This summer, Europe’s top nations will travel to France as they compete for glory in the European Championship. The likes of Belgium, Germany and Portugal will all fancy their chances of emerging victorious on July 10th – exactly a month after France will open the tournament against Romania.
A number of the world’s top goalkeepers will be involved throughout the competition and these shot stoppers could be the difference for their respective teams. In fact, many punters will be visiting the likes of Bookies.com to back nations purely because of their goalkeeper. Here are three of the most talented shot stoppers that will feature prominently this summer.
David de Gea (Spain)
The Manchester United goalkeeper will head into this summer’s European Championship as Spain’s number one after playing second fiddle to Iker Casillas since bursting onto the scene a few years ago. The 2010 World Cup winners will be looking for an improved performance at a major tournament after crashing out of the 2014 edition in the group stages.
You could argue that De Gea is in fact the best goalkeeper on the planet. While some would suggest that Manuel Neuer still holds that title, De Gea’s shot stopping ability gives him the slight advantage, especially as he has grown accustomed to emulating Neuer’s sweeper role when required. If Spain are to succeed, De Gea will need to be at his brilliant best.
Joe Hart (England)
Joe Hart remains England’s best goalkeeper and the Manchester City number one looks set to retain his place in the starting line-up, especially with Jack Butland ruled out through injury. While some have criticised Hart in recent years, the 28-year-old remains an exceptional goalkeeper and is arguably one of the top five shot stoppers in the world.
Hart is likely to play a key role for the Three Lions this summer. In fact, there are plenty of tipsters backing Hart to lead England to glory and you can find various articles on Roy Hodgson’s men at Bookies.com. If Hart performs at his best and England remain solid defensively, they stand a great chance of reaching the latter stages of the competition.
Gianluigi Buffon (Italy)
Time and time again, Gianluigi Buffon has continued to roll back the years and the Italy goalkeeper will be integral to their chances of success this summer. The 38-year-old recently broke the record for minutes played without conceding a goal in Serie A – an achievement that shows Buffon remains a top goalkeeper despite his age.
Buffon isn’t quite as mobile or agile as he used to be but his vast experience will come in handy, especially for the younger members of Italy’s squad. The Juventus goalkeeper was a key member of Italy’s 2006 World Cup-winning side and it would be one of the fairytale stories if Buffon was able to help his nation win another major tournament in what would probably be his final appearance for Italy.