7 of the Worst Goalkeeping Mistakes in Football History

Watching goalkeeping mistakes is a bit like watching those very questionable X Factor auditions. You either love revelling in someone else's misfortune or you jump behind the sofa, cringing at the sight. 


After Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford's massive gaffe handed Liverpool a dramatic injury-time win in the Merseyside derby on Sunday, the England international would have wanted the ground to have swallowed him up.


However, Pickford can take solace from the fact that goalkeeping blunders aren't necessarily a new phenomenon and he certainly won't be the last to make such a high-profile mistake. 


Here is a look at seven of the worst goalkeeper mistakes in recent history.

7. Jordan Pickford - Liverpool vs Everton (Premier League 2018)

Making a mistake in any game would be disappointing. But making it in a game against your fiercest rivals away from home is devastating. To then make it in the final few seconds and cost victory for your side is something akin to a footballing horror story. 


On Sunday, Everton's Jordan Pickford single-handedly gifted Merseyside rivals Liverpool an injury-time winner after the Toffees had worked so hard at Anfield to earn what would have been a hard-fought point.


With the full-time whistle nearing, Liverpool centre-back Virgil van Dijk's miscued volley looped high into the Anfield sky and was seemingly harmlessly heading out for a goal-kick. But having got his bearings wrong, Pickford decided he needed to tip the ball over the crossbar and in attempting to do so only managed to palm it in to the gleefully waiting Divock Origi to pounce and send the Kop End into pandemonium.

6. Rob Green - England vs USA (World Cup 2010)

After being surprisingly handed the goalkeeping gloves ahead of the much younger and in-form Joe Hart, Rob Green suffered a World Cup nightmare in England's opening game of the 2010 tournament. 


With Steven Gerrard having given the Three Lions the lead, former Fulham and Tottenham midfielder Clint Dempsey struck a speculative effort from about 25 yards out. It was a shot goalkeepers save 99 times out of 100, but for poor Green, this occasion turned out to be the exception. 


Dempsey's strike came at a relatively easy pace for Green to deal with, but the England goalkeeper saw it squirm out of his grasp and agonisingly roll over the line. The mistake essentially epitomised the kind of disaster England's World Cup dream was going to be in the end.

5. Rene Higuita - Colombia vs Cameroon (World Cup 1990)

Goalkeepers attempting skills and feints to escape trouble has seemingly become the fashion in modern day football. Whilst when it comes off, you look like a superstar, when it doesn't, you're left with egg on your face. 


The afro-haired Higuita will perhaps always be fondly remembered for that scorpion kick against England in 1995. But less well-known is the fact the Colombian's maverick style of goalkeeping cost his country big time in their World Cup last-16 match against Cameroon five years earlier.


Unfortunately for Higuita, his attempt at a drag-back halfway inside his own half saw the legendary Cameroon striker Roger Milla sneak in and dispossess the Colombian and race away to slot home into an empty net. Perhaps Higuita just wanted to see Milla's iconic corner flag celebration up close.

4. Wojciech Szczesny - Arsenal vs Birmingham (League Cup Final 2011)

It was all perfectly set up for Arsene Wenger to claim his first piece of silverware since the Gunners' FA Cup triumph against Manchester United in 2005. Facing un-fancied Birmingham City in the League Cup final, and having already beaten them twice in the Premier League that season, Arsenal were expected to end their long trophy drought. But this was Arsenal after all, and thanks to a howler from Poland international Wojciech Szczesny, they contrived to throw it all away.


After Robin van Persie's volley cancelled out Nikola's Zigic strike in the first half, the game seemed destined to head to extra-time. But both Szczesny and teammate Laurent Koscielny had other ideas. A long hopeful punt from Ben Foster was headed tamely down by the 6ft 7in Zigic, and Koscielny was on hand to clear away. 


What the Frenchman had perhaps not leaned on was his goalkeeper rushing out to collect, and having been put off by his teammate, Koscielny's air-kick left the ball to bounce off Szczesny and right into the predatory Obafemi Martines to tap home into an open net. Arsenal's wait for silverware would go on for another three years, but in those heart-breaking three seconds between Zigic's header and Szczesny's mistake, another trophy must have seemed a lifetime away for Gunners fans.

3. Peter Enckelman - Birmingham vs Aston Villa (Premier League 2002)

Technically speaking, this disastrous own-goal should not have stood as per the FA rule-book. The fact that it did only adds to the torment and embarrassment suffered by Aston Villa goalkeeper Peter Enckelman in his side's derby-day defeat to rivals Birmingham City.


From a routine throw-in from Swedish teammate Olof Mellberg, the ball rolled across the St Andrews turf for Enckelman to take a touch and pick out a fellow Villa player. Instead, under no pressure whatsoever, the Finnish goalkeeper attempted to clear the ball far up the pitch. Unfortunately for him, the ball trickled underneath his boot and agonisingly crossed the line to send St Andrews into absolute pandemonium.


However, as the football guidelines suggest, a goal cannot count without a touch from a player, and Enckleman himself has since claimed he was '90% sure' he didn't touch it. 


Speaking to the Birmingham Mail, he said: "Steve Staunton asked me if I did and I said no, so he said it should be a corner.


"I saw Robbie Savage harassing the linesman, and then they gave the goal."

2. Scott Carson - England vs Croatia (EURO 2008 Qualifying)

England goalkeepers really do have a penchant for making a massive blunder don't they? Perhaps it's become a very ironic rite of passage that to be a Three Lions keeper, you've got to at least have one high-profile mistake in your career. Whether it be David Seaman, Joe Hart, Rob Green or even Jordan Pickford, there has been a long list of England shot-stoppers that have unfortunately made a huge blunder along the way. In Scott Carson's case, the consequences not only for him, but for the entire footballing nation was catastrophic.


Needing a win to keep their hopes of going to EURO 2008 alive, England got off to the worst possible start as then 22-year-old Carson had a moment to forget. Former Portsmouth and Spurs star Niko Kranjcar let fly with a dipping shot from almost 30 yards out, which unfortunately for the England keeper bounced right in front of him. The awkward bounce meant Carson could only help parry the ball into the roof of the net and set England on their way to an embarrassing 3-2 defeat at Wembley. 


The positive? There would be no chance of England going out on penalties in the summer...

1. Shay Given - Coventry City vs Newcastle (Premier League 1997)

Concentration and focus. Perhaps the most important trait and characteristic needed in the very best of goalkeepers. Shay Given was one of the Premier League's most reliable goalkeepers in his time with Newcastle, but in November 1997 the fresh-faced former Republic of Ireland international was caught in a day-dream and allowed Dion Dublin to pounce.


After doing the difficult bit of claiming a deep cross ahead of both Dublin and his own defender, the Magpies goalkeeper got up quickly looking to start a swift counter-attack. After bouncing the ball, he rolled it out in front of him ready to find a teammate. What Given hadn't realised at this point was that Dublin had come back onto the pitch from behind him after missing that earlier cross, and sneaked in front to just rifle the ball into an empty net. 


The Irishman went on to play 354 times for the Toon Army and was named in the PFA Team of the Year in both 2002 and 2006. They often say mistakes can make or break a career, and for Given, he well and truly banished those nightmares to turn into one of the Premier League's best ever goalkeepers.