I have grown up supporting a team I watched as a young boy and that support has never wavered through both the good and bad times of football, I have been there through thick and thin. However even though I am an avid supporter of my club I do look out for the results of certain other teams, whether that be because I have friends or relatives who support them, or in the case of Barcelona, because of the number of great holidays to this beautiful part of the world, almost making Barcelona feel like a second home. That coupled with my good understanding of the Spanish language allowing me to read a good chunk of the words in the Spanish press, especially my favourite paper the Sport (This is not in any way the same as the UK boob filled newspaper, this is actually about sport!) allows me to follow Barcelona in more ways than one. Not just from reading the papers whilst on holiday, but also through their App and Facebook site, meaning I am flooded with information on the team, giving me yet more reasons to practice my Spanish whilst reading about the latest rumours in the Barcelona camp.
When it comes to rumours, often the Sport out-trumps our press. They called it right on the transfers of Thierry Henry, David Villa and most recently Alex Song from Arsenal. So as a fan of Goalkeeping a number of stories recently have really caught my eye… That Victor Valdes is not looking to renew his contract with Barcelona when it expires in 1.5 years.
The UK press are all over this story too, already throwing names in the frame as their own potential ‘Exclusives’. With one rumour being that Liverpool and Barcelona could be looking to do a swap for Spain’s 2nd choice goalkeeper, Valdes, for Spain’s 3rd choice keeper, Pepe Reina. Which would make sense as Reina was a former Barcelona scholar and would probably like a return. However, when you read the Spanish press there is a different name being touted, one which make’s more sense, Thibaut Courtois.
Courtois, is someone Barcelona have been able to see up close, from his time on loan from Chelsea in La Liga at Atletico Madrid. Seeing Courtois in very impressive form… Last season (2011-2012) saw him keep 23 clean sheets 52 appearances for Atletico Madrid and this season (2012-2013) to date he has kept 14 clean sheets in 24 games! No wonder he appears to have caught their eye, and no wonder why Chelsea want to hold contract talks with him… However, even though this impressive form ought to see him get more first team appearances with his current employer on his return from loan, there is the issue of the also impressive Petr Cech being in his way. With Cech as the first choice keeper, would Courtois really be happy as the second choice, when this Summer he could be guaranteed first team action? All of which means there is a lot more to this rumour than just paper talk…
It will be a shame for Barcelona to lose Valdes, who according to the Sport will be sold in the Summer. He has been such a great Goalkeeper for them over the many years as their number 1. Indeed, he has had his low points, his critics and dropped the odd clanger, but which keeper hasn’t (including those at the highest level). His stats over the years show that he deserves the praise and recognition he is getting. Most notably his best form was in 2007, when he entered the Barcelona record books after not conceding a goal for 466 minutes, followed by winning the best goalkeeper in Spain in the 2008-2009 season beating the Spanish 1st Choice Goalkeeper Iker Casillas – some feat. It is part of the reason why Barcelona will remain fond of him. I wish him well and perhaps maybe… he will decide to come to the Premiership. If so then I for one can’t wait to see him in action! 😉
So we have heard who UEFA think were the best Goalkeepers in the tournament and we have seen Ireland’s Shay Given (http://wp.me/p27nBU-fW) and Spain’s Iker Casillas (http://wp.me/p27nBU-g5) as the best from the Stats, with Iker outshining them all by collecting 5 awards in the stats, but lets face it the award that really matters is the one voted on by you, my blog readers… and this time it wasn’t won by Iker Casillas.
You voted the Best Goalkeeper of the Tournament as Germany’s Manuel Neuer
A great choice by you all, unlucky twice in 2012 , missing out on penalties in the Champions League for Bayern Munich against Chelsea and then seeing an inspired Mario Balotelli put two goals past him so that Italy progressed to the final. Not many Goalkeepers would have coped with Mario that day – he was quite super… But then again so was Manuel through out the tournament. So congratulations Manuel Neuer!
