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World Cup Watch: Goalkeepers

By Simon Rice

Published 29/05/2010

<b>Oscar Perez (Mexico)</b><br/>
England fans have already had a glimpse of the Mexico stopper during the recent friendly. Yet if fans were sitting in Row Z, they might not have seen him. At just 5'7
Oscar Perez (Mexico)
England fans have already had a glimpse of the Mexico stopper during the recent friendly. Yet if fans were sitting in Row Z, they might not have seen him. At just 5'7", Perez will be the shortest keeper on show. How he fares against the height of Peter Crouch or the strength of Didier Drogba could be entertaining.
David James (England)
Goalkeepers are an eccentric bunch, and in the absence of Germany's Jens Lehman, the most eccentric of the 2010 gang could well be our very own David James. Undoubtedly an excellent keeper, there's always a feeling that he's just one touch away from an almighty blooper. The art-loving afro-wearing former Spice Boy will have England fans on the edge of their seats.
Gianluigi Buffon (Italy)
The Italian stopper is one of the best, and he's also one of the most noticeable. His dark looks and none-too-shy way with words will see him stand out. And on top of that, the new Italy goalkeeper kit makes him look like some sort of second rate super hero.
Richard Kingson (Ghana)
Ghana's No 1 is a bit of a worry. Mainly because he's also Wigan's No 3. Now no disrespect to Wigan, but if he's not even making it onto the bench in Greater Manchester, is he really international standard? It could be fun finding out.
Ri Myong-Guk (North Korea)
If there's a pre-tournament favourite for which goalkeeper will concede the most goals, it has to be Myong-Guk. He's the North Korea stopper, and on top of being the No 1 for the most unfancied team in the tournament, they will be facing Brazil, Portugal and Ivory Coast in the group stage. He might as well start practicing picking the ball out of the net now.
Vincent Enyeama (Nigeria)
With a nickname like 'The Cat', there was never any doubt about Enyeama's inclusion on this list. The athletic and somewhat fearless keeper (as strikers with a one-on-one chance are likely to find out) has been a staple of the Nigerian team for the last decade. During this year's African Cup of Nations, Enyeama saved a spot-kick during a penalty shoot-out against Zambia. He scored one as well.
Hamidou Souleymanou (Cameroon)
Hamidou is no longer Cameroon's first choice keeper, but he can expect to be on the bench in South Africa.
Iker Casillas (Spain)
If you're looking for one of the best keepers at this summer's tournament, you would do well to cast your eye towards Spain. Their No 1 is Real Madrid stopper Iker Casilla. At 29 he's already made over 100 appearances for the national side and is undoubtedly one of the best in the business.
Julio Cesar (Brazil)
Running Casillas close for the best stopper at the tournament will be Julio Cesar of Brazil. The 30-year-old was an essential ingredient in Inter Milan's run to the Champions League title, pulling off a memorable save against Lionel Messi along the way.
Lounes Gaouaoui (Algeria)
England fans will get a good look at Gaouaoui when Fabio Capello's team meet Algeria during the group phase. The 32-year-old is well known for his leaping abilities and it would also appear he's willing to aim high at this World Cup: "The USA, Slovenia and especially England make for a very hard World Cup group," he said. "However, why shouldn't we aim for second place?" Why indeed.

Over the years there have been some memorable World Cup stoppers.

We've enjoyed Jorge Campos and his zany kit, Ramon Quiroga who managed to pick up a yellow card in the opposition's half and Jose Luis Chilavert who would take Paraguay's free-kicks. Hopefully 2010 can produce another hero. Here's our pick of the most likely candidates.

>> Click on the image to launch our guide.

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