The 32 starting goalkeepers of the World Cup - ranked

Who's number one; Courtois or Allison?
Who's number one; Courtois or Allison? / DeFodi Images / Contributor / Masashi Hara / Contributor | Getty Images

From Rob Green’s howler against the United States to Gordon Banks' legendary leap to deny the great Pele, goalkeepers have provided some truly memorable moments throughout the history of the World Cup.

The life of a shot-stopper is not an uneventful one, and as we gear up to our first mid-season World Cup, we’re bound to be given some more amusing and awe-inspiring moments by the men wearing number one.

Who’d be a goalkeeper? Well, this lot; here are all 32 first-choice goalkeepers at the 2022 World Cup ranked.

32. Mohammed Al-Owais - Saudi Arabia

Mohammed Alowais
Will Al-Owais prove us wrong? / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

Someone has to be ranked last and, unfortunately, Saudi Arabia number one Mohammed Al-Owais claims it this time. 

The Al-Hilal goalkeeper has nailed down his nation's starting spot between the sticks over the past few years but is an out-of-favour figure in the Saudi Pro League these days.

31. Lawrence Ati-Zigi - Ghana

Ati-Zigi is Ghana's shot-stopper / CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/GettyImages

Ghana's three goalkeepers had 17 international caps between them heading into the 2022 World Cup. Lawrence Ati-Zigi boasts 11 of them and should start for the African outfit.

Playing his club football for St Gallen in Switzerland, Ati-Zigi featured in Ghana's most recent friendly and should get the nod in goal/

30. Alireza Beiranvand - Iran 

Alireza Beiranvand
Beiranvand controls a ball with his mind / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/GettyImages

Iran’s number one Alireza Beiranvand returned to the top tier of Iranian football this summer following a two-year venture into the European game consisting of lacklustre spells in Portugal and Belgium.

He goes into the World Cup as Iran’s most experienced goalkeeper by some distance, having moved past the 50-cap mark for his country in September’s internationals. 

29. Saad Al-Sheeb - Qatar

Al-Sheeb is Qatar's number one / KARIM JAAFAR/GettyImages

Hosts Qatar will be making their maiden World Cup finals appearance come the winter, a momentous occasion for the most experienced players in the squad - one of whom is Saad Al-Sheeb, who made his debut in 2009.

The 32-year-old plies his trade for Xavi’s former club Al-Saad SC, and heads into the World Cup with plenty of nous in international football - having led Qatar to the AFC Asian Cup in 2019, conceding just once in all seven games throughout the competition.

28. Kim Seung-gyu - South Korea

Kim Seung-Gyu
Kim has a good record at international level / Chung Sung-Jun/GettyImages

All South Korean eyes will be on the world-class Son Heung-min when the World Cup comes around, but they’ll have to rely upon a sturdy defence for his attacking exploits to mean anything.

Kim Seung-gyu looks reliable on paper, although he has only just started thoroughly enjoying life between the sticks following a move to Saudi Arabian football following largely mediocre spells in his native South Korea and then Japan.

27. Alexander Dominguez - Ecuador

Alexander Dominguez
Dominguez is in good form / Matthew Ashton - AMA/GettyImages

Ecuador are another country facing an uphill battle should they make anything of their appearance at these World Cup finals, coming into the competition as the fourth lowest-ranked nation. 

Alexander Dominguez, who plays for Quito in the Ecuadorian top flight, looks to be the one tasked with keeping the goals out and, having kept clean sheets in each of his last four international appearances, don’t bet against him just yet.

26. Aymen Dahmen - Tunisia

Aymen Dahmen
Dahmen is inexperienced at international level / Jonathan Moscrop/GettyImages

Aymen Dahmen is a newcomer on the international scene but is expected to take Tunisia's starting spot in goal.

He has consistently impressed in Tunisia’s top flight, but let’s see how he fares coming up against the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Karim Benzema and Christian Eriksen in Group D.

25. Matt Turner - United States

Matt Turner
Turner is at Arsenal / Brad Smith/ISI Photos/GettyImages

Despite having to play second fiddle to Aaron Ramsdale at Arsenal, Matt Turner seems to have claimed the number one spot for the USMNT.

