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Who would be a goalkeeper?

By Paul Armstrong, CNN
Algeria's goalkeeper Fawzi Chouachi looks helplessly as Robert Koren's shot hits the back of the net.
Algeria's goalkeeper Fawzi Chouachi looks helplessly as Robert Koren's shot hits the back of the net.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Many players claim that official World Cup match ball is difficult to control
  • Makers Adidas say ball affected by altitude at some venues in South Africa
  • England's Robert Green is the most high-profile keeper to make a mistake so far
  • CNN takes a look at some notable goalkeeping blunders from past World Cups

(CNN) -- Goalkeeping howlers rather than glorious goals have dominated the first week of this year's World Cup, with everything from the flight of the specially-designed match ball to the altitude of some venues being blamed.

England's man between the sticks, Robert Green, hit the headlines first when he let a seemingly harmless shot from Clint Dempsey slip through his grasp and into the net during the 1-1 draw with the United States.

A day later, Slovenia captain Robert Koren's strike found the net after Algeria goalkeeper Faouzi Chaouchi made a clumsy attempt at parrying the ball away.

And North Korea's number one Ri Myong-Guk will still be working out how a ferocious shot-come-cross from Brazil's Maicon swerved behind him and into the net from an extremely tight angle, during Tuesday's 2-1 defeat in their opening match.

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Some players have claimed the official match ball, known as the "Jabulani," is difficult to control and unpredictable in the air, while maker Adidas says altitude is the main factor influencing the ball.

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But are we just looking for excuses to spare the blushes of the one person on the pitch whose mistakes are really noticed?

After all, goalkeeping blunders are nothing new when it comes to football's greatest show. Take a look at this little lot.

1. Germany's Oliver Kahn v Brazil, 2002

Kahn was arguably the world's best goalkeeper during the World Cup in Japan and South Korea, but he demonstrated his fallibility in the final.

The legendary Bayern Munich keeper failed to hold a shot from Rivaldo and spilled the ball at the feet of Ronaldo, who tucked it into the net.

Brazil went on to win 2-0 but Kahn was still named the player of the tournament. Take note Green, Chaouchi etc.

2. England's David Seaman v Brazil, 2002

Brazil were the beneficiaries of another apparent goalkeeping error at the quarterfinal stage of the same tournament, when a looping Ronaldinho free-kick from 45 yards out caught the pony-tailed Seaman off his line.

The England keeper appeared rooted to the spot as the ball floated over him and into the top corner, sending England crashing out of the competition.

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3. Republic of Ireland's Pat Bonner v The Netherlands, 1994

After qualifying from a tough group at the 1994 World Cup in the United States, Jack Charlton's Ireland faced the Dutch in the second round. The Irish went 1-0 down after only 11 minutes when a poor pass back from Terry Phelan allowed Dennis Bergkamp to intercept and score.

Worse was to come for Ireland when Bonner let a 25-yard drive from Wim Jonk slip through his gloves and into the net to seal a 2-0 defeat.

Rene Higuita demonstrates his famous "scorpion kick," though his erratic behaviour cost him in 1990.
Rene Higuita demonstrates his famous "scorpion kick," though his erratic behaviour cost him in 1990.

4. Colombia's Rene Higuita v Cameroon, 1990

The eccentric Colombian shot-stopper -- famous for his "scorpion kick" where he jumps forward with his legs above his head and kicks the ball with his heels -- was one of football's great characters and known for taking risks on the pitch.

This would often involve trying to dribble the ball around opposing attackers. But this fearless approach would cost him during Colombia's second-round clash with Cameroon in Italy in 1990.

With both sides goalless heading towards the end of extra-time, Higuita received a pass-back close to the halfway line and attempted to dribble the ball around the onrushing Roger Milla. But the veteran striker dispossessed the hapless keeper and rolled the ball into an empty goal.

5. West Germany's Harald Schumacher v Argentina, 1986

The legendary German is actually more famous for a controversial moment at the World Cup in Spain four years earlier, when he seriously injured Frenchman Patrick Battiston as he attempted to clear the ball.

Fast forward to Mexico '86 and Schumacher was in goal once again as his side faced Diego Maradona's Argentina in the final. Twenty minutes into the match, Jorge Burruchaga sent in a free-kick from the right which Schumacher completely mis-read as he ran out to intercept the ball.

Defender Jose Luis Brown was left with a simple header to put Argentina ahead in a thrilling match they went on to win 3-2.

Can you think of any other World Cup moments to forget for the goalkeepers' union?

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