With the Summer drawing ever closer we decided that it would be the perfect opportunity to look ahead to Euro 2016 and take a quick look into the keepers we are likely to see on the big stage when the tournament kicks off!
Before we start, unfortunately we don’t have a crystal ball so can’t guarantee who will start in the tournament – so to eliminate the majority of the decision making (and hopefully avoid arguments) we’ve gone off which goalkeeper played the most games in the qualifying stages leading up to the tournament!
So what do we know about the 24 goalkeepers who are expected to line up in their opening matches? Well quite a lot really!
Experience vs Athleticism
Firstly, it’s clear that on an international level coaches are still heavily reliant on experience. The youngest goalkeeper likely to be starting is Thibaut Courtois who will have just turned 24 by the time Euro 2016 kicks off and this will leave him easily the youngest – the next youngest likely to be 3 keepers aged 27.
The oldest goalkeeper expected to be their countries number 1 is Hungarian Gabor Kiraly, closely followed by 38 year old legend Buffon who is largely expected to retire from the international squad following the tournament. Although following his recent displays for Juventus I’m sure the Italian manager will be begging him to stay on.
So with a potential 16 year age gap between the youngest and oldest goalkeeper at the tournament what about the rest of the keepers? Well the average age of the starting goalkeeper at the tournament is expected to be 31 years of age and whilst it’s accepted that goalkeepers play on much longer than outfielders and often are at their best towards their late 20’s that’s still quite an old average age particularly with all the talk of goalkeeping evolving.
Height still matters!
Lets not beat around the topic, there are some absolute giants expected to defend their country’s net this Summer. Again there is a lot of talk around at the moment that goalkeepers don’t need to be huge any more it’s about being technically sound and a great footballer, well nobody appears to have told the international managers.
The shortest goalkeeper expected to start the tournament is Switzerland’s Yann Sommer who is 183cm (6ft) followed by 3 keepers of 185cm (6ft 1in) – according to their official bio anyway, we know some of them aren’t true! The other 20 goalkeepers are all 188cm (6ft 2in) or over.
The tallest goalkeepers are Swedish shot stopper Andreas Isaksson and Belgium’s Courtois who both measure in at a huge 199cm (just under 6ft 7in)
The average height of the starting goalkeepers at the tournament is likely to be 192cm (just under 6ft 4in), looks like we haven’t seen the end of that minimum height requirement just yet – or at least not on the international stage!
The Premier League is the home of goalkeeping!
Ok so the fact that the English Premier League has the most goalkeepers starting in the tournament doesn’t necessarily mean we have the best goalkeepers around Europe – it might just mean we like to buy international goalkeepers rather than rely on home grown talent!
But it does mean that fans of the Premier League will be familiar with a lot of the goalkeepers already and that we will get to watch them again very soon after the end of the tournament when the season kicks off again!
So just how dominant is the Premier League? The answer is pretty dominant! 7 of the 24 starting keepers (29.1%) are currently plying their trade in the Premier League, which is 16% more than any other league.
Italy is next in line with 3 of 24 (12.5%) followed by Germany, Portugal and Turkey who each have 2 from their national leagues (8.3%).
The big questions will remain unanswered until after the tournament though, which of the keepers will get their hands on the trophy, who will impress the world the most and will their be any huge blunders?
Let us know your thoughts on social media!