The final results:
|Player||Country||Percentage of Votes|
|2nd =||Iker Casillas||Spain||19%|
|2nd =||Rui Patricio||Portugal||19%|
|4th =||Gianluigi Buffon||Italy||13%|
|4th =||Joe Hart||England||13%|
|4th =||Hugo Lloris||France||13%|
Euro 2012 Stats Part Two: The remaining stats awards…
I looked at the number of shots Spain’s Iker Casillas had to deal with on goal and wondered if he was actually one of the best Goalkeepers in Europe as it seemed that he hadn’t necessarily been tested. However when I looked started calculating the stats from the tournament I could believe my eyes when he almost wiped the floor of awards on offer… I say almost as there was only one he did not get, which was the busiest keeper, but then with the Spanish defence and an average team possession of approximately 60% he was never likely to be… but he showed just why indeed he deserved to be classed as one of the best Goalkeepers in Europe and indeed the World…
So from the stats Iker Casillas picks up the awards for:
- The Golden Glove – Most Clean Sheets – Iker had 5 clean sheets in total from the 6 games he played, with the next best being 2 clean sheets from 4 other Goalkeepers (England’s Joe Hart, Italy’s Gianluigi Buffon, Portugal’s Rui Patricio and Greece’s Michalis Sifakis);
- Clean Sheets vs Games Played – An impressive 83.33% with the next best being Greece’s Michalis Sifakis at 66.67%;
- Clean Sheets vs Shots on Goal – Even though (as we previously saw in the last post) Iker had only 16 shots at goal to cope with, with keeping 5 clean sheets meant that he topped the charts at 31.25%, with the next best being again Greece’s Michalis Sifakis and Portugal’s Rui Patricio at 13.33%;
- Meanest Keeper Part 1 : Goals Conceded vs Shots on Goal – Iker only conceded 1 goal in the whole tournament meaning his ratio was at 6.25 %, with the next best being England’s Joe Hart at 9.09%; and
- Meanest Keeper Part 2 : Goals Conceded vs Games Played – this has got to be the greatest stat of the lot with playing 6 games and conceding only 1 means that Iker has a phenomenally low 0.17%. No other Goalkeeper could come close with the next best being Poland’s Przemyslaw Tyton at 0.67%.
I think I speak for many Goalkeeping fans when I say Wow – What a great Goalkeeper. The stats say it all – he most definitely deserves the accolades!
Here are the stats in full for all of these awards:
|2nd =||Joe Hart||England||2|
|2nd =||Michalis Sifakis||Greece||2|
|2nd =||Rui Patricio||Portugal||2|
|2nd =||Gianluigi Buffon||Italy||2|
|Player||Country||Games Played||Clean Sheets||% Clean Sheets vs games|
|Player||Country||Clean Sheets||Shots on Goal||% Clean Sheets vs Shots|
|Player||Country||Goals Conceded||Shots on Goal||% Conceded vs Shots|
|Player||Country||Games Played||Goals Conceded||Average conceded/ game|
Stats by www.goalkeepingitreal.co.uk
In the previous posting http://wp.me/p27nBU-fP it was seen that UEFA had chosen their 3 goalkeepers of the tournament. However what did the stats say… who are the goalkeepers that the stats showed to deserve recognition…
Euro 2012 Stats Part One: The busiest Goalkeeper of the tournament (Shots on goal per game)
Sometimes you have to feel for these Goalkeepers as they have a barrage of shots on goal, meaning that either their team is up against huge fire power or the defence isn’t doing their job or perhaps the team are not taking the action further up the field, meaning that the Goalkeeper has to deal with a lot more shots on goal, which makes the job of keeping a clean sheet that much harder (student Goalkeepers should take note, that it can be difficult to keep clean sheets in such situations – even for the vastly experienced Goalkeepers).
With Spain keeping the ball more than any other team and having one of the best defences, it is unlikely to see Iker Casillas in the top 5 of this stat…
Winner: Shay Given
So the first award, is for the busiest Euro 2012 Goalkeeper and there was none busier than Ireland’s Shay Given who had an incredible average of 10 shots on goal per game. He most definitely deserves this award as throughout the tournament Shay had to put up with tremendous back pain whilst still pulling off some great saves in the processes.
