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13 commanding goalkeepers to look out for at the 2014 FIFA World Cup

Come June 2014, Brazil will have the honour of hosting one of the globe's mostpopularevents - The quadrennial FIFA World Cup. 32 Countries willcome together in Brazilwith the zeal and appetite to excite, captivate and ultimately be crowned World Champions. The International competition promises to showcase a plethora of high quality football and attacking panache.With the world expectinggoals galore this summer, we take a look at some of the most proficient men obstructing that prospect - the men between the sticks. The custodians. The last line of defense. The ones whoare critical to their team's elimination or progression in the competition. Akin to a goal from a striker, a goalkeeper's save either causes heartbreak, or relief worth celebrating.

#1 Brazil - Jlio Csar

Currently on loan at Major League Soccer's Toronto F.C, the Brazillian shotstopper has been capped 78 times by Brazil after succeeding the previous goalkeeper Dida in 2003.

César's good handling of the ball and reliabilty in goal will ensure that the hosts have a high chance of being crowned this year's champions.

#2 Belgium - Thibaut Courtois

The 21-year-old is highly regarded as one of the best players in his position at the moment. Currently on loan from Chelsea, Courtois has been tremendous for Atletico Madrid. His heroics this season have earned El Atléti a spot in the 2014 UEFA Champions League finals.

Keep a look out for the Belgian at the World Cup, his amazing reflexes are sure to capture the attention of the World.

#3 Nigeria - Vincent Enyeama

Nigerian goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama secured 3 clean sheets during Africa's 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers - the highest during the continent's qualifiers. Nicknamed 'The Cat', Enyeama can independently ensure that Nigeria have a respectable World Cup campaign.

#4 Colombia - David Ospina

Only 19 when he started playing regularly for Atletico Nacional, the Colombian goalkeeper is deemed a composed goaltender whose strength lies in containing aerial threats. Ospina is an exemplary shot-stopper too.

#5 England - Joe Hart

England have seen a number of hapless performances from their goalkeepers in previous World Cup competitions. However the Manchester City shot-stopper may prove to be one of England's finer goalkeepers over the years.

Strongly built and equipped with sharp reflexes, Joe Hart has earned plaudits from critics. The Shrewsbury-born player is excellent at tipping away powerfully angled shots from distance.

#6 France - Hugo Lloris

Hugely underrated, Lloris provides France the safety the team craves for at the back.

The Frenchman is blessed with the capability to make instant saves from his seemingly in-built quick reactions.

#7 Germany - Manuel Neuer

Quite possibly the best on the list, Neuer has seen himself compared to Manchester United goalkeeping legend Peter Schmeichel.

A colossal presence in the box, Neuer is quick, athletic and fearless in one-on-one situations. The German's reflexes can also be described as panther-like.

#8 Ghana - Richard Kingson

Kingson stamped his mark in International football during Ghana's exceptional showing in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. His contributions led The Black Stars to the quarter-finals of the pervious World Cup which saw them bow out under controversial circumstances.

Expect the Ghanaian to put in a finer performance in this year's World Cup.

#9 Italy - Gianluigi Buffon

Buffon is no stranger to the list, given that the 36-year-old has had a list of goalkeeping accolades presented to him. A couple of these feats include making it into the 2006 FIFA World Cup All-Star team, and winning the Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year Award 8 times.

#10 Netherlands - Maarten Stekelenburg

The towering Dutchman exhibits great dexterity with his saves and is good at handling the balls in the air in the box.

A number of crucial saves at the last World Cup earned the custodian's side a place in the final which they lost by a single goal in extra-time.

#11 Spain - Iker Casillas

Skipper for the current World Champions, Casillas will be banking on his wealth of experience in goal to ensure Spain achieve its quest for Championship retention. Capped 153 times by the La Furia Roja, Casillas is widely regarded as one of the game's best goalkeepers.

The Spaniard was awarded the Golden Glove award at the last World Cup.

#12 USA - Tim Howard

Blessed with a safe pair of hands, the former Manchester United goalkeeper exhibits good leadership in marshalling his defense and is equivalently adept in neutralising threats from shots inside the box.

#13 Uruguay - Fernando Muslera

Flexible and perceptive, Muslera was pivotal to Uruguay's 4th position finish at the previous World Cup.

A corroboration of his goalkeeping expertise is the fact that the Uruguayan holds the record for most clean sheets in the Süper Lig with 19.

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Edited by Staff Editor
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