The 28-year-old has kept five clean sheets in seven appearances for his country throughout 2022 and looks to have resisted competition from Zack Steffen.

24. Wayne Hennessey - Wales

Wayne Hennessey, Gareth Bale
Hennessey with a mate / Visionhaus/GettyImages

The fact Wayne Hennessey is keeping Leicester City’s first-choice goalkeeper out of Wales’ side probably says more about Danny Ward than it does about Hennessey, but there’s no doubting the 6’6 shot-stopper has earned his place in Rob Page’s side. 

His worth was proven during the Dragons’ play-off campaign as he pulled off numerous wonder saves against both Austria and Ukraine - he’ll have to be at it as his country make the step up to the big time for the first time since 1958.

23. Mathew Ryan - Australia

Mathew Ryan
Ryan is a key player for Australia / Matthew Ashton - AMA/GettyImages

The well-travelled Mat Ryan has played every minute of Australia’s previous two World Cup campaigns (both ending at the three-game mark) and will go into this one as his country’s captain. 

Now in Denmark with FC Copenhagen, the former Brighton and Arsenal man seems to have found his feet once more after previously being displaced by Spanish international Robert Sanchez on the south coast.

22. Daniel Schmidt - Japan

International Friendly"Japan v Ecuador"
Schmidt plays in Belgium / ANP/GettyImages

Having been in and out of the Japan side for a few years, Daniel Schmidt seems to have found a bit of stability after a good 2021/22 campaign. 

The 30-year-old managed 11 clean sheets in the Jupiler Pro League for a defensively sound Sint-Truiden outfit and goes into the World Cup having played both of his nation’s September internationals.

21. Dominik Livakovic - Croatia

Dominik Livakovic
Livakovic will look to make an impression / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/GettyImages

While still boasting great quality, Croatia look a different side to the one that claimed runner-up medals back in 2018, largely due to an ageing squad. 

Danijel Subasic patrolled the 18-yard box during that brilliant campaign up to the final in Russia, before being replaced as the first-choice goalkeeper by Dominik Livakovic.

Despite some unconvincing rotation between the sticks in recent times, the 27-year-old will likely be entrusted by Zlatko Dalic in Qatar.

20. Milan Borjan - Canada

Milan Borjan
Borjan is Canada's number one / Vaughn Ridley/GettyImages

Croatian-born Milan Borjan heads to Qatar with 65 Canadian caps to his name.

With young stars like Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David bound to hog the admiration of young fans, Milan Borjan - who has achieved double figures for clean sheets in Serbia’s top flight in each of his last five seasons with Red Star Belgrade - has been part of the spine that has allowed those names to thrive.

19. Remko Pasveer - Netherlands

Remko Pasveer
Pasveer is a late bloomer / Soccrates Images/GettyImages

Who said it’s ever too late to play international football? Certainly not Remko Pasveer.

The Ajax goalkeeper earned his first call-up to Die Oranje in 2022 and made his first two international appearances at the age of 38 years and ten months in the process. With a strong start to the domestic season for Ajax behind him, the veteran looks set to retain his spot in November.

18. Vanja Milinkovic-Savic - Serbia

Vanja Milinkovic-Savic
Football runs in Milinkovic-Savic's family / Srdjan Stevanovic/GettyImages

Younger brother to Lazio midfielder Sergej, Vanja Milinkovic-Savic is Torino’s first-choice shot-stopper and has laid claim to Serbia’s starting spot since the beginning of 2022. 

Having started four matches during his country’s Nations League campaign throughout the year and been a large part of their impressive form, the 25-year-old can expect to feature heavily in Group G.

17. Sergio Rochet - Uruguay

Sergio Rochet
Rochet recently made his international debut / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

Two-time winners Uruguay will put out one of the most exciting sides they’ve had in a long time in Qatar.

Powerhouses Federico Valverde and Rodrigo Bentancur will patrol behind a forward line of Luis Suarez and Darwin Nunez, promising some fireworks and fearsome football in midfield and attack, while Sergio Rochet’s six clean sheets in his eight Uruguayan caps suggest a complementary resilience at the back. 

The Nacional goalkeeper made his debut in January and has been a stalwart ever since, courtesy of some impressive displays between the sticks.

