Ranking the Top 10 Saves from Group-Stage Games

Max MuntonLiverpool CorrespondentJune 27, 2014

Ranking the Top 10 Saves from Group-Stage Games

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    The 2014 World Cup has been sparkling with high-scoring games and wonderful goals.

    But intermittently, there's been heroics from goalkeepers to deny any more shots and headers that looked destined to add to the 136 goals scored in the group stages.

    Here we rank the likes of Gianluigi Buffon, Eiji Kawashima and Guillermo Ochoa's athletic, brave and sometimes acrobatic efforts to help their teams in the early stages of this World Cup.

    Which is your pick of the bunch, and who has been the outstanding goalkeeper of the tournament so far? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

10. Thibaut Courtois vs. South Korea

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    In their final group stage game, Belgium had Thibaut Courtois to thank for keeping them in the match, producing a sprawling save to deny Ki Sung-yueng’s long range effort.

    Belgium went on to win the game 1-0 thanks to a 70th-minute Jan Vertonghen goal.

9. Gianluigi Buffon vs. Uruguay

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    During a match marred by Luis Suarez's bite controversy, Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon pulled off a great first-half double save to deny Suarez and then the follow-up from Nicolas Lodeiro.

    Overall, Buffon did little wrong in a disappointing tournament for Italy. Diego Godin's goal later in the game against Uruguay subjected them to defeat and elimination in the group stage.

8. Salvatore Sirigu vs. England

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    Salvatore Sirigu dived low to his left to deny Jordan Henderson an early goal in England's 2-1 defeat to Italy.

    It would prove a big moment in the match as Italy suppressed early pressure to go on to win their opening game of the World Cup.

7. David Ospina vs. Greece

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    Greece's Panagiotis Kone's fizzing shot from the edge of the area forced a very impressive save from Colombia's David Ospina during the first-half of the South Americans' 3-0 victory in Group C.

    With little time to react, Panagiotis got a strong hand to the ball to deny the Bologna midfielder and help his country to the three points.

6. Sergio Romero vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina

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    Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero did well to push Senad Lulic's header around the post during their 2-1 victory over Bosnia and Herzegovina in Group F.

    The Sampdoria player, who spent last season on-loan at Monaco, is enjoying a successful World Cup so far—but can Argentina go all the way?

5. Eiji Kawashima vs. Greece

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    A thumping header from Greece's Theofanis Gekas from a corner was wonderfully tipped round the post by Japanese goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima in their goalless Group C encounter in Natal.

    In a match of few events, Kawashima went a long way to helping his country to a point in their opening group game.

4. Eiji Kawashima vs. Greece

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    In the same game, a stinging drive from Greece's Vasilis Torosidis forced a heroic save from Kawashima.

    Kawashima was one of Japan's stand-out players in an underwhelming campaign that saw them finish bottom of Group C.

3. Tim Howard vs. Portugal

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    In a thrilling encounter that finished all square between the USA and Portugal, Tim Howard produced a stunning double save.

    After pushing Nani's long-range shot onto the post, Howard then recovered to athletically tip over Eder's sharp follow-up.

2. Fatawu Dauda vs. Portugal

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    Cristiano Ronaldo must have thought he was certain to score when he launched a powerful header at Ghana's goal during their group-stage encounter in Brasilia.

    Goalkeeper Fatawu Dauda had other ideas, though, producing an incredible save from point-blank range to deny the Portugal forward.

    He followed up the save with a maverick celebration on the goal line.

1. Guillermo Ochoa vs. Brazil

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    Brazil were left frustrated in their group-stage clash against Mexico in Fortaleza after a brilliant performance by goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa.

    Ochoa's highlight of the match came as he expertly dived low to his right to deny a Neymar header.

    The save was even compared to that of England's Gordon Banks against Brazil in the 1970 World Cup, as per FIFA.com.