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In-depth analysis of the 3 Spanish goalkeepers for the 2014 FIFA World Cup

Abdul Razik
CONTRIBUTOR
Modified 29 Mar 2014, 15:56 IST
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A good goalkeeper is half the team. Vicente Del Bosque knows why it matters to pick the best three shot stoppers on the plane to Brazil in their quest to defend the FIFA World Cup. With Valdes injuring his knee against Celta Vigo playing for the Spanish champions has put an end to his chances of getting into the team.

In spite of not starting many matches this season for his club, Iker Casillas has always remained part of Del Bosque’s plans, making the Real Madrid legend an ideal choice for La Roja‘s World Cup team. Whether the current Spain No.1 is the first choice goalkeeper or not, he is surely a part of the star-studded squad.

“He’s active, he’s training, and he is playing in the Champions League, I don’t see a problem to call him up. Physically, he’s fine.” said Del Bosque on Casillas.

Now, it stands between Pepe Reina, Diego Lopez and David de Gea to get their ticket to one of the most decorated sports event of all time. With two spots remaining, let’s see which one of the trio will be asked to stay back at home. Well, it is unfair to judge them on their total stats as Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina has played seven games lesser than his two counter-parts.

So, let’s consider the averages per game of the 10 important factors of a goal keeper.

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1. Clean Sheets

Lopez stands as the star man among the three with 12 clean sheets in La Liga which gives him an average of 0.40 per match and David de Gea is just one less than Lopez at 11 and is also in contention for the golden glove.

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2. Goals Conceded

Jose Reina has conceded the least number of goals for the Naples team with just conceding 1.04 goals per game and his Spanish counter-part Lopez is not far away with a mere 1.07 goals conceded per game puts him as the second best.

3. Saves

The Flying Spaniard David de Gea has made a stupendous 86 saves out of the 122 shots he faced which puts him in an average of 2.32 saves per game and is also in a position where Reina and Lopez are not even close.

4. Saves Per Goal

The previous stat defines the saves made per match, this stat gives the number of saves per goal which is topped by Pepe Reina. The 31-year-old Liverpool loanee is at 2.23 saves per goal followed by his old club rival David de Gea at 2 saves per goal.

5. Distribution Accuracy 

Though none among the three managed to fetch an assist, Diego Lopez passes have been reaching the Los Blancos giving him a distribution accuracy rate of 74% followed by Reina at 66%

6. Distribution Length 

Though Lopez has the best distribution accuracy, both his counter-parts outclassed him in the distribution length. De Gea and Reina are tied at a distribution length of 44m while Diego Lopez only managed a meager length of 26m.

7.  Punches    

Manchester United number One David de Gea has made the most number of punches at a rate of 0.39 punches per game which indicates how good he is in defending corner kicks compared to Reina and Lopez at 0.35 and 0.33 respectively.

8. Catches

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Catches in football shows the confidence of a goalkeeper to come out and fetch the ball which also eases the pressure of his defenders. Once again, De Gea and Reina are on level terms at 2.39 catches per match followed closely by Lopez at 2.37 catches per game. David de Gea has successfully claimed the ball 74 times in his 74 attempts.

9. Errors leading to goals 

Surely, a day to forget for a goalkeeper if he makes a howler on the field which leads to a goal. De Gea and Lopez keep it clean by avoiding any blunders in their respective league games. But, awkward for Reina as he bundled the ball into his own net against Livorno which costed his team 2 points.

10. Pass Length

The longer you hit, the safer it is. 23-year-old David de Gea comes out on the top in the average pass length with his shots reaching an average length of 44.61 m compared to Jose Reina’s 39.48 m and Diego Lopez’s 36.43m which gives him another star.

Considering the stats of 10 major qualities of a goalkeeper this season and the overall career stats, David de Gea and Pepe Reina has the better hand than Diego Lopez and should join the Spanish legend Iker Casillas on the plane to Brazil. Sadly, Diego Lopez will continue to be neglected.

Also, this is the best chance for Vicente Del Bosque to give Spain’s brightest prospect and Manchester United No.1 David de Gea a bit of World Cup experience along with his two most experienced goalkeepers in the absence of Victor Valdes. So, Iker Casillas, Pepe Reina and David de Gea will be my goalkeeper trio for La Roja World Cup squad but we have to wait till the end of May to see what Del Bosque’s choice is.

This post also appears on my blog.

Stats taken from Squawka (Opta) and WhoScored.

Published 29 Mar 2014, 15:56 IST
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