World Cup 2018: Top 7 substitute goalkeepers
The top 7 goalkeepers who will be on the bench for their countries due to the presence of a solid first-choice 'keeper in their teams.
The FIFA World Cup is the biggest football carnival and the latest edition is all set to kick off in Russia. The top 32 teams of world football have landed with their full strength 23-man squads, barring unfortunate injuries. It's every football player's ambition to wear his country's jersey and sing the national anthem proudly and take the field to represent the country. The dream in the end will be to lift the World Cup on July 15th.
The goalkeeper is the most underrated and least noticed player on the football pitch and his excellence often tends to go under the radar. The goalkeeper is the guardian of the team's goal and is the man who keeps the opposition at bay and his team in the game.
Each of the squads head into the World Cup with 3 goalkeepers in the squad but unlike outfield players, who get rotated as substitutes, only one goalkeeper plays for the country with the other two left to watch proceedings from the bench.
Few of the top international sides boast two or maybe even three top keepers, who would find a spot in the lesser ranked international sides, however, it would be highly unlikely that they would be able to get into the eleven once the tournament begins.
Bad errors, suspensions or injuries are the only way a substitute keeper can find a place in the eleven in this tournament, and it's not something they would ideally wish for to get into the starting XI.
In this article, we take a look at the top 'substitute keepers of the FIFA World Cup, who would have to watch their team take the field from the bench.
#7 Lukas Fabianski (Poland)
Woijceich Szczesny and Lukas Fabianski are pretty close friends from their time together at London club Arsenal. The two keepers were fighting for the same spot at Arsenal and Szczesny was manager Arsene Wenger's preferred choice, until disciplinary reasons saw him moved out of the club, while Fabianski established himself as Arsenal's number one.
Despite Szczesny's departure from Arsenal, their rivalry continued on the international stage. Fabianski, who was clearly the second choice until Euro 2016, quickly moved himself into fan's hearts with his fabulous performances in Szczesny's absence. The World Cup qualification saw appearances split between the two.
The rivalry will be renewed at the World Cup in Russia, with both men standing an equal opportunity of taking the position between the sticks. Szczesny's position at Juventus and also being the senior of the two might just tilt the scales in his favour.
It will be interesting to see who Polish manager Adam Nawalka opts to start with in their opener against Senegal, but it's likely that Fabianski will take a place on the bench.