These five goalkeepers will be crucial for their team’s success in Russia. FIFA World Cup, the magic has begun!

The goalkeeper’s job in football is unthankful and probably the loneliest one in the sport. The man between the sticks is scrutinised and under the scanner even after making one tiny mistake and the reputation of a goalkeeper can fall drastically if he has a bad game – just ask poor Loris Karius.

At the 2018 World Cup in Russia, fans are going to witness some of the best goalkeepers in the world help their guide win games, hearts and become a hero.

This World Cup will see 45-year-old goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary make history by becoming the oldest player to be part of a World Cup squad, while it will also feature 19-year-old Nigerian goalkeeper Francis Uzoho, the youngest goalkeeper in this tournament.

In the end, it isn’t about experience or number of caps won, but the quality saves and commanding presence – as well as clean sheets – of goalkeepers in this World Cup. Who are the five goalkeepers who can make a difference in this World Cup in Russia? Let’s have a look:  

5. Kasper Schmeichel

Leicester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel has goalkeeping pedigree in abundance, after all, he is the son of legendary former Danish and Manchester United goalkeeper, Peter Schmeichel.

Kasper was part of the dream story of Leicester City, who won the Premier League title in the 2015-16 season, where he was a key player for the club in their historic title victory.

An exceptional shot-stopper, Schmeichel is also a leader behind the rather inexperienced Danish backline. The 31-year-old has not let in a single goal in the five games that he has represented Denmark in 2018!

Since debuting in 2013, the Danish keeper has kept 14 clean sheets in the 36 appearances he’s made for his national team.

In the 2018 World Cup, Denmark, are in Group C, alongside Australia, Peru, and one of the favourites for the title, France. Although Peru poses a tough test to the rest of the teams in the group, the Danes will be expected to finish second behind France, and Schmeichel will be a key player for them to progress to the knockout stages and further.

4. Alisson

Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson has had a fantastic few seasons in his young career, since his switch to Italian club Roma. After playing second fiddle to Wojciech Szczęsny in his first season at the Italian club, he assumed the No. 1 jersey apart from the departure of the Polish keeper.

He had a dream run last year, playing a key role in Roma’s Champions League run, which was halted by Liverpool in the semi-finals.

The 6’4” keeper has taken the No. 1 Brazil jersey and made it his own and become the first-choice goalkeeper after Julio Cesar’s retirement.

The Brazilians have a tricky group after being drawn against Serbia, Switzerland and Costa Rica – three teams that can cause an upset on their day. But Brazil will be expected to remain tight at the back with the experience of Thiago Silva, Miranda and Marcelo, and the impressive form of Alisson in goal.

Since making his debut in 2015, the Roma keeper has played 27 times for Brazil, keeping an impressive 17 clean sheets!

3. Hugo Lloris

Tottenham Hotspurs’ steady rise to being serious title contenders – and aspiring Arsenal as the best club in North London – has been credited to manager Mauricio Pochettino, and rightly so. But one key component in their exciting team is goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, who joined the club in 2012 and is the captain of the team.

The Frenchman also leads Les Bleus, and his captaincy has coincided with the formation of a very potent French team. The youthful squad, with the likes of Mbappe, Dembele, Lemar, Pogba and co., need guidance and an experienced, which is where the 31-year-old could prove to be a key player.

Lloris is not only an inspirational leader but an exceptional keeper, who is quick off the line and exceptional in one-on-one situations.

The French will be expected to top their group and progress further in the tournament, and maybe even win the tournament. Could we see Lloris lift the Jules Rimet trophy on 15th July 2018 in Moscow?

2. Manuel Neuer

One of the best, if not the best in the world, Manuel Neuer has been part of several fantastic title-winning teams for club and country, often playing a key role in winning.

The German captain was a key player in the Germans’ 2014 World Cup triumph and has won six Bundesliga titles and a Champions League trophy with club side, Bayern Munich.

Neuer is the perfect keeper: strong, powerful, quick off the line, brilliant reflexes and a win-at-any-cost mentality. The German has also mastered the sweeper-keeper role, pushing his defenders high up the pitch and taking the ball in-field to put pressure on the opposition.

Since making his debut for Germany in 2009, Neuer has played 77 games for the national team and has 27 clean sheets to his name.

Germany is one of the favourites to win the World Cup and Neuer will play a vital part in helping his country retain the World Cup.

1. David de Gea

David de Gea may very well be the best goalkeeper in the world right now. The Manchester United goalkeeper may not have won too many titles with his club in the last few years, but such is his importance and contribution to the club that he’s won four back-to-back players of the year trophies!

The Spaniard has been his country’s No. 1 since Euro 2016, usurping World Cup-winning captain Iker Casillas from the Spanish starting XI.

In his 30 appearances for the national team, de Gea has kept 15 clean sheets, impressing on numerous occasions with fantastic shot-stopping and lightning quick reflexes. If Spain is to do well and win the World Cup once more, de Gea has to be at his best.

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