Keylor Navas says the fearless Costa Rica team can go on being World Cup world-beaters after their victory on penalties last night against Greece put them in the last eight.
The hero of the shoot-out said: ‘We left our fear at home – that is why we came through a group that had three former World Cup winners in it. We are not afraid of anyone.’
Levante star Navas is now the World Cup’s most wanted keeper with the tiny Spanish club appearing unlikely to be able to keep hold of their star stopper whose contract runs out in one year and buy-out clause stands at just £6.5million.
Last season Navas finished as La Liga’s second-best goalkeeper based on goals conceded, and the best based on the number of saves made. Whilst it was Courtois who conceded fewest goals, he had the best defence in Spain in front of him. At Levante, Navas had no such protection as was clear on the opening day of the season when he let in seven at the Nou Camp.
‘I have had a tough journey to get where I am but I’ve fought hard and now I’m reaping the rewards,’ Navas said, recalling how Spanish club Albacete plucked him from Costa Rica’s biggest side Saprissa in 2010. He moved to first division Levante a year later and in the first two seasons he was understudy to Uruguayan Gustavo Gustavo Munua but last season became No 1 and the hard work put in under the tutelage of one of Spain’s most respected goalkeeping coaches, Luis Llopis, has reaped dividends.
He arrived with the reputation for being a spectacular shot-stopper but Llopis believed he could become even quicker in his area. He is now four or five kilos lighter than when he arrived and Llopis says: ‘Hours of training drills based on speeding-up his ability to accelerate, brake and change direction quickly in his area have paid off.’
After attending the Goalkeeping Conference last summer in Reading, where Llopis saw the Crazy Catch range he knew it was a product that he had to have in his armoury with the spanish philosophy and focus on reactions being the specific outcomes developed by training with the Ultimate Rebound Net. The video below show Luis and Keylor in pre-season training last year
We wish Keylor all the best in the quarter final against the Netherlands on Saturday evening