The goalkeeper position is the most unfair in football, as goalies can do everything well and be the best in the world at some point, but most of the time when they make a single mistake, that’s the end for some of them. This happens a lot and it will continue to happen, but there are some mistakes worse than others.
It’s not the same failing to catch a ball during the first matchday of the season than in the final of a tournament. These errors have costed teams titles, sometimes against rivals that didn’t look dangerous on paper but took advantage of specific mistakes that earned goalies a lot of hate. We have seen plenty of these cases throughout history, but some of them have been more memorable than others.
Here are the 10 worst goalkeepers mistakes in definition games.
Honorable Mention: Felix vs. Italy (1970 FIFA World Cup)
10. Toni vs. Espanyol (2000 Copa del Rey)
After successfully stop a cross attempt, the keeper was ready to pass the ball to his teammates; little he knew that Raul Tamudo was on the hunt and when he saw his chance, didn’t hesitate to take it, stealing the ball from Toni and scoring an early goal that made the difference in the final outcome of the game. Espanyol ended up winning the game by 2-1 and that goal played a major role.
9. Oscar Cordoba vs. River Plate (1996 Copa Libertadores)
Colombian national side legend Oscar Cordoba had poor participation in the second leg that helped River Plate get the W and the title. The series was tied after Hernan Crespo’s goal at the 6th minute of the encounter when Cordoba left his area in order to clear the ball with his left leg; instead of sending the ball to the stands, he passed it to River’s Escudero, who then passed the ball to Crespo and the latter made River South American Champion once again.
8. Oliver Kahn vs. Brazil (2002 FIFA World Cup)
However, when the big game arrived, Oliver choked and costed his team the right to win its fourth World Cup title. Past the hour of the game, Rivaldo sent a non-powerful shot that Kahn incredibly couldn’t handle; Ronaldo Nazario was there to catch the rebound and netted the ball to give Brazil a lead they never lost. That day Germany lost by 2-0 after Ronaldo scored a second goal, but Kahn had nothing to do against that one.
7. Harald Schumacher vs. Argentina (1986 FIFA World Cup)
First, Argentina took the lead when Schumacher missed a free kick from the right, allowing Jose Luis Brown to head home. Later on, the Teutons were drawing the game 2-2, when Schumacher again failed to try to protect his goal; he didn’t act as fast as necessary and Jorge Burruchaga netted the winner following Diego Maradona’s pass.
6. Carlos Trucco and Claudio Taffarel (1997 Copa America)
First, Trucco couldn’t manage a free kick by Roberto Carlos, where Edmundo took advantage and scored the first goal of the match. Later on, Taffarel would go to do something similar by not being able to control Erwin Sanchez’s shot that didn’t look too dangerous. In the end, the Green and Yellow won the game thanks to a 3-1 outcome, but the biggest headline of the match were these two keepers.
5. David Seaman vs. Real Zaragoza (1995 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup)
The reason we’re talking about Seaman here is his participation in the 1995 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup when Arsenal was taking on Real Zaragoza. A hard-fought match between English and Spaniards was decided by a halfway-line goal from former Tottenham player ‘Nayim’, who took his shot and sailed it over Seaman’s head in the last minute of extra-time.
Zaragoza won the game 2-1 at Parc des Prince, creating one of the most shocking moments in the history of the defunct tournament.
4. Moacir Barbosa Nascimento vs. Uruguay (1950 FIFA World Cup)
Barbosa was recently voted as the best goalie of the 1950 FIFA World Cup and one of the best of his generations. However, a simple mistake made become one of the most hated players in the Little Canary’s history.
Brazil only needed a draw to win the WC, and they were doing exactly that in front of Uruguay, but when the clock was ticking and Brazil was getting closer to lift the trophy, Alcides Ghiggia run through the right flank of the pitch and when he was nearly Barbosa’s area, the goalie thought he was going to make a cross, but shot low towards the near post instead, beating Barbosa and giving Uruguay the 2-1 victory that made the Sky Blue World Champions for the second time in history.
3. Luis Arconada vs. France (1984 UEFA Euro)
French legend Michel Platini took a free kick that didn’t look too dangerous; it was a smooth shot more than anything. Arconada easily caught it in the first place, but when people thought the play was over, the ball slipped off his hands and went through the net. That was the first goal of the two France scored that day to win the Eurocup.
2. Viliam Schrojf vs. Brazil (1962 FIFA World Cup)
Viliam came up with two mistakes that made his side lost the 1-0 advantage they had and the chance to become World Champions. First, he left his near post open, leaving the way clear for Amarildo to equalize. Later, with Brazil winning by 2-1, Schrojf mightily miscalculated a high ball into the box and Vava didn’t miss the chance from a few yards out.
1. Loris Karius vs. Real Madrid (2017/18 UEFA Champions League)
The German goalie was responsible for the first and third goal Los Blancos scored; first, he intended to pass the ball to his teammates with his hands and even knowing Karim Benzema was standing right in front of him, he decided to let the ball go and the Cat just had to interpose his leg to push the ball to the net. Later, when the game was ending, a shot by Gareth Bale looked very manageable for Karius, but he stumped and incredibly let the ball go to put the definite scoreboard. Madrid won by 3-1 and Karius had one of the worst nights of his life.