Great England Goalkeepers

MatthewA By MatthewA, 27th Oct 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Sports>Sports

England have had some great goalkeepers. The goalie is undoubtedly one of the most important soccer positions, so England’s keepers have been fairly essential players. These are a few of the great goalkeepers who have played for England.


Banks is perhaps the best goalkeeper the national team has had and was the keeper in England’s 1966 FIFA World Cup winning team. During this tournament, Banks ensured that England did not concede a goal in the group stages and kept Argentina out in the quarter-finals. With four clean sheets, he was one of the best keepers in the tournament and remains the only England goalie who has lifted a World Cup trophy.

In the 1970 FIFA World Cup Banks was at his best again. During England’s game against Brazil, Banks made one of the most famous saves in history as he somehow reached and saved Pele’s header. However, despite this save England still lost 1 – 0. This was the only goal that Banks conceded in three matches, but he was not available for the quarter-final against West Germany. Consequently, England lost 3 – 2 and went out of the tournament.

Banks played 73 games for the team until 1972. The International Federation of Football History & Statistics ranked Banks second goalkeeper of the 20th century, after Yashin who was ranked as the best keeper of the 20th century.


Shilton became the successor to Banks during the 1970s, although would not play in any World Cups of that decade as England did not qualify for them. His England career lasted two decades, in which time Shilton played a record number of matches for the national team with 125 caps. He also kept a record 66 clean sheets for the side.

It would not be until 1982 that Shilton played in a first World Cup. Shilton’s form in that tournament was certainly impressive as he kept four clean sheets. Despite conceding one goal in five games, England still went out in the second group with three draws.

The 1986 FIFA World Cup was one in which Shilton and England reached the quarter-finals. In England’s game with Argentina he reached for the ball above the head of Maradona, although Maradona’s handled the ball past Shilton leaving an open net to put the ball in. Despite the handball, the referee still gave the 'goal' that sent England out.

Shilton also played in the 1988 European Championships. This was not a good one for England, although Shilton played his 100th game for the team against Holland. A Van Basten hat-trick ensured a 3 – 1 win for Holland that sent England out.

In 1990, a rejuvenated England arrived for Italia ’90. This was Shilton’s last World Cup, and it was also one that his team almost won. England reached the semi-finals where they played West Germany, and as the game ended 1 – 1 it went to penalties. Shilton could not save the penalties that sent England out. He played his last game for the national team against Italy in the third-place playoff, which was his 125th England match that remains a record number. Hereafter, Shilton retired from international soccer; but continued to play at club level someway into the 1990.

Banks and Shilton were two great goalkeepers that played in England’s best World Cups in 1966 and 1990. Banks remains England’s only World Cup-winning keeper, and was one of the best goalies of the 20th century. Shilton played a record number of England games, kept a record number of clean sheets and played more than 1,000 matches at club level.


England, Goalkeepers, Soccer

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author avatar MatthewA
Matthew is the author of the book Battles of the Pacific War 1941 - 1945. You can find further details at

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