The goalkeeper position is the most specialised of all positions on the field. Unlike other players, goalkeepers may touch the ball with any part of their body while in their own penalty area. Outside of their penalty area, goalkeepers have the same restrictions as other field players. They are also “protected” from active interference by opponents within their own goal area, an action punishable by fouling.
Perhaps the most spectacular move a goalkeeper routinely performs is the extension dive. To execute this maneuver properly, the athlete pushes off the ground with the foot nearest to the ball, launching himself into a horizontal position. After making the catch, the goalkeeper brings the ball to the ground before his body, so as to cushion his landing and avoid injury.
The tactical responsibilities of goalkeepers include:
- To keep goal by physically blocking attempted shots with any part of their body. The keeper is permitted to play the ball anywhere on the field, but he may not handle the ball outside the penalty area.
- To take free kicks from deep into their own territory and goal kicks.
- To organise the team’s defenders during defensive set pieces such as free kicks and corners. In the case of free kicks, this includes picking the numbers and the organisation of a defensive man wall. The ‘wall’ serves to provide a physical obstruction for the incoming ball. Occasionally, goalkeepers may opt to dispense with the wall. Some goalkeepers are also entrusted with the responsibility of picking markers while defending at set pieces.
- To pick out crosses and attempted long passes either by punching them clear or collecting them in flight.
Although goalkeepers have special privileges under the laws of the game, they are otherwise subject to the same rules as any other player. Due to the increasing importance of crosses and set pieces that put the ball in the air, the goalkeeper is often the tallest member of the team, and most stand over 183 cm (6 feet) tall in professional competition, with many well-known keepers standing particularly tall at over 193 cm (6 feet, 4 inches).
Buffon / Van Der Sar / Dida / Cassilas / V.Valdes / Coupet / Zenga / Howard / Cech / Reina / Taffarel
Gilmar / Julio Cesar / Kahn / Higuita / Meola / Seaman / More will be added soon.