Skip to content
0 items

The influence of goalkeepers on the results of a football team

07 Nov 2023

The influence of goolkeepers on team result: what is the role of football goalkeepers?

They are part of the team, yet often isolated. They run less on the field, yet often have the best overview of the game. They notice the infractions of others, but their own mistake can be fatal for the team. What is the impact of goalkeepers on the course and outcome of the game? Which goalkeepers are among the world’s best? And which ones can not only make saves but also score goals? Let's shed light on the kings between the posts.

About the Soul of the Team: What is the Role of the Goalkeeper in Football

"What’s the big deal? You just catch whatever comes your way, right?" This is something you should never say to a goalkeeper. They know very well that the last line of defense needs to possess far more skills.

In addition to basic abilities such as speed, agility, and excellent reflexes, a goalkeeper must also have great communication skills to coordinate the defense. A goalkeeper generally has a better overview of what’s happening on the field than individual players, allowing them to direct the defense and give instructions to teammates. They instruct defenders on where to position themselves to ensure optimal coverage and adjust tactics continuously.

A goalkeeper needs to be nimble, agile, and ready to face various risky situations, such as crosses from corners or direct and penalty kicks. Their ability to read the game and decide correctly whether to leave the goal or stay put is crucial for the success of the defense.

They also play a significant role in initiating play. With precise and quick throws or passes, the goalkeeper can help the team transition rapidly from defense to attack. Alternatively, they can kick the ball over a long distance to teammates in advanced positions.

Skilled goalkeepers often overshadow even offensive players. For instance, Tom King, a goalkeeper from the 4th English league, kicked the ball from his own penalty area into the opponent's goal in 2021. This goal, from a distance of 96.01 meters, made football history and entered the Guinness World Records.


The goalkeeper also has an irreplaceable psychological impact. Often considered the soul of the team, they influence its morale. Their calmness and confidence inspire teammates during tough moments, giving them the determination to keep fighting. Conversely, their frustration can negatively affect the entire team.

So no, it really isn’t just about catching a flying ball.

Did you know that in the past, anyone on the field could play with their hands?

In the 19th century, any player could touch the ball with their hands. The game resembled rugby in many ways. You could tackle opponents hard, and both kicking and handling the ball were allowed. It wasn't until 1863 that the Football Association banned the use of hands for all players except the goalkeeper.

A successful goalkeeper= equals a successful team. What is considered a successful save in football?

From local leagues to the World Cup, football rules must be followed everywhere. A successful save means the goalkeeper managed to stop the opponent's attempt to score. Statistics, such as save percentage and saves against shots at different heights, provide a measure of a goalkeeper's effectiveness.

Goalkeeper saves are crucial for the outcome of a match and can make the difference between victory and defeat. They vary according to the situation and technique used by the goalkeeper. Basic types of successful saves include:


  • Catching: The goalkeeper attempts to catch the ball with their hands at the safest moment, such as when shots are aimed low.
  • Punching: If the ball is heading high or towards the top part of the goal, the goalkeeper may punch it away with their fists.
  • Body blocking: This can involve jumping on the ball or deflecting it off the body to prevent it from crossing the goal line.
  • Reflex saves: These are quick reactions to close-range shots or deflections off defenders. Here, the goalkeeper relies mainly on their lightning instincts and reflexes.
  • Save with feet or head: For balls flying low or, conversely, very high, the goalkeeper may deflect with their feet or head.

Do you know the 7 best goalkeepers in the world?

The list of the best football goalkeepers can change depending on current performance and the season. Nevertheless, there are some goalkeepers who are rightly considered among the best:

  • Lev Ivanovich Yashin: The Black Panther, the Spider, the Octopus. A legendary Soviet goalkeeper, widely regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers in football history. Throughout his career, he saved 150 penalty kicks and kept a clean sheet in 270 matches, which is 65% of all the games he played.
  • Gordon Banks: An incredibly agile English goalkeeper, famous for his save against Pelé during the 1970 World Cup. Many still consider it the "save of the century." In 1970, he was also awarded the Order of the British Empire.
  • Dino Zoff: One of the most successful captains of the Italian national team. A goalkeeper par excellence, who matured like fine Italian wine. If you want to know more about him, read our article "The Greatest Goalkeepers in History - Dino Zoff."
  • Peter Schmeichel: The Great Dane had a brilliant record in European Championships and played a key role for both the Danish national team and Manchester United. Most of us remember him primarily from Denmark's victorious campaign at the 1992 European Championship. However, the Schmeichel surname continues to thrive in the football world as he passed on his goalkeeping gloves to his son, Kasper.
  • Oliver Kahn: Tough, tenacious, charismatic - simply "King Kahn" or "The Titan." The German powerhouse between the posts also has countless successes to his name. He won the Bundesliga 8 times, the German Cup 6 times, the Champions League once, and was named German Footballer of the Year twice.
  • Iker Casillas: His name is associated with the greatest successes of Spanish football. He spent most of his career at Real Madrid, where he first donned the jersey at the age of 9. "San Iker" was the king of magnificent saves, with outstanding agility, quick reflexes, and excellent concentration.
  • Gianluigi Buffon: With 176 appearances for the Italian national team, Gigi is also a phenomenal goalkeeper. He has played more than 1100 matches at the professional level and set a historic record in Serie A with Juventus.

