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Van Veenendaal named World's Best Woman Goalkeeper

IFFHS Awards: Van Veenendaal crowned the World's Best Woman Goalkeeper 2019

November 27, 2019 By Juan Aguerrevere
Van Veenendaal wins the 2019 IFFHS World's Best Woman Goalkeeper award by a 93-point margin due to World Cup heroics.

Edwin van der Sar's retirement on May 22, 2011, marked the end of an era of high-caliber men's Dutch goalkeeping. His successors, Martin Stekelenburg, Jasper Cillisen, and Tim Krul, struggled to live up to expectations as the Netherlands sunk at the international level, ultimately failing to qualify to the UEFA Euro 2016 in France and Russia's 2018 World Cup. In the midst of all this chaos on the men's side, The Flying Dutchman's true heir has stood tall in between the posts for the Orange