Goalkeepers were the breakout players of the World Cup as their outstanding performances began earning them more recognition in the sports world. The FIFA Golden Glove award was expected to be a tight race because of this, and some goalkeepers were given more playing time because of their teams advancement in the tournament. CONCACAF goalkeepers really stood out in my mind as some of the best goalkeepers in the tournament, and I expected to see record-breaker Tim Howard and Mexican star Guillermo Ochoa on the list, but neither received recognition; however, fellow CONCACAF goalkeeper Keylor Navas from Costa Rica did make the list.
Howard broke the all-time World Cup record of saves in one match during his 16 saves against Belgium, but he did not make the short list. It is arguable whether or not Navas, Manuel Neuer or Sergio Romero had better performances. Although, the Golden Glove is an individual record, the entire team’s performance does have an impact. It depends on whether or not a team gave room for goalkeepers to show off their talent, but also how many chances players were given with team advancement.
Howard only played four matches, but left an obvious lasting impression, because not only did he break a record, he also became a household name. He has always been one of the best goalkeepers in the world, but this World Cup gave him the perfect atmosphere to show it. If the US National Team had beat Belgium and made it to the quarterfinals, I think Howard would definitely be on the shortlist.
Neuer and Romero are the keepers from the two teams in the final: Germany and Argentina. These amazing goalkeepers are part of the reason their teams made it to the final, and their teams advancement gave them ample time to prove they deserve the Golden Glove. The third shortlist nomination came from Costa Rica who bowed out in a quarterfinals, but goalkeeper Navas was able to keep a clean sheet until the penalty shootout.
Regardless of who wins the Golden Glove, everyone will remember Howard’s performance in this World Cup without the award to show for it.