FIFA have announced the shortlists for their various World Cup awards and the Golden Glove is virtually sewn up in the eyes of the bwin layers, with Germany’s Manuel Neuer 4/25 favourite for the gong that briefly bore Lev Yashin’s name.
The FC Bayern stopper’s listed rivals for the prize are 6/1 shot Sergio Romero, his opposite number in tomorrow’s decider, and Costa Rica’s Keylor Navas, also a 6/1 bet under the ‘any other goalkeeper’ umbrella.
Such a lopsided assessment from the bookies should only really reflect the character of the performances thrown down by the respective custodians during the tournament so far, but looking at the statistics – garnered from squawka.com – that’s not the case.
Navas leads the way almost relentlessly, he just won’t win.
When it comes to goals conceded, the Los Ticos stopper has allowed a mere two, in comparison to Neuer’s four and Romero’s three.
He played less games you say? Sho ’nuff, but please read on…
Not only did the Levante gloveman make 20 saves, five more than the German and eight more than his Argentine brother in netminding, but he did so in less games.
As a result his skyscraping average of ten stops per concession dwarfs Romero’s 4.67 and Neuer’s 3.75 – he really has been that much harder to beat.
Yes, shot-stopping is only a portion of the custodian’s oath, with venturing beyond the six-yard line for pressure relieving claims also part of the remit.
But here too Keylor’s the boss, equalling the South American’s five punches (for Neuer but a solitary jab) in less games and clutching a massive 19 catches to his breast.
Navas’ rivals for recognition from the governing body have mustered just two more between them.
Yet, in the 19 previous World Cups, the Golden Glove has been awarded to a goalkeeper that didn’t reach at least the semi-finals only three times.
Just one of that lucky trio, Belgium’s Michel Preud’homme, landed the glittering gauntlet after the end of the fifties, unless 1990 (in which World Cup winner Sergio Goycochea shared Team of the Tournament duties with Luis Gabelo Conejo of Costa Rica) is counted.
So there we have it, if FIFA stay true to form, the Golden Glove is a straight shootout between Neuer and Romero.