16. Guillermo Ochoa - Mexico

Guillermo Ochoa
Get ready for some more Ochoa heroics / Hector Vivas/GettyImages

What would a World Cup be with Mexico’s Guillermo Ochoa? Almost not worth watching.

The 37-year-old is in line to be selected for Mexico’s squad for a fifth consecutive World Cup, having had a feverish impact in the last two editions of the competition. While maybe not the same brilliant cat-like goalkeeper we’ve previously seen, there’s no doubting Ochoa’s trademark charisma and leadership. 

15. Kasper Schmeichel - Denmark

Kasper Schmeichel
Schmeichel is a leader for Denmark / Jean Catuffe/GettyImages

While Leicester were far from secure at the back last season, Brendan Rodgers’ side’s largely calamitous start to the 2022/23 campaign demonstrated just how massive Kasper Schmeichel was for them. 

The former Leeds stopper is a colossal presence between the sticks, fending off opposition in typical Schmeichel fashion, and will skipper a Denmark side that should definitely not be overlooked this winter. 

14. Wojciech Szczesny - Poland

Wojciech Szczesny
Szczesny's stock has fallen / Visionhaus/GettyImages

There’s no doubt that Poland’s Wojciech Szczesny has developed into a fantastic goalkeeper - it’s just the continued penchant for a blunderous moment that keeps him from reaching the top.

Even so, he’s Poland’s best shot-stopper and will certainly feature at a fifth major tournament for his nation.

13. Bono - Morocco

Yassine Bounou
Bono has impressed at Sevilla / Fran Santiago/GettyImages

No, it’s not the U2 frontman, it’s Sevilla and Morocco number one Yassine Bounou - better known, like a pretty well-known Irishman, as Bono.

He’s had a very rocky start to the season with a seemingly despondent Sevilla, but that doesn’t take away from the quality he’s consistently shown between the sticks in recent seasons.

12. Andre Onana - Cameroon

Onana has had a tough few years / Visionhaus/GettyImages

The past couple of years have been far from simple for Andre Onana but, despite some hefty turbulence, Cameroon’s number one seems to be flying again.

His continued form for Dutch champions Ajax - where he won three Eredivisie titles and kept 60 league clean sheets over five seasons - saw him earn a move to Inter, where he is incessantly pushing the very much-established Samir Handanovic courtesy of some impressive Champions League showings.

11. Yann Sommer - Switzerland

Yann Sommer
Sommer had an impressive Euro 2020 / Eric Alonso/GettyImages

He may be part of a Bundesliga side that generally concedes a stack load of goals, but there’s a reason why Borussia Monchengladbach continuously rely upon Yann Sommer.

The 33-year-old is simply a brilliant goalkeeper, boasting the ability to make excellent saves that put hands on heads in the stands. Sommer showcased his quality during Switzerland’s run at Euro 2020 and enjoyed a stellar World Cup qualification campaign, keeping six clean sheets as the Swiss won five and drew three to top Group C ahead of Italy.

10. Unai Simon - Spain

Unai Simon
Simon plays his club football for Athletic Club / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

It’s little surprise to see Athletic Club’s Unai Simon consistently claiming the title of Spain’s primary shot-stopper these days. 

Epitomising his club’s staunch rearguard, the Basque goalkeeper has maintained his form and started the 2022/23 La Liga campaign keeping goals out for fun, and will surely be favoured ahead of Luis Enrique’s many other goalkeeping options for that number one role.

9. Diogo Costa - Portugal

Diogo Costa
Costa is Portugal's new number one / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

Portugal boss Fernando Santos has a few goalkeeping options to pick from; gone are the days of Rui Patricio automatically donning the gloves. The likes of Rui Silva, Jose Sa and Diogo Costa are all pushing for that starting role for their nation and, for the moment, the latter seems to be succeeding. 

Costa is only 23 years of age but has hugely impressed since breaking through into the Porto senior side and claiming the number one role at the start of the 2021/22 campaign. He’s represented Portugal at every level and, after starting six of his country’s eight fixtures in 2022, looks set to feature heavily in Qatar.

8. Jordan Pickford - England

Jordan Pickford
Pickford has been to two international tournaments / Martin Rose/GettyImages

Although liable to the odd blunder at club level, Jordan Pickford’s reliability on the international stage has seen him maintain his status as England’s number one throughout Gareth Southgate’s reign.

