Goalkeeper Gods (World Cup Knockouts Day 3)

It was a superb night of football. Both Nigerian & Algerian saved some amazing shots on goal & raised the bar of the already high quality of matches happened in this World Cup. This World Cup is becoming goalkeeper’s tournament more than the striker’s.

France vs Nigeria

I was seeing France play in this World Cup for the first time. All their group stage matches were late night and with weaker teams. And all of them had expected results. So, it will be safe to assume that France was yet to meet a worthy opponent.

Nigeria never seemed to be that opponent. First half, both the teams played conservatively. It’s been the case till now in knockouts, teams save their best for the second half.

France played their quintessential touch & go play in the second half. It was a pleasure seeing them do all those tricks to move the ball around and quickly covering the yards to land inside the Nigerian D-box.

But then there was Enyeama, the Nigerian goalkeeper. He was relentlessly saving attacks till final moments of the game. One misjudgement and another own-goal broke Nigerian dreams.

Germany vs Algeria

Truly beautiful game.

Games like these are what my football passionate self crave for. I liked German win but also got sad for Algerian loss.

I’ve to say from outset, Germany played with all their vigour and there was hardly any major fault in their game. They were strictly disciplined, had mind-blowing ball possession and most of the time accurate in their shots on goal.

But then there was Rais, the Algerian goalkeeper. He surely had a divine connection.

Just for records - Germany had 22 shots on goal and Algeria had 20 saves. Out of 20, most of them were goals by any standard of the game. And then Rais set a standard last night for years to come. He was calm, intelligent & had reflex of a cat to save shots over shots over shots.

His determination were well reciprocated by ruthless Algerian counter-attacks. Making Neuer, lot of times, come down far into the mid-field to curb them. It was such a treat to watch the game of measured German attacks & super-fast Algerian counters.

That went for the whole time of the again. And then Schurrle’s back flip made the troy like wall of Rais fall in the first 3 minutes of extra time. It happened again from Ozil, after few minutes.1 Algeria got a nice one in as well but it was really late by then.

This game would be remembered for the determination of one man against, sort of, German blitzkrieg.

And in quarters

Germans are better team than France by many factors. But these Europeans giants know very well how to play a World Cup quarterfinal. If Germans continue their current form of undeterred quest for goals, French defence would have to work really hard to stop them. 2

  1. Not before Rais saved initial couple of shots which deflected the ball to Ozil for his shot ↩︎

  2. Their goalkeeper, Lloris, was shaky against few of those mild Nigerian attacks ! ↩︎