We know, we know. We're missing a lot of other legends – like Manuel Neuer, Alisson Becker, Jan Oblak, Edwin Van der Sar, David de Gea, Hugo Lloris, Thibaut Courtois, Édouard Mendy, Mike Maignan, or Ederson. We'll focus on them maybe next time.

And who are the best goalkeepers in our lands and fields?

The first one that comes to mind is surely the record holder for the most matches in the Premier League with a clean sheet. Petr Čech is only the second goalkeeper in the English Premier League Hall of Fame and doesn't rule out a return to the field.

But besides him, the Czech Republic can boast a nice lineup of other goalkeeping talents, such as Tomáš Vaclík, Aleš Mandous, Jiří Pavlenka, Ondřej Kolář, or Tomáš Koubek.

And we must not forget one of the greatest goalkeepers of the pre-war era, undoubtedly František Plánička. Moreover, he even played with bare hands because goalkeeper gloves didn't make it onto the field until the early 1970s.

5 TOP goalkeepers who not only catch goals but also score them

Even though goalkeepers are known more for their ability to prevent goals, some of them have become heroes by scoring themselves. Let's remember the goalkeepers who became famous for scoring particularly significant goals or scored most frequently.

  • Rogério Ceni: Let's start off strong. The Brazilian football goalkeeper didn't just accidentally score goals from direct or penalty kicks, but regularly. He has more than 130 goals to his name.
  • José Luis Chilavert: The second record holder is the Paraguayan goalkeeper known for his excellent kicking technique. During his career, he scored 8 goals for the national team.
  • René Higuita: El Loco, a legend, a Colombian football demon who was as unpredictable on the field as his hairstyle. He initiated attacks, played as an outfield player, and even stopped balls flying towards the goal with what's known as a "scorpion kick." If you haven't seen him in action yet, make sure to watch a recording of him.
  • Jimmy Glass: Yes, he's the English goalkeeper who, for example, scored the decisive goal in the last minute of the game, thus saving Carlisle United from relegation.
  • Hans-Jörg Butt: This German goalkeeper scored 27 goals in the Bundesliga, not only for Bayern but also for Leverkusen and Hamburg. He was also renowned for his excellent execution of direct free kicks.

re there a few more names missing? Definitely. For example, Alisson Becker, Asmir Begović, or Jorge Campos. It seems that there are quite a few goalkeepers who are not only known for their ability to defend but also for scoring.

Did you know that a football goalkeeper should be at least 185 cm tall? They then have an advantage in dealing with crosses into the penalty area and shots towards the top half of the goal.


So, what is the impact of the goalkeeper on the team's result?

For a goalkeeper, it usually all begins and ends. Various analyses, research, and studies suggest that the goalkeeper is one of the most crucial players in the entire team. However, their influence on the outcome of matches is often underestimated. Yet, a great goalkeeper can make key saves that keep the team in the game or even decide the team's victory. History is full of examples where goalkeepers influenced the result, sometimes even in the final minutes.

Those who remember might recall Gordon Banks at the 1970 World Cup, where he saved Pelé's shot in a match against Brazil. From more recent history, we can mention Oliver Kahn at the 2002 World Cup or Tim Howard at the 2014 World Cup. These examples prove that goalkeepers can significantly impact the outcome of a game. Their saves, communication, and ability to keep the team in the game in crucial moments are factors that often determine victory, draw, or defeat.

A goalkeeper is not only the guardian of the goal but also the strategic brain of the team. Their ability to lead the defense, give instructions, and maintain calm in crisis situations is invaluable. It is often said that the goalkeeper position is the most mentally demanding. And it's also a bit of a thankless position because, as Iker Casillas said, "It doesn't matter how many shots you save; people will always remember what you don't catch."


Prev Post
Next Post

Thanks for subscribing!

This email has been registered!

Shop the look

Choose Options

Edit Option
Back In Stock Notification
is added to your shopping cart.
Terms & Conditions
this is just a warning