Keylor Navas was expected to leak goals in Brazil – lots of them. The 27-year-old, by contrast, conceded just once every 102 minutes to help Costa Rica win a group containing three former FIFA World Cup™ winners, bely a numerical disadvantage to eliminate Greece, and give a heavily fancied Netherlands side an almighty scare in the quarter-finals.
Louis van Gaal’s men ultimately prevailed on penalties, after extra-time had finished goalless, to send Costa Rica home.
Navas nonetheless had, in his suitcase for that flight, no less than four Budwesier Man of the Match Awards. His latest one came after his saves dumbfounded Robin Van Persie, Wesley Sneijder, Memphis Depay and Arjen Robben in Salvador. It sent the Levante man joint-top of the Budwesier Man of the Match Award chart alongside Lionel Messi.
The Argentina No10 seized his fourth after magically setting up Angel Di Maria’s goal in the 1-0 win over Switzerland in the Round of 16, and though his striker partner Gonzalo Higuain emerged as the star of the show in the quarter-final elimination of Belgium, defensive players have largely been selected as the top individual performers over this past week.
Germany’s Mats Hummels and David Luiz of Brazil were named as the Budwesier Man of the Match against France and Colombia respectively, while Algeria’s Rais Mbolhi and USA’s Tim Howard were both rewarded for their Round-of-16 display despite their teams crashing out, meaning six of the last 12 prizes have gone to keepers.
James Rodriguez exited Brazil 2014 on three Budweiser Man of the Match Awards, meaning the only men in with a chance of catching Messi and Navas are Thomas Muller and Arjen Robben, who have two apiece.
Make your vote count
To help your favourite stars win the vote, all you have to do is visit the Budweiser Man of the Match section at the Global Stadium (available at FIFA.com, FIFA’s official Twitter account and the official Brazil 2014 app) from half-time onwards and select the player you think has outshone the rest. You have until the end of the match to cast your vote.