    Irish legendary stopper Packie Bonner did much for his nation, but his spill in the 1994 World Cup consigned his nation to defeat in the round of 16.

    A speculative, straight shot from long range by Dutch midfielder Wim Jonk was straight at Bonner—but he only managed to palm the ball slightly, barely altering the trajectory, and watched on as the ball bounced into the net.

Julio Cesar, 2010

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    Martin Meissner/Associated Press

    Brazil's hopes of winning the 2010 World Cup were extinguished by Netherlands after a 2-1 defeat.

    The South American side took the lead initially, but a mis-timed punch by Julio Cesar from a free-kick ended with the ball sliding off his fists, behind him and into the net.

    Wesley Sneijder headed in the winner, but Cesar's blunder let Netherlands back in the game.

Andreas Kopke, 1998

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    ROBERTO PFEIL/Associated Press

    German goalkeeper Andreas Kopke made a complete hash of collecting a routine low cross in World Cup 1998, diving over the top of the ball as it came in from the right.

    Behind him was Dragan Stojkovic, who gratefully tapped home into the net from a few yards out, perhaps the easiest finish he'd ever been presented.

    That put Yugoslavia 2-0 up against Germany—but Kopke's blushes were spared by a comeback to 2-2.

Nery Pumpido, 1990

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    Karlheinz Kreifelts/Associated Press

    We finish up with Argentina's goalkeeper from the 1990 World Cup, Nery Pumpido.

    In the opening game of Italia '90, Cameroon stunned the South American side with a 1-0 victory, courtesy of a goalkeeping howler.

    A routine header was travelling at easy pace straight toward Pumpido—but he failed to react and position himself properly, spilling the ball as it bounced and watching it bounce over the line off his own leg.