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World Cup 2010: Goalkeepers Get the Spotlight

RUSTENBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 12:  Robert Green of England misjudges the ball and lets in a goal during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group C match between England and USA at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium on June 12, 2010 in Rustenburg, South Africa.  (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)
Martin Rose/Getty Images
Debora RubiContributor IJune 13, 2010

The keepers of the guard are becoming the keepers of destiny during the World Cup. This low scoring World Cup has been defined more by superb or horrible play by the lone man in front of the goal.

It was the excellent play of South African keeper, Itumeleng Khune, at the beginning of the match against Mexico that allowed South Africa to take the lead.

Sergio Romero for Uruguay backed his team's superb defense in holding back the French attack.

It was four other goalies, however, that define the dominant role of goalkeepers in the World Cup.

 

Vincent Enyeama

The Nigerians were altogether dominated by the Argentinians, despite their poor play in the midfield. However, the Nigerians were in the game until the end, with Argentina only getting the early goal in the 1-0 win.

It was almost Enyeama alone that held off one of the most powerful striking duos in the Cup. He won every one on one with Higuain and neutralized three of Messi's superb shots with even better saves of his own.

Despite losing the game, Enyeama was the man of the match, outshining Messi who looked very impressive in his debut.

 

Robert Green

Robert Green's gaffe in the English goal may be the defining image of this World Cup.

Green's attack of a routine ball cost the English team two points. More importantly, it may have led to doubts on the entire team as they merely tie with the impressive American team.

While Green recovered some of his pride by stopping a shot later by Jozy Altidore, the image of the ball rolling past him will live in the hearts of fans. 

 

Tim Howard

England would have beaten USA if Tim Howard was the team's starting goalie.

Howard would not have duplicated Green's gaffe. Howard also stopped at least four English shots that had the signature of a goal on them.

Howard played most of the game with bruised, possibly even broken, ribs. If we are to believe that Green lost the English team two points, then we have to believe that Howard gifted his teammates a point as well.

 

Fawzi Chaouchi

In what took the crown from Uruguay and France as the worst game of this Cup, Slovenia beat Algeria on a mistake by Chaouchi.

Chachouchi's mistake was undoubtedly more justified than Green. Chaouchi misjudged the bounce on the shot by Robert Koren.

Considering the new ball has caused controversy and they were playing on synthetic grass, Chaouchi was somewhat justified in his mistake.

Just the same, a keeper player in the World Cup should have enough confidence to adapt to such obstacles.

 

Long Distance Shots

If this low scoring Cup is to be broken, players need to start taking more long distance shots. If they continue to see the goalies struggling, why not challenge them?

Ivanovic almost pulled off another soft goal against Richard Kingson with a weak-long distance shot. 

On that note, it was Kingson's superb saves that helped Ghana gain their historic win.

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