Aaron Ramsdale’s continued form with Arsenal should prove to be the Everton man’s biggest competition but, with Pickford’s prior experience at major competitions, he should be a safe bet for Qatar.

7. Hugo Lloris - France

Hugo Lloris
Lloris captained France to World Cup glory / Matthew Ashton - AMA/GettyImages

Holders France are seeing a fresh generation come through the ranks at the moment, providing spectators with an unpredictable title defence this time around. Despite being led by outfield stars like Kylian Mbappe and Aurelien Tchouameni, however, some old-guard stalwarts remain.

Hugo Lloris has been a heroic figure for his nation over the years and will undoubtedly skipper France yet again this winter as he’s set to reach 140 caps.

6. Keylor Navas - Costa Rica

Keysher Fuller, Keylor Navas
Navas has been incredible for the better part of a decade / Joe Allison/GettyImages

Costa Rica’s national side isn’t littered with star quality but, looking ahead at the likes of Joel Campbell and Bryan Ruiz lead in the outfield, Keylor Navas is certainly a shining light. 

Often an underappreciated goalkeeper, Navas has a litany of honours to his name and, despite seeming to have lost the battle for a starting spot at Paris Saint-Germain to Gianluigi Donnarumma, still brings fantastic ability to his national side. Having confirmed that Qatar 2022 will spell the end of his international career, he’ll be a tough act to follow.

5. Emiliano Martinez - Argentina

Emiliano Martinez
Martinez is a formidable shot stopper / Jonathan Moscrop/GettyImages

Everyone would agree that former Arsenal benchwarmer Emi Martinez has done superbly well to forge a Premier League starting role for himself at Aston Villa, and in the process make himself indispensable at international level. 

The 30-year-old has, quite remarkably, earned all of his 18 caps since June 2021 and was an instrumental component of Argentina’s Copa America triumph last year; he’ll certainly be called upon by one of the favourites in Qatar.

4. Edouard Mendy - Senegal

Mendy's stock has risen in recent years / CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/GettyImages

Having kept 30 clean sheets in his first two seasons as a Premier League goalkeeper, Edouard Mendy has rightly been catapulted into the ‘best ‘keeper on earth’ conversation. 

The Chelsea man might not have got off to the best of starts this campaign, with recent managerial arrival Graham Potter seeming to ponder over his first choice in goal, but he’s still a wonderful shot-stopper in a Senegal side that could raise a few eyebrows in Qatar.

3. Manuel Neuer - Germany

Manuel Neuer
Neuer is a legend in German football / Marvin Ibo Guengoer - GES Sportfoto/GettyImages

Father time has of course dictated the loss of some of the powers that have made Manuel Neuer one of the most watchable, complete, unpassable and, in turn, decorated goalkeepers of all time. 

However, the 36-year-old German is still right at the top of the game, holding on to his place in the national side ahead of the stiff competition headed by Marc-Andre ter Stegen. The Bayern Munich and Mannschaft skipper missed September’s internationals with COVID-19, but should certainly be back to captain his nation at the World Cup for a fourth consecutive major tournament.

2. Alisson - Brazil

Alisson Becker
Alisson is at the top of his game / Jonathan Moscrop/GettyImages

Imagine keeping Ederson out of any team and finding yourself second on a list… Sorry, Alisson. Many, however, will put Brazil’s first-choice shot-stopper top of these rankings - and that’s understandable. 

He’s a proven winner with Liverpool, demonstrating his staggering stature and natural intimidation time after time, and should be in good stead to retain the number one spot for a strong-looking Brazil side after a good individual start to the season. 

1. Thibaut Courtois - Belgium

Thibaut Courtois
Courtois is the best goalkeeper in the world right now / Dean Mouhtaropoulos/GettyImages

It’s near impossible to pick an outright best from the world-class goalkeepers that’ll be on show in Qatar this winter but, in the end, it just had to be European champion, Thibaut Courtois. The gangly, gargantuan guardian of goals has hit top form over the last couple of years and has been an irreplaceable cog of Real Madrid’s raring machine.

Belgium’s Golden Generation may have faded somewhat in recent times but, with Courtois between the sticks, the Red Devils have an unshakable foundation upon which to build.