Gordon Banks is delighted to see goalkeepers making the headlines for the right reasons at the World Cup.
From Tim Howard’s record-breaking number of stops against Belgium to the remarkable introduction of Tim Krul off the bench for Holland’s penalty shootout with Costa Rica, Brazil 2014 has arguably been more about goalkeepers than any other players.
And Tinsley-born Banks is pleased to see his fellow goalkeepers’ union members grabbing the plaudits.
‘It has been a great World Cup for goalkeepers and it’s nice to see so many get recognition this year,” the England legend said.
“I don’t think the balls are moving round as much as they have done in recent tournaments so the keepers can save shots properly rather than just having to parry them.”
“There have been some wonderful displays, Tim Howard who I have always rated highly, made over a dozen good saves versus Germany and there was the Mexican keeper Ochoa who made a handful of saves against Brazil including one which was compared to my effort against Pele back in 1970.”
“Brazil’s Julio Cesar, who is not even first choice for QPR has been playing very well and helped beat Chile on penalties in the last sixteen.
“Then there was Tim Krul’s performance for Holland versus Costa Rica. I have never seen anything like that – a keeper coming on for the shootout - but it clearly worked and whether it was mind games for the players when the substitution was made or when he was shouting at the penalty players before they took their kick, it worked!”
In Wednesday’s semi-final Banks, 76, sees the winners of the tournament emerging from this encounter.
He said: “After Holland’s first match I sat up and thought this is brilliant and that they would walk away with this tournament playing in the same exciting and attacking vein.
“But as the tournament has progressed the Dutch have become a bit nervous whereas Argentina have improved together with their talisman Messi leading from the front.
“They play as a team, pass it quickly and I think they will go on to win the whole thing.”