Tim Howard during the Round of 16 match between Belgium and the USA.
The 2014 World Cup has had its share of bad refereeing calls — but none so outrageous for U.S. fans as FIFA's decision Friday to not make goalkeeper Tim Howard a finalist for its "Golden Glove" award, given to the greatest keeper at the tournament.
Howard made 15 saves during the USA v Belgium match, a new World Cup record. In case you've forgotten, let us jog your memory with all those saves in a single GIF:
Or if you prefer, below is a video of Howard's saves one by one. Even to a neutral observer, it seems pretty clear that the 2-1 scoreline could easily have ended up more like Germany's 7-1 drubbing of Brazil without Howard in control of the penalty area — not just making those saves, but masterfully commanding his back four:
Also snubbed by the FIFA award was Guillermo Ochoa, the heroic Mexican keeper who almost singlehandedly held Brazil to a 0-0 draw (and that was back when Brazil was good).
So who made it to the finals of the Golden Glove contest? Costa Rica’s Keylor Navas, Germany’s Manuel Neuer and Argentina’s Sergio Romero. Navas and Neuer are undoubtedly two of the best keepers in the tournament, although Neuer has hardly needed to flex a muscle in the tournament so far, thanks to 10 stellar German teammates.
Germany’s goalie right now pic.twitter.com/JklQXVjz27— Seth Fiegerman (@sfiegerman) 8 Juillet 2014
But you'll get pretty universal agreement among non-Argentine soccer fans that Romero is no great shakes as a keeper — not bad, but certainly not in the top 3 at this World Cup.
All three of those keepers' teams made it to the Quarter Finals, so you might suspect there's some rule about only selecting keepers from the final 8 teams. But FIFA also stated Friday there's no strict criteria for judging the Golden Glove.
The Golden Glove winner will step up to claim his award right after the World Cup final this Sunday.
Tags: ENTERTAINMENT, SPORTS, TIM HOWARD, World Cup