EURO 2024: A Goalkeeping Tournament

At Euro 2020, reigning champions Italy’s goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma was crowned the Best Player of the Tournament. Euro 2024 has been a thrilling tournament so far. Among the players taking the spotlight are the goalkeepers, many with game-winning moments. This time around, we may see another goalkeeper earn the Best Player of the tournament award.

Diogo Costa – Portugal

Portugal did not been perform all too well at the tournament. They have been unable to convert opportunities into goals, despite having a star-studded attacking line – Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes, Bernardo Silva and Rafael Leão.

When a team’s attacking form is shaky, a strong backline or a high-performing goalkeeper can be key to a team’s success. Diogo Costa has been exactly that.

In their round of 16 fixture, Portugal faced Slovenia. With 20 attempts at goal for Portugal, only six were on target, whilst none got in. The game went on to extra time goalless and went into a penalty shootout goalless.

When the pressure was on the goalkeepers as well as the penalty-takers, it was Diogo Costa who came out with a jaw-dropping performance. With the weight of the nation on his shoulder, Costa did not let anything past him during extra time, or the penalty shootout.

The 24-year-old saved all three penalties in the penalty shootout and became the first goalkeeper in European Championship history to do so. He also became the first not to concede in a penalty shootout. With Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva scoring their penalties for their nation, Portugal went through to the quarterfinals, 3-0 on penalties. It was an outstanding performance from Diogo Costa.

The Portuguese goalkeeper has previously been linked to Premier League clubs, with Chelsea showing interest in him back in November of 2023. As Manchester United were looking for David de Gea replacements ahead of the 2023/24 season, Costa was considered before the club eventually settled on André Onana.

Diogo Costa has grabbed the world’s attention and may leaving Porto this summer should other clubs make a move. He has a £65m release clause in the contract. However, after Costa’s Euro 2024 performances, he might become more expensive, especially if multiple clubs join the race. Premier League clubs that may show interest include Chelsea, Newcastle United, Wolves, and even Manchester City.

Giorgi Mamardashvili – Georgia

Georgia was one of the most exciting teams to watch at the tournament. Although they did not make it through to the quarterfinals after their RO16 4-1 loss to Spain, they made their mark at the tournament.

In that game against Spain, who have been the strongest team thus far, Georgia was able to match up to them. Giorgi Mamardashvili may have not won the Man of the Match award, but deserved it as much as Spain’s Rodri, if not more. With Spain’s 13 shots on target, Mamardashvili made many saves throughout the game. If it was not for his performance, Spain would have scored more goals.

Mamardashvili has made the most saves of the tournament, with 29. Even more shockingly, Georgia faced 160 attempts on goal, but only conceded eight times. This was not thanks to Georgia’s defensive stance, but rather to Mamardashvili’s dominant presence in goal. Incredibly, he made 29 stops in the four games he played, many of them astonishing.

Naturally, he will receive attention during this transfer window. Newcastle had already allegedly made an offer to Valencia for Mamardashvili, but it was rejected. However, the Magpies are expected to make a second bid. Liverpool who may lose Alisson Becker to the Saudi Pro League may also show interest, and compete with Newcastle for the Georgian goalkeeper.

Mert Günok – Türkiye

Mert Günok’s save against Austria in the dying minutes of the RO16 fixture has been praised as the best save of the tournament so far.

In the final stint of the game, Austria were 2-1 behind, desperate to find an equalizer to give them a chance to fight for a spot in the quarterfinals. Austria were constantly on the counter, trying to penetrate through Türkiye’s defence. Mert Günok was constantly under pressure, but he did not relent.

During stoppage time, Austria’s Christoph Baumgartner attempted a header from close range, the whole stadium on their toes. Also on his toes was Mert Günok who leapt to save the attempt in the dying minutes of the game. By doing so, he had secured Türkiye a spot in the quarterfinals, where they ultimately fell to the Netherlands, despite going 1-0 up.

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