SHANGHAI, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 30: Nadine Angerer (R) of Germany dives to save the penalty of Marta (L) of Brazil during the Women's World Cup 2007 Final match between Brazil and Germany at the Shanghai Hongkou Football Stadium September 30, 2007 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Getty Images)

FIFAWWC Countdown: Day 49 - Top Five Goalkeepers

Marching steadily towards Day 49 of Edge of the Crowd's epic 70-day lead-up to the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup, we've decided it's an apt moment to delve into the treasure trove of unforgettable episodes that have defined the history of the Women's World Cup. Today, we spotlight the five brick walls that have protected the goals at a level higher than any other.

Hope Solo (USA)

Without a doubt, Hope Solo stands as one of the greatest goalkeepers in the history of women’s soccer. A vital part of the US team throughout the 2000s and 2010s, Solo’s unparalleled skill and leadership helped guide the team to new heights. She boasts two Olympic gold medals (2008 and 2012) and was integral in their Women's World Cup victory in 2015. She holds the USA record for the most career clean sheets, a testament to her consistent and dominant performances. Her acrobatic saves, commanding presence in the penalty box, and ability to marshal the defence set new benchmarks for goalkeeping in women’s soccer. She redefined the role, blending athleticism, technical prowess, and tactical intelligence in a way that has left a lasting legacy.

Nadine Angerer (Germany)

Angerer’s goalkeeping brilliance was a cornerstone of Germany’s football successes in the early 21st century. She played a crucial role in Germany’s back-to-back World Cup victories in 2003 and 2007. Her performance in the 2007 World Cup was particularly remarkable, as she did not concede a single goal throughout the tournament, a unique achievement in World Cup history. Angerer’s skill was recognised globally in 2013 when she won the FIFA World Player of the Year award, becoming the first goalkeeper - male or female - to receive this honour. Her disciplined positioning, exceptional shot-stopping abilities, and excellent decision-making set her apart as one of the all-time best.

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Bente Nordby (Norway)

As a dominant force on the pitch, Bente Nordby was a crucial element of Norway’s golden era in women’s soccer. Nordby was in goal when Norway won the Women's World Cup in 1995 and she continued to be a consistent, reassuring presence for the team throughout the late 90s and early 2000s. Known for her lightning-quick reflexes, outstanding positional awareness, and courageous dives, she emerged as one of the best goalkeepers of her generation. Nordby’s fearlessness and commanding presence in goal have undoubtedly left an indelible mark on the game.

Precious Dede (Nigeria)

Precious Dede’s contribution to African women’s football is beyond measure. She is one of the continent’s greatest-ever goalkeepers, featuring in four Women's World Cup tournaments from 2003 to 2015. Her standout performance came in the 2004 Olympics where she was instrumental in Nigeria’s impressive run to the quarterfinals. Dede was renowned for her extraordinary shot-stopping ability, agility, and calm composure under pressure. These qualities, combined with her leadership skills on and off the pitch, have made her an iconic figure in African football.

Sarah Bouhaddi (France)

Since the mid-2000s, Sarah Bouhaddi has been a steadfast and reliable presence in goal for France. Despite the Women's World Cup title eluding the French team, Bouhaddi’s performances have always been a high point. She is best known for her agility, quick reflexes, and ability to make breathtaking, acrobatic saves. Her consistency is also evident in her club career, where she has been instrumental in Olympique Lyon’s multiple UEFA Women’s Champions League victories. Bouhaddi’s dynamic goalkeeping style and her aptitude for making crucial saves in high-pressure situations make her one of the finest goalkeepers in women’s football.

These goalkeepers have demonstrated exceptional skill, resilience, and leadership throughout their careers. Their performances under intense global scrutiny have set the standard for the next generation and secured their place in the annals of FIFA Women’s World Cup history.

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