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Courtois in Qatar 2022: The reasons that confirm that he is the best goalkeeper in the world

“You win the League, you win the Champions League, your team wins thanks to your saves (saves)… and you only finish seventh”attacked the Ballon d’Or in October, Thibaut Courtois. The Belgian, champion of everything with Real Madrid last season, had set a record for saves to win the fourteenth ‘Orejona’ for the whites. Karim Benzema led the historic comeback tournament and Vinicius scored the title goal against Liverpool, but the goalkeeper was as important as both. If not, ask Mo Salah or Sadio Mané.

With that discomfort of having been practically a superhero and being reduced to nothing in the Ballon d’Or award ceremony -he was seventh- that his friend Benzema won, Thibaut arrived in Qatar together with Belgium. The World Cup, then, should be the perfect excuse for him to confirm that he is the best goalkeeper on the planet -he won the ‘Lev Yashin’ trophy for a reason- and put, once again, on the debate table the discussion of why a goalkeeper can not be the best footballer. Saves are not counted on the scoreboard, but are worth the same as goals.

This Wednesday, Belgium made its debut in Qatar 2022 against Canada, the North American team that returned to a World Cup event after 36 long years. His red and white colors are not the only coincidences with Peru, but also the amount of time he had to wait to attend a World Cup. And, well, a missed penalty in the debut.

Just ten minutes into the match, the main referee Janny Sikazwe, after consulting the VAR, called a penalty in favor of the Canadians for a handball by Yannick Carrasco inside the area. Alphonso Davies, left back for Bayern Munich, took the ball and put the ball into the white point of the area. He took a few steps back, waited for the Zambian judge’s whistle and fired at Thibaut’s left post.

What follows is everyday for the Belgian. One more day at the office. The two-meter archer – archer – took a few jumps on the goal line, stretched out his arms becoming a giant, guessed the destination of the shot and saved. He and his teammates celebrated like a goal, and it was not for less. Belgium was shaken off Canada’s first big attempt to get on top.

As usually happens in football, a penalty can define a match. If you write it down, you gain confidence. If they save you, you give everything to the other team. And so it happened. Belgium made it 1-0 with a goal from Batshuayi at minute 44s, just moments before both teams go to rest. The only goal with which they won.

, according to the statistician Mister Chip. Jean-Marie Pfaff saved one in a shootout against Spain in 1986.

Belgium and the last chance of its golden generation

With names like Thibaut Courtois (30 years old), Eden Hazard (31) and Kevin de Bruyne (31), Belgium is facing its last chance to achieve something important with its golden generation. The objective is clear: to overcome third place in Russia 2018, although the dream is to go further: to become world champions.

those of Roberto Martinez, the Spanish coach who came to the bench of the Red Devils in 2016, have been at the top of the FIFA ranking for years and sounded in every major competition between the favorite teams. They have even been close to glory last World Cup.

In the last European Championship, Belgium was already the team with the highest average age and the defense, the most veteran line of Martínez’s eleven, has already lost one of its pillars: central defender Thomas Vermaelen, 36, has He hung up his boots and is now part of the national team’s technical team.

His companions in a rear of three, according to the drawing that Martínez usually uses, were Jan Vertonghen, 34, and Toby Alderweireld, 33. They’re also well over thirty, while several midfield regulars aren’t teenagers either: Thomas Meunier (30), Torghan Hazard (29), Yannick Carrasco (28) and Axel Witsel (33).

Despite everything, the Red Devils, who have entrusted Martínez not only with the technical direction of the first team but also with the preparation of future generations, have youngsters who give hope, such as the winger of the Rennes Jeremy Doku20-year-old, the Brugge midfielder Charles DeKetelaere21, or the side of Milan, Alexis Saelemaekers.

However, the Belgians will seek the top of the world in Qatar and for that they have already taken an important step by winning against Canada in the debut in group F that they share with Croatia and Morocco, two teams that tied early without goals.


Source: Elcomercio

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