Mary Earps, representing England, was awarded the Golden Glove at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup last August for her exceptional performances as a goalkeeper. Earps’ standout moment came during the final match when she saved a penalty taken by Spanish striker Hermoso, resulting in 3 clean sheets.
The Golden Glove Award is a prestigious accolade given to the best goalkeeper of the FIFA World Cup tournament, awarded for both men and women. The FIFA Technical Study Group determines the recipient of this award based on the goalkeeper’s performance throughout the final competition.
The winners are decided based on the number of “clean sheets” they achieve during the tournament. Clean sheets represent the number of matches in which a goalkeeper successfully prevents the opposing team from scoring any goals. Argentina’s Emi Martinez was the most recent winner of the FIFA Men’s World Cup Golden Glove award.
A History of The Award
Belgium’s Michel Preud’homme was the first to receive this award with 2 clean sheets in the 1994 World Cup held in the United States. Back then, it was still named the “Lev Yashin Award,” introduced in honor of the late Soviet goalkeeper Lev Yashin.
In 2010, it was rebranded as the “Golden Glove,” making Italy’s Gianluigi Buffon, who won the award with 5 clean sheets in the 2006 World Cup in Germany, the last keeper to receive such an award.
Spain’s Iker Casillas, who kept five clean sheets, won the Golden Glove award at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, the first of its kind.
It is to be noted that both Buffon and Casillas were some of the recipients of this award with the most clean sheets so far, alongside the 1998 World Cup winner France’s Fabien Barthez and the 2002 World Cup winner Germany’s Oliver Kahn.
Meanwhile, Nadine Angerer from Germany was recognized as the top goalkeeper in FIFA Women’s World Cup 2007 with 6 clean sheets.
The women’s counterpart of the competition, however, only introduced the award in 2011, making Hope Solo from the United States its first winner. However, even before the award’s introduction, there were different ways to acknowledge goalkeepers’ contributions to the tournament.
This makes Gao Hong from China and Briana Scurry from the United States, who were named to an All-Star Team in 1999, arguably the first to receive the equal honor.
Who Is Lev Yashin?
Lev Yashin, born Lev Ivanovich Yashin, was a legendary Soviet professional footballer. Yashin stood out for his proactive approach to goalkeeping, which was groundbreaking in his era.
Yashin’s iconic all-black attire, although very dark blue, earned him his mysterious monikers and added to his popularity. Thanks to this, Yashin was often called the “Black Spider,” the “Black Panther,” and even the “Man in Black.”
His illustrious career spanned four FIFA World Cups, and he played a key role in his team’s victory at the 1956 Olympic football tournament and the 1960 European Championships. Throughout his professional career, Yashin saved over 150 penalty kicks and achieved more than 270 clean sheets.
He received numerous accolades, including the Ballon d’Or in 1963, making him the only goalkeeper ever to win the prestigious award. His legacy endures, with recognitions like his inclusion in the Ballon d’Or Dream Team in 2020.
He was featured in the FIFA World Cup All-Time Team in 1994. In 1998, he was chosen as a member of the World Team of the 20th Century. He was later named to the FIFA Dream Team of the history of World Cups in 2002.
The Curious Case of Oliver Kahn
Goalkeepers, despite winning the Golden Glove, can also be considered for other prestigious awards like the Golden Ball, typically associated with outfield players. Notably, Oliver Kahn received the Golden Ball in 2002, demonstrating that goalkeepers can be recognized for their exceptional performances in a broader context.
Born Oliver Rolf Kahn, the former professional football player was known for his imposing presence and aggressive style. This earned him monikers such as “Der Titan” from the press and “Vol-kahn-o” from fans.
He is widely regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers in history, with numerous awards to his name, including four consecutive UEFA Best European Goalkeeper awards.
At the 2002 FIFA World Cup, Kahn made history by becoming the first goalkeeper to win the Golden Ball, despite a mistake in the final that led to Germany’s loss to Brazil. He also achieved the feat of keeping five clean sheets in a single World Cup tournament.
Throughout the competition, he conceded only three goals, two of which were in the final match, played with an injured finger, where a fumbled rebounded shot from Rivaldo resulted in a goal for Ronaldo.
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