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Julio Cesar favourite for Golden Glove Award in Brazil

Monday 9th June 2014
The majority of attention during the World Cup will centre around the goalscorers and playmakers who fire their team to glory during the tournament but one group of players often overlooked are goalkeepers. One look at the squad of any past winners of the World Cup will show that a good shot-stopper is essential. Here, Jack Kitson previews the leading contenders for the often overlooked Golden Glove award.

The fight to be awarded the coveted Golden Glove is always an extremely competitive won, and this time around is no different, with a whole host of contenders in the mix. In Brazil the host nation's goalkeeper Julio Cesar heads into the tournament as the narrow 4/1 with Bet Victor to claim the accolade, however in his wake are a string of excellent shot-stoppers, including Iker Casillas, Manuel Neuer, Sergio Romero and let us not forget the ever-present Gianluigi Buffon.

History informs us that a goalkeeper from one of the top teams who enjoys a solid, but not necessarily spectacular, tournament is far, far, far more likely to win the award then a shot-stopper from an underdog side, who excels in the group stages but ultimately suffers from his side getting knocked-out early on in the competition. This idea is reinforced by the fact that of the last six winners of the award only Belgium's Michel Preud'homme (1994 USA) has failed to make the final, while the last two successors, Iker Casillas and Gianluigi Buffon, have both won the World Cup.

Top Contenders

Julio Cesar @ 4/1

Julio Cesar will be trusted between the sticks despite a remarkable fall from grace on the club scene. The former Inter Milan keeper is currently on-loan at FC Toronto having been marginalised at Championship side QPR, who instead opted for England flop Rob Green. There are more than a few worried whispers in Cesar's homeland concerning his lack of match action, but he has both the experience and natural talent to perform on the grandest stage of them all.

A scroll through the history books will tell you that despite winning the World Cup five times, remarkably no Brazilian keeper has ever been handed the Golden Glove. If the hosts go all the way on home soil then Cesar will definitely be a major candidate to end this surprising drought.

Iker Casillas @ 5/1

Iker Casillas will be bidding to become the first goalkeeper to win the trophy twice. If he manages to do this the current holder of the award will also therefore become the only keeper to win back-to-back Golden Gloves, which would be a quite staggering achievement. The popular Spaniard has had a mixed season at Real Madrid, playing second fiddle to Diego Lopez in La Liga, however he has been involved in all the cup competitions, winning both the Champions League and Copa del Rey.

In South Africa Casillas conceded just two goals in seven games, keeping five clean sheets in the process. However, he is likely to be far busy this time around as La Roja have been placed in a difficult group containing the likes of Netherlands and Chile who are both fully capable of running riot on their day. Meanwhile should Spain emerge out of Group B they could come face-to-face with Brazil in either the second round or quarter-finals, which is a scary proposition for any keeper.

Manuel Neuer @ 5/1

Germany have picked up the award twice; Oliver Kahn (2002) and Sepp Maier (1974), and this summer Manuel Neuer will be looking to make it a hat-trick. The Bayern Munich keeper is widely regarded as one of the best in the world, but while he has won everything at club level, both he and his teammates have yet to win anything on the international stage.

Similarly to Casillas Neuer will have to be in tip-top form from day one as Germany have been handed a tricky group alongside Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal, Ghana and USA. The 28-year-old is fortunate enough to have a solid defence in front of him, marshalled by skipper Philipp Lahm.

Sergio Romero @ 5/1

The Argentina keeper is arguably the least well known on this list, however one would be insane to doubt his credentials. The AS Monaco shot-stopper, who won gold at the 2008 Olympics, has been ever present for his national side since 2010 and heads across the border to Brazil for his second World Cup.

Argentina's immense attacking prowess is well known. But, if they are to have any hope of going all the way on Brazilian soil then their occasionally fragile defence simply must step up to the plate, meaning it is integral that Romero organises his backline impeccably. He should enjoy a fairly quiet opening few games, with Argentina predicted to dominate a group containing Bosnia, Nigeria and Iran.

Gianluigi Buffon @ 10/1

The 2006 winner looks a decent bet at 10/1 to win the award for the second time in three World Cups. Italy are renowned as a solid defensive unit, which gives Buffon an excellent chance of beating the other contenders in this list. However, the Juventus man will have to be at his best early on, with the Italians coming up against England and Uruguay in the group stages, meaning Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani and Wayne Rooney should keep him busy.

Dark Horse - Thibaut Courtois @ 12/1

The Belgium Number One enjoyed a simply stunning season with loan club Atletico Madrid. The supremely talented 22-year-old made a plethora of sensational saves throughout the course of the season, which helped his side win their first La Liga title for the first time since 1996, while he came agonisingly close to adding the Champions League.

Courtois' home nation Belgium are widely regarded as the dark horses of the 2014 World Cup. The country is currently enjoying its “Golden Generation” and many punters are backing them to stun the football world and win their first ever World Cup. Courtois is undoubtedly central to their hope of doing this, and at 12/1 is definitely worth considering for the Golden Glove.

All odds courtesy of Bet Victor
Jack Kitson
Massive Southampton fan, loving being back in the Premier League but cannot get enough football to feed my addiction.

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