Some of you might be like, “Prisma, you never gave any previous thoughts on the WC. What makes you think I want to read about it now that it is over?” I missed the opportunity to cover each game because of my real world job. But I do love making all-encompassing statements. So here is the one I will apply to this WC.
This was the cup of keepers. Granted, this WC almost broke the record for highest scoring tournament in WC history. But when you look back at the stats I am blown away by the keepers.
Here’s how the Man of the Match breaks down for all position but keepers. (A “w” indicates that the winning player’s team won the game. A “t” indicates that the winning player’s team tied the game. A “l” indicates that the winning player’s team lost the game.)
1 MOTM Win
- Argentina: Higuain (w.)
- Belgium: De Bruyne (w.), E. Hazard (w.), Vertonghen (w.)
- Bosnia and Herzegovina: Dzeko (w.)
- Brazil: David Luiz (w.)
- Chile: Alexis (w.), Vargas (w.)
- Colombia: Jackson M. (w.)
- Costa Rica: Campbell J. (w.), Ruiz B. (w.)
- Cote D’ivorie: Toure Yaya (w.)
- Croatia: Mandzukic (w.)
- Ecuador: E. Valencia (w.)
- France: Pogba (w.)
- Germany: Hummels (w.), Kroos (w.)
- Greece: Samaras (w.)
- Italy: Balotelli (w.)
- Japan: Honda (t)
- Korea Republic: H M Son (t)
- Mexico: G. Dos Santos (w.), R. Marquez (w.)
- Netherlands: V. Persie (w.)
- Nigeria: Mikel (t), Odemwingie (w.)
- Portugal: Ronaldo (w.)
- Spain: David Villa (w.)
- USA: Dempsey (w.)
- Uruguay: L. Suarez (w.)
2 MOTM Wins
- Algeria: Slimani (w, t)
- Brazil: Neymar Jr. (w, w)
- France: Benzema (w, w)
- Germany: Gotze (t, w), Muller (w, w)
- Switzerland: Shaqiri (w, w)
3 MOTM Wins
- Colombia: James (w, w, w)
- Netherlands: Robben (w, w, w)
4 MOTM Wins
- Argentina: Messi (w, w, w, w)
As you can see, while some players seem to be consistently impressive or some countries a little more dominant, no player listed won a MOTM vote as a member of the losing team. Now here is a list of the keepers who won MOTM.
- Algeria: Rais (l)
- Argentina: Romero (w.)
- Brazil: Julio Cesar (w.)
- Costa Rica: Navas K. (l, w, t)
- Ecuador: Dominguez (t)
- Italy: Buffon (l)
- Mexico: G. Ochoa (l, t)
- USA: Howard (l, t)
(Do you know what annoying? ( w ) without the spaces does this )
Of the 64 games played a keeper was voted MOTM 14 times. Granted, that is not that large of a number in comparison to the 50 other wins but it is impressive for a single position, especially when that position is not expected to ever score a goal.
The fact that impresses me is this, of the 64 wins five were for a player from the losing team and all five were keepers. Think about that.
This means that the majority of people voting believed the best player to be the keeper, a man in charge of stopping goals. For that man to be on a losing team he must have let the ball in at least once, even if it was in a shootout. And yet five different keepers were given the title Man of the Match in spite of that.
How impressive was each keeper that in spite of the goals against them they played such a game that people considered them the best player on the pitch that day? Not the guy who scored the goal, but the man who let it in.
That is why I believe this was a world cup of keeping. I might soon forgot what the six goals of James looked like, or the look of disappointment and acknowledgement of unworthiness on Messi’s face when he got the (undeserved) Golden Ball, but it will be some time before I forget my awe as save after beautiful save was made against giants of the game by the weaker team’s keeper.
Side note: I feel bad for the Dutch keeper, Jasper Cillessen. The poor boy’s high-five attempt was ignored at the end of the Netherlands v. Costa Rica game and now he has the #cillessensitsonthings or whatever meme trend. He played a darn good game that day and was obviously just getting a different vantage point. He seems to have a gleamingly bright future ahead of him so it probably doesn’t matter anyway. Or maybe I’m just biased because…well…just look at him.
This is the face I now make when I need to push through a project or face a difficult task.
You keep up the good work, Jasper.