As the end of this year’s World Cup tournament draws ever nearer, four teams are left to vye for the title of world champions 2014 – and we have a fine mix of teams battling it out in the semi-finals. We have, first and foremost, hosts Brazil, who are the most successful team in the competition’s history with five triumphs to date, while we also have their fellow South Americans Argentina, who have two title wins to their name to date.
From the European contingent we see Germany, who are looking to add a fourth title to their all-time haul to level Italy as Europe’s most successful tie, while the Netherlands make up the quartet and Louis van Gaal’s men are looking for their first title. For fantasy managers who are following closely, let’s take a look at the remaining goalkeepers and try to determine just who would be best served in your teams going into the closing stages.
Let’s have a look at the host’s options between the sticks first off. There are three names in the squad – with Julio Cesar making the position his own thus far, but Jefferson and Victor are both ready to pounce on the opportunity should it arise. QPR custodian Cesar has had a somewhat indifferent tournament so far, despite playing every minute of the host’s football so far. His finest game came in the 0-0 draw with Mexico, where he claimed 40 points – but his tally of negative five against Colombia give him a total of 35 – not the worst out there, but still a tally you may have expected to be a little higher given his €9.00m asking price. At the time of writing, 10% of managers have the former Inter Milan stopper in their side – he will likely start against the Netherlands after all.
Let’s jump across the pond now and look at Brazil’s opponents. Keepers Ron-Robert Zieler and Roman Weidenfeller have waited patiently, but Manuel Neuer has made the position his own since long before the tournament started – his 110 points are significantly higher than that of his counterpart in the opposite penalty area in the semi-final, but he does have a higher asking price – €13.50m, meaning he has a points-to-value ratio of 8.1, compared to the 3.9 total for Cesar – meaning that, as far as goalkeepers are concerned at least, and for the purposes of our fantasy competition, things seem to bode well for Joachin Low’s men moving to within 90 minutes of a fourth crown.
Moving continents once again, we will return to South America to take a look at Argentina’s goalkeeping credentials next. Sergio Romero has kept squad rivals Mariano Andújar and Agustín Orión confined to the warmth of the bench thus far, and he looks arguably the best of the three stoppers thus far – he matches Neuer’s points total of 110, but has an asking price a full €1.00m less than Julio Cesar’s – only €8.00m, meaning he is surely one of the more favoured stoppers at this stage. Argentina have plenty to play for and will have to be at their best when they do battle with the Netherlands, and it is here we find arguably the closest competition for a spot wearing the starting gloves.
It does seem a given that Jasper Cillessen will be starting just as he has done throughout the summer, but Tim Krul’s heroics in the recent penalty shootout win over Costa Rica mean he will almost certainly have to keep himself warmed up should he be called upon at a later stage. Cillessen has garnered a decent 70 points total from his five starts thus far, while Krul managed 40 for himself by keeping a clean sheet during his appearance in the quarter finals – though he did only feature marginally prior to shining in the shootout.
All in all then, goalkeeper wise, Argentina would look like the best nation to look at for our fantasy managers, with a stopper who has both the highest points yield for the lower value of the regular starting stoppers – though Cillessen’s points to value rating of 8.8 isn’t a bad shout either. Should it seem to be heading for penalties, Krul may also be a nice shout – 40 points from only a brief appearance seems like a decent gamble with a value of €5.50m – the precedent is there, it could of course always happen again.