Ten lessons for Singapore from the 2014 World Cup
1. Sweeper 'Keepers
It’s not enough for modern goalkeepers to just be good with their hands these days and this was displayed clearly in Brazil.
The World Cup saw a definite swing towards three man defensive units from the likes of Chile and Holland, which puts extra emphasis on the goalkeeper to be a fourth option in the defensive third to maintain possession. But to do that successfully the 'keeper needs to be comfortable receiving and passing the ball often with just two touches like outfield players.
Teams playing a more traditional back four such as Germany and France rely on their goalkeepers Neuer and Lloris to act as a 11th outfield player and “sweep” behind the back four allowing the defence to push much higher up the field knowing their custodian will be alert to the ball played into the space behind. This means that not only has the 'keeper got to be handy with his feet, he may be called to make the odd challenge outside the box as we saw regularly from Manuel Neuer.
The stakes are high though as a poorly timed tackle could easily result in a red card. Interestingly, German coach Joachim Low confirmed that Neuer often takes part in training sessions as an outfield player to hone his skills with his feet - proving that this is a tactic that can be planned for and trained.