SWEEPER KEEPER

Football or what they like called in the US as soccer is a game where basically 11 players from both sides will attack the each other to win the game by scoring more goal than the opponent. Since football had started they are a revolution, changes, positional change for the players, referee shirt changes and much more had been implemented. In the formation wise at the beginning in 18th centuries most of the team will like to play an ultra-attacking formation for today standards such as the 2-3-5 called also as a Pyramid formation, 2-3-2-3 formation, 3-3-4 formation, WM formation, WW formation and many more ultra-attacking formations. The thing had changed with Helenio Herrera making famous the defensive formation called as Catenaccio with the Inter Milan in 50’s that called as “La Grande Inter” where the sole purpose to defend the lead and caught the opponent in a counter attack. In this era, this formation will be called as “Parking the Bus” the term that was made by Jose Mourinho.

When coming to the player position they are several revolutionary changes such as the attacking full-back who need to provide the width or involve in the attack depends on the formation and also need to provide the defensive cover in the right or left-hand side of the defense. In the friendly game against England in 1953 the Hungarian Magical Magyar team had created a new style that become the basis for the Holland Total Football where player shifting the position effectively and also the world had witnessed world first false number 9 in the form of Nándor Hidegkuti whom roaming around the midfielder and striker to draw the England defender and giving an ample of space for their centre-forward Ferenc Puskas to give England a footballing lesson by giving a thrashing with the score line of 6-3 and this is England biggest loss ever in their football history.

But in this game, they are another revolution made by the Hungary goalkeeper Gyula Grosics whom acting like a center back when needed and also coming out from his penalty area to clear any loose ball and coming out from his penalty area quickly to deny the opponent from scoring a goal. This is the start of the Sweeper Keeper role. The Holland in 1974 who had played a Total Football style that mesmerized the opponent to become one the greatest football team that never won the World Cup had this type of keeper on their team named as Jan Jongbloed although this decision to remain a controversial decision as the Dutch finest goalkeeper Jan van Beveren during that time was not selected. Jan Jongbloed is a goalkeeper that can play as the extra defender when needed and Jan van Beveren is more of a traditional style goalkeeper.

 

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The First Sweeper Keeper Gyula Grosics

Rene Higuita from Colombia had tried to become the Sweeper Keeper but unfortunately his eccentric behaviour where he likes to dribble the opponent outside his penalty area was the downfall of Colombia in 1990 World Cup second round where he was disposed when tried to dribble in middle against Cameroon that had led Roger Milla to score the winning goal and led to elimination of Colombia from the World Cup.

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Rene Higuita disposed by Cameroon player in the World Cup 1990 second round

The role of Sweeper Keeper was introduced again by Pep Guardiola during his legendary run with Barcelona team via Victor Valdez where Valdez can act as a defender when needed and he his very good with his feet. But the role had come to prominence again in the 2014 World Cup thanks to the German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer in the second round game against Algeria. Neuer had  come out from his penalty area to challenge the Algerian player to deny them a scoring chance and kicking out any lost ball from the defender in a quick manner. But unlike Rene Higuita, Neuer was more efficient and zero disasters prone for now when he doing this.

When Guardiola manages Bayern Munich , Neuer had improved his ability where he will act as a defender to receive a pass from his teammates and passing the ball intelligently to his teammates. And now Guardiola is managing Manchester City and one of the first thing he did was to sell Joe Hart to Torino on loan and selecting Claudio Bravo to implement his style of the goalkeeper in the Premier League and so far it had been effective.

So in the future can we see more Sweeper Keeper instead of the traditional GoalKeeper in football games. To play this role the keeper must be quick, good with his feet, perfect timing and also have a great character. This is the reason why we don’t see many goalkeepers performing this feat efficiently and they are less Sweeper Keeper but fortunately, Pep Guardiola is the one whom still keen on this type of keeper.

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Pep Guardiola loves the Sweeper Keeper

If the keeper had made a severe mistake then the opponent will have an easy chance to score a goal like what happen for Rene Higuita in the second round of the 1990 World Cup. But the keeper who had been trained in this method will be able to maintain this feat. When Victor Valdes was pressured to a mistake against Real Madrid in the La Liga ,he still playing the some way without any drop in his confidence and even when Claudio Bravo had made a similar mistake that had led Manchester United to score a goal it does not shatter his confidence to play some way by being an extra defender in the Premier League.

If the keeper is quick and has perfect timing then he can deny the opponent from having a clear-cut chance to score a goal like Manuel Neuer did against Algeria where he played this role to near perfection and in the end stopping the Algerian player to score a goal against him. Since this role required a high skill , they are less keeper whom can perform this feat and even many managers does not prefer this type of keeper as this is risky and eventually more than happy with the traditional style of the goalkeeper.

At the end, this type of goalkeeper is something that is rare and they skill and mental strength needs to appreciate.

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