10 Best Saves of 2014 World Cup
Goalkeepers were among the brightest stars at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and their heroics resulted in some of the most compelling storylines of the competition.
Whether making highlight-reel saves from open play, leaping to tip goal-bound free-kicks over the crossbar or putting their team into the next round on penalties, they played meaningful parts in memorable results and even stole the odd match on their own.
Following are just 10 of the best saves from the tournament.
10. Guillermo Ochoa on Thiago Silva
The final save of Guillermo Ochoa’s memorable display against Brazil in Fortaleza denied Selecao captain Thiago Silva a prospective winner at Estadio Castelao.
Silva won’t have many better chances to score over the course of his career, and he could barely believe it when Ochoa got his body in front of a towering header from just six yards away.
9. Keylor Navas on Theofanis Gekas
Costa Rica had already enjoyed a Cinderella run at the 2014 World Cup by the time they faced Greece in the round of 16, but thanks to goalkeeper Keylor Navas, their journey wasn’t quite finished.
Having put in yet another spectacular showing over the 120 minutes of normal and extra time, the Levante shot-stopper then stretched himself to his right-hand post to deny Greece striker Theofanis Gekas from 12 yards during the penalty shootout.
Michael Umana then converted for the Ticos, who were off to the quarter-finals.
8. Guillermo Ochoa on Paulinho
The second highlight-reel save of Ochoa’s career-defining performance against Brazil came against Selecao midfielder Paulinho.
After Silva chested the ball into Paulinho’s path, the Tottenham Hotspur man could only watch on as Ochoa somehow denied him from in close.
7. Tim Howard on Kevin Mirallas
Kevin Mirallas should have opened the scoring for Belgium against the United States.
But instead of placing the ball inside the far corner, his effort was kicked away by the outstretched left leg of Tim Howard, who was only beginning his heroics in Salvador.
6. Tim Howard on Divock Origi
Tim Howard denied Divock Origi in similar fashion to Kevin Mirallas—only with the opposite leg.
With Origi having won some space outside United States defender Omar Gonzalez, the Belgium forward aimed his shot at the far corner but was denied by the Everton shot-stopper, who this time stretched out his right leg to make the save.
5. Tim Krul on Michael Umana
Tim Krul saw little action at the 2014 World Cup.
In fact, the Netherlands goalkeeper was only subbed into a single match—in the 121st minute against Costa Rica in the quarter-finals—for the express purpose of stopping penalty kicks.
He ended up making a pair of saves on the Ticos shooters—a display that included the denial of Michael Umana that put the Dutch into the next round.
4. Tim Howard on Vincent Kompany
Tim Howard’s World Cup-record 16-save performance against Belgium included stops with his chest, legs, knees and arms.
Few of his denials were as spectacular as his rejection of Red Devils captain Vincent Kompany, who was in alone within six yards of goal, only to see Howard dive to his right and get a hand on the ball.
3. Keylor Navas on Wesley Sneijder
Costa Rica would push the Netherlands to the limit in their quarter-final showdown—a match in which Dutch playmaker Wesley Sneijder would have a goal-bound free-kick tipped over the crossbar by Keylor Navas.
The stop came with just six minutes left in the first half and saw the 27-year-old stick out a single hand to direct the ball away from danger.
Not much earlier, Navas made an impressive stop with an outstretched leg on Netherlands attacker Memphis Depay.
2. Sergio Romero on Wesley Sneijder
The strength of the Argentina defense meant that Sergio Romero didn’t always have much to do at the 2014 World Cup.
That said, he was integral to his side’s presence in Sunday’s final after an impressive display for the Albiceleste during the semi-final shootout against the Netherlands.
First, Romero blocked Ron Vlaar’s attempt with his body. Then, after being beaten by Arjen Robben, he dove to his right to deny Sneijder—a save that ended up putting Argentina into their first final since 1990.
1. Guillermo Ochoa on Neymar
The best save of the 2014 FIFA World Cup occurred during the 0-0 draw between Brazil and Mexico in Fortaleza.
Looking to place his header inside Guillermo Ochoa’s right-hand corner, Selecao forward Neymar was denied by the Mexican goalkeeper, who had dove to deny him.
The stop immediately recalled images of Gordon Banks’ save on Pele in 1970.