Tim Howard set a World Cup record with 16 saves against Belgium and was largely the backbone of the US team, which earned surprising results against Ghana and Portugal.
His stunning performance spawned one of the best hashtags of the World Cup. At some point, you definitely saw this trending: #ThingsTimHowardCouldSave.
— Andy Glockner (@AndyGlockner) July 3, 2014
— Tim Howard Saves (@TlmHowardSaves) July 3, 2014
And finally, given today's news ...
— Things Tim Howard (@Could_Save) July 11, 2014
Fine, fine, you're right. That's just unrealistic.
Still, for all of The Beard's diving deflections, Howard wasn't named a finalist for the Golden Glove award, given to the best keeper of the tournament. Those three were Costa Rica's Keylor Navas, Germany's Manuel Neuer, and Argentina's Sergio Romero.
Navas fueled Los Ticos' magical run to the quarterfinals highlighted by his tremendous showing in penalty kicks against Greece. The other two finalists will faceoff in Sunday's World Cup final. Perhaps Howard would've been included had the US gotten past Belgium, but as it is, Neuer and Romero have been standouts for their sides. Neuer was essentially an extra sweeper as he routinely sprung from his line to clear any troubling through balls. He's also pitched three shutouts.
Romero was instrumental in sending his side through to the finals after stuffing two Netherlands penalty kicks in Wednesday's dramatic shootout. Without an offense that has necessarily clicked (despite its sustained tournament run), Romero has been the rock in the back. He's orchestrated four shutouts, and is the reason Argentina entered the semifinals having won every game by a single goal.
Mexico's keeper Guillermo Ochoa may have some legitimate beef with the finalists as well.
FIFA also announced its 10 finalists for the Golden Ball, awarded to the World Cup's most outstanding player.
Seven of the 10 players will be featured in Sunday's final. From Germany, FIFA named Mats Hummels, Toni Kroos, Philipp Lahm, and Thomas Muller among its finalists, while Lionel Messi, Angel di Maria and Javier Mascherano were honored from Argentina. The other three players were Neymar, Holland's Arjen Robben and Colombia's breakout star, James Rodriguez.
Landon Donovan was snubbed, AGAIN!