Unlike previous World Cups, this year has been a highlight for goalkeepers. We are so used to goal scorers and goal creators hogging the headlines that it is actually quite refreshing to see goal stoppers leading the news.
There are many outstanding keepers this World Cup like Guillermo Ochoa of Mexico, Tim Howard of USA and Keylor Navas of Costa Rica probably stands out from the rest. Most notable mentions are for Tim Krul of the Netherlands and the ever consistent Manual Neuer of Germany who also won the Golden Glove award for being the top goalkeeper at the World Cup 2014 in Brazil. They have all made significant contribution to their team's chances of getting through to the next round.
As we talk about the goals and saves of the World Cup we should note that there are some important lessons to be learnt from it too. Here are some things we can learn from goalkeepers;
1) There is always that one friend that will back you up
Manual Neuer of Germany won the Golden Glove award for being the top goalkeeper at the World Cup 2014 in Brazil. He produced many crucial saves throughout the competition. His ability to control and pass the ball with comfort at his penalty area with his feet as well as timely runs out from his box to clear danger has enabled his teammates the confidence to roam forward searching for goals.
Look around us. Do we have a friend or someone who will back us up no matter how many times we may screw up or when we need a back to lean on?
2) Life is not always fair
Jasper Cillessen was Netherlands's number one goalkeeper throughout the World Cup but was being substituted by Tim Krul when the game against Costa Rica went into penalties. Tim Krul went on to save 2 penalties and became a national hero for bringing Netherlands to the semi finals.
Cillessen's performance had been consistently good throughout the tournament and made a few crucial saves during the match. But to be substituted in such a manner is in a sense, insulting to him.
Do we sometime find ourselves being overlooked no matter how much effort we put in?
3) No risk, No gain
Based on the above example, taking out your number one choice goalkeeper and replacing him when he is on form takes a lot of courage and a huge risk as well. For whatever reason, this gamble paid off in huge dividends as Netherlands successfully gained entry to the next round.
There are many major decisions each of us has to make in our lifetime, whether it is based on calculated risk or just plain luck. The idea is to just stick to it and follow through and we may just get what we wished for.
4) There is a thin line between being a hero and a villain
It's tough being a goalkeeper at any level and especially at such a big tournament like the World Cup. A goalkeeper can make 9 saves out of 10 shots and nobody notices, but the 1 shot that he lets in will invite the whole world's condemnation. This is in total contrast to being an outfield player or even a striker whose job is to score goals. 1 shot that ends up being a goal against 9 misses he make and still he will be adorned like a hero.
5) Keep trying and you'll succeed
Tim Howard made a record of 16 saves and was outstanding in a match against Belgium and it was not until extra time that the Belgium managed to score against him. Although both teams did not deserve to lose, it also shows that perseverance will get you through if you try hard enough. The Belgians succeeded on their sixteenth try. How many tries are we willing to make in order to achieve our goals? That is the question we have to ask ourselves.