Runner up: Joe Hart
Shay Given was closely followed by England’s Joe Hart who not only from stats claimed to be the second busiest keeper (at an average 8.25 shots per game) but in the last match against Italy had more passes than any other England player… some feat…
The top 5 stats in full:
|Player||Country||Games Played||Shots on Goal||Shots on per game|
|1st||Shay Given||Republic of Ireland||3||30||10.00|
|3rd =||Vyacheslav Malafeev||Russia||3||21||7.00|
|3rd =||Maarten Stekelenburg||Holland||3||21||7.00|
Stats by www.goalkeepingitreal.co.uk
So Euro 2012 is now over, with Spain crowned the kings of Europe again. What a tournament – not just for the dazzling goals and outfield action but for the Goalkeeping too!
We saw fantastic examples of Goalkeeping and then again some not so good examples with Arsenal’s Worjciech Szczesny seeing red or seeing errors from Goalkeepers who we have recently seen to have had excellent seasons relatively error free. However to jump to the defence of a number of Goalkeepers here, some of these were errors not because they were poor on judgement, that they had to deal with a very unpredictable ball… As Joe Hart experienced and as only one camera angle caught, the ball flew through the air almost ‘wobbling’ in flight. So Goalkeepers had extra factors to deal with in this tournament rather than the obvious ones…
So with the tournament over, UEFA posted their 23 man squad of the tournament, showing that they felt the 3 best goalkeepers had been:
- Iker Casillas;
- Gianluigi Buffon; and
- Manuer Neuer.
3 quality Goalkeepers who I agree deserve recognition, however what did my followers think and who do the tournament stats say were the best?
There is still time for you all to vote for your favourite, with polls closing this week. I shall then provide an insight into who else deserves our recognition from this great tournament…
Have you been keeping an eye on those Euro 2012 Goalkeepers?
There have been cracking examples of great Goalkeeping… oh and some not so good examples… across this competition. So have any of the Goalkeepers playing at these European Championships stood out for you as of a different class to all the others at the tournament?
I have now opened up the poll for you to start register your votes as to who you think has been the best.
Please may I ask you to cast the vote based on reviewing all of the Goalkeepers and try not to vote for them because it is your home nation… unless of course they honestly deserve it!
This poll shall close soon after the tournament at which point the results shall be announced.
I look forward to seeing who you choose and of course please feel free to comment as to your reasons why…
The Goalkeepers to Watch in this tournament (if they get their chance)… A quick guide to the Goalkeepers at Euro 2012
PART THREE – GROUP C
Stipe Pletikosa, FC Rostov, Age 33 – Squad Number 1 – 91 senior international appearances prior to this tournament
Ivan Kelava, GNK Dinamo Zagreb, Age 24 – Squad Number 12 – 0 international appearances
Danijel Subašić, Monaco, Age 27 – Squad Number 23 – 4 international appearances
Gianluigi Buffon, Juventus, Age 34 – Squad Number 1 – 114 international appearances
Salvatore Sirigu, Paris St Germain, Age 25 – Squad Number 12 – 3 international appearances
Morgan De Sanctis, Napoli, Age 35 – Squad Number 14 – 5 international appearances
Republic of Ireland
Shay Given, Aston Villa FC, Age 36 – Squad Number 1 – 122 international appearances
Kieran Westwood, Sunderland FC, Age 27 – Squad Number 16 – 10 international appearances
David Forde, Milwall FC, Age 32 – Squad Number 23 – 2 international appearances
Iker Casillas, Real Madrid, Age 31 – Squad Number 1 – 131 international appearances
Victor Valdes, Barcelona, Age 30 – Squad Number 12 – 8 international appearances
Pepe Reina, Liverpool, Age 29 – Squad Number 23 – 25 international appearances
This group boast a lot of experience Goalkeepers with all the teams Number 1’s having over 90 caps each. Will experience count? Or will we see more un-characteristic mistakes from the more experienced? So will any of these be your pick of the tournament…