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Goalkeeping Tips, Tidbits and Random Thoughts

An athlete talking to themsleves during competition is hardly a new phenomenon.... The talk does not have to be vocal. By merely thinking you are talking to yourself and sending a message.
   -- Tony DiCicco, Goalkeeper Soccer Training Manual

If you have a question, comment or rebuttal you'd like to see addressed here, send me email. I will post your mail to the blog at my discretion unless you specify otherwise.

How to win a silver medal

The gold medal match in Beijing between Argentina and Nigeria was well played, if a bit slow due to the 100F+ (38C+) heat at the Bird's Nest stadium. Both teams created chances, although Argentina was aguably the better team throughout. After 90 minutes just one goal separated Argentina's gold from Nigeria's silver. I was disappointed to see that one goal happen primarily due to poor goalkeeping.

We have to remember, though, that the Olympics are essentially a U23 tournament. Goalkeepers often reach their peak far later than field players, so you might expect more mistakes from keepers in their late teens/early twenties. That said, the Nigerian keeper Ambruse Vanzekin was completely at sea for Angel di Maria's game-winner.

Those in the USA can see highlights here at NBCOlympics.com, with the goal starting at about 2:35. Messi springs di Maria with a beautiful ball, putting him in alone on the Nigerian netminder.

We don't see where Vanzekin was, but when the camera finally picks him up, he is at about the penalty spot, moving laterally across the penalty area towards di Maria who is coming down the left of center. By Vanzekin's position and movement, we can tell he is already out of position. His starting position is way off and he's in trouble already.

At this moment, di Maria is also about 12 yards from the top of the penalty area. He is quickly reaching shooting distance, and Vanzekin is caught in no-man's land: too far out to stop a chip, yet not close enough to shut down di Maria. In fact, the edge of the penalty area had become the Nigerian's barrier—even if he tries to close di Maria, he can't do so effectively because di Maria is still outside the area.

Watching live, as the Argentine neared the goal it was obvious to me that he would lob the Nigerian keeper ("He's gonna get chipped!" is what popped into my head), and that is exactly what happened. Skillfully executed by the striker, for sure, but set up by poor positioning by the goalkeeper. Terrible starting position put Vanzekin at a disadvantage from the very start of the play.

If he were to get another chance, as di Maria approached Vanzekin should have been moving back to, say, the top of the goal area and properly centered as if ready for a shot. Then, as di Maria approached the penalty area, the goalkeeper would time his run to start cutting the angle and meet the striker about 13-15 yards from the goal line, guarding against a chip or shot from distance until he could advance and challenge the attacker with the use of his hands.

Still, an Olympic silver medal is nothing to be ashamed of.


Well, it's a soccer ball, anyway...

Only slightly to do with soccer and hilariously dated, but there is some "goalkeeping": The Commodores. Spotter's badge to Chewie over at The Glove Bag.


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