Ulreich, Seaman, Hart & the costliest goalkeeping errors in football history

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After Sven Ulreich's howler against Real Madrid on Tuesday, Goal looks back at the biggest mistakes ever made by the game's supposed guardians

  1. Sven Ulreich

    A simple back pass from Corentin Tolisso should have been easy for Sven Ulreich to deal with, but the Bayern Munich goalkeeper only realised at the last second that he could not use his hands to collect the ball.

    As Manuel Neuer's understudy tried to readjust and clear with his right foot, he slipped and allowed Karim Benzema to nip in and score the goal that decided an engrossing Champions League semi-final clash in Real Madrid's favour.

  2. Robert Green

    Clint Dempsey's long-range shot in this 2010 World Cup group stage game should have been easily stopped by Robert Green but the England No.1 made a meal of the American's effort, allowing the ball to skip over his hands and into the back of the net.

    The Three Lions drew 1-1, finished second, behind the United States, and were then eliminated by Germany. Things could have been so different, had Green made what should have been a routine stop.

  3. Dida

    With Liverpool trailing 3-1 to AC Milan in the 2005 Champions League final in Istanbul, Vladimir Smicer let fly from range.

    The effort, though powerful, was close to Dida, but he was unable to keep it out, instead pushing it into the bottom corner.

    We all know what happened next, as the Reds went on to equalise, and win the ensuing penalty shoot-out.

  4. Peter Shilton

    Peter Shilton's mistake in a World Cup qualifier against Poland in 1973 was preceded by an error from defender Norman Hunter, as he lost the ball in defence.

    Grzegorz Lato found Jan Domarski and his shot, skidding along the turf, simply squirmed under Shilton as Poland held England to a 1-1 draw that denied the Three Lions qualification for the 1974 World Cup.

  5. Scott Carson

    England needed to beat Croatia to qualify for Euro 2008. A comedy of errors followed, however, as Steve McClaren became known as the "wally with a brolly" after a 3-2 defeat.

    The tone had been set by Carson, who allowed a weak Niko Kranjcar strike from range to slip through his hands and into the back of the net. His protestations towards his defence fooled nobody. He had been solely to blame.

  6. Petr Cech

    Czech Republic held a commanding 2-0 lead over Turkey in the final game of their Euro 2008 group, but Arda Turan's goal gave Turkey hope of a sensational comeback.

    Petr Cech then fumbled a simple cross, allowing the disbelieving Nihat Kahveci to equalise. Nihat then curled home his second and his side's third in injury time to send Cech and Co. home, as Turkey claimed second place in the group.

  7. Oliver Kahn

    Oliver Kahn had been in tremendous form for Germany leading up to the 2002 World Cup final but a costly erorr gifted Ronaldo his opening goal in the showpiece, as he spilled Rivaldo's speculative long-range effort.

    Ronaldo completed his brace later in the second half, as Brazil collected the trophy. Kahn subsequently received the Golden Ball as the tournament's best player but that offered scant consolation after his game-changing mistake.

  8. Packie Bonner

    Netherlands may have been expected to beat Republic of Ireland in the second round of the 1994 World Cup in the United States but that did not make Packie Bonner feel any better about his contribution to the underdogs' exit.

    Already trailing due to Dennis Bergkamp's goal, Bonner allowed Wim Jonk's long-range effort to merely bounce off his raised hands and into the net. There was no way back for the Irish after that calamity.

  9. Luis Arconada

    The final of Euro 1984 saw two giants of the continent meet, with Spain and France going head to head in Paris.

    However, the game was effectively decided by Luis Arconada's error, with the Roja goalkeeper inexplicably allowing Michel Platini's poorly struck free-kick to squirm underneath him and give Les Bleus the crucial opening goal.

    Bruno Bellone added a second goal for France in the final minute of normal time but France's victory really owed everything to goalkeeping incompetence. 

  10. David Seaman

    Did Ronaldinho mean it? We may never know.

    Five minutes into the second half of Brazil's 2002 World Cup quarter-final with England, and with the sides locked at one goal apiece, Ronaldinho sent a free-kick goalwards from the right flank, and Seaman, caught unaware, allowed it to loop over him and into the back of the net.

    Brazil were reduced to 10 men following Ronaldinho's dismissal seven minutes later but the Three Lions never looked like recovering from the shock of conceding in such bizarre fashion and lost 2-1.

  11. Walter Zenga

    Italy were 1-0 up on Argentina in the semi-finals of the 1990 World Cup, when Walter Zenga assumed he could beat Claudio Caniggia to the ball after Julio Olarticoechea's looping cross came hurtling towards the near post.

    The Azzurri ace was wrong, though. Zenga had too many bodies in his way and was unable to get there first, allowing Caniggia flick the ball on and into the net for an Argentine equaliser.

    The Inter goalkeeper failed to redeem himself in the subsequent shootout, either, failing to make a single save as Italy lost 4-3 on penalties.

  12. Joe Hart

    This was supposed to be easy for England. Playing against a nation with more volcanoes than professional footballers in the Round of 16 at Euro 2016, the Three Lions took an early lead through a Wayne Rooney penalty, only to surrender their lead less than two minutes later as they failed to deal with a long throw.

    Kolbeinn Sigthorsson then attempted a shot from the edge of the penalty area, low to Joe Hart's left. He could not get down quick enough, his weak hands allowing the ball to roll in.

    England eventually lost, Roy Hodgson resigned and Hart became a laughing stock.

  13. Rene Higuita

    Rene Higuita is well-known for his flamboyant goalkeeping style, as anyone who has witnessed his scorpion kick against England will attest, but it got him into a boatload of trouble at the 1990 World Cup.

    Attempting to dribble the ball outside of his own area in Colombia's last-16 meeting with Cameroon, Higuita was robbed of possession by Roger Milla, who ran through and scored, sending the African side into the last eight.

  14. David James

    Portsmouth may be languishing in the lower divisions of English football now, but they went on a European adventure in 2008.

    Needing a win against German side Wolfsburg to progress from a group also including Braga and Heerenveen, David 'Calamity' James made a truly costly error, giving the ball away in his own penalty area and allowing Zvjezdan Misimovic to score.

    Pompey ended up losing 3-2 and were eliminated.

  15. Massimo Taibi

    "The Blind Venetian" - that rather cruel, but also rather fair, moniker was bestowed upon Massimo Taibi after the Manchester United goalkeeper allowed Matt Le Tissier's effort from outside the box to slip under him, as Southampton earned a 3-3 draw at Old Trafford in September 1999.

    Taibi blamed the error on the length of his studs but even with the right boots on, he was never the same goalkeeper again.