World Cup 2014: Ranking the Top 5 Saves from Quarter-Final Games
Goalkeepers have regularly grabbed the headlines at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Tim Howard against Belgium and Rais M'Bolhi against Germany were two of the best individual performances in Brazil. Both recorded an astonishing number of saves after seeing their goal become practically under siege.
Overall, Manuel Neuer, Keylor Navas, Vincent Enyeama and Guillermo Ochoa have been the most consistent in their position, each maintaining excellent standards throughout the tournament.
Here's a look at the five best saves made during Friday's and Saturday's quarter-final action.
Yeltsin Tejeda vs. Robin van Persie
We actually start with a save not from a goalkeeper but from Costa Rica's Yeltsin Tejeda. In terms of sheer drama, this has it all and deserves recognition.
Deep in injury time, a Dutch cross somehow evades three players before falling to Robin van Persie.
The Manchester United striker's shot then takes a deflection but is impressively shinned onto the crossbar by Tejeda.
Manuel Neuer vs. Mathieu Valbuena
Manuel Neuer made two key saves against France to keep Germany ahead in their quarter-final.
His one-armed punch to deny Karim Benzema was imposing, but his athletic swipe against Mathieu Valbuena was the better save.
The shot comes in low and to Neuer's left. He does well to quickly get down and flick it away and is also alert enough to cover the following effort.
Keylor Navas vs. Wesley Sneijder
In terms of a portfolio of work, Keylor Navas provided the best content of any quarter-final goalkeeper—and by a considerable margin.
He made six impressive saves: twice in succession against Van Persie and Wesley Sneijder, a smart one-on-one against Memphis Depay, again against Van Persie and then one against Ron Vlaar.
However, his best save—an acrobatic effort to tip Sneijder's first-half free-kick wide—tops his list.
On performance alone, Navas was the best goalkeeper during the quarter-finals.
Thibaut Courtois vs. Lionel Messi
In the final seconds of Argentina vs. Belgium, Lionel Messi found himself free of markers and with space to run in on goal.
He soon found himself one-on-one with Thibaut Courtois and would have expected to score; however, not for the first time this season, the Chelsea stopper denied Messi with a brilliant parry.
Courtois showed excellent reflexes, somehow managing to deflect the shot with his arm before celebrating passionately.
Impressively, this was the eighth straight meeting in which Courtois had managed to keep Messi off the scoresheet.
Tim Krul vs. Michael Umana
Finally, Tim Krul's impact during Netherlands' dramatic penalty shootout win over Costa Rica deserves substantial acclaim.
The fact that the goalkeeper was substituted on in the 120th minute as a supposed penalty specialist put huge pressure on the Newcastle man—not that he appeared to notice.
Krul anticipated Costa Rica's every step, guessing the right direction for every kick he faced.
The two he saved were both impressive, but his final one-handed parry to deny Michael Umana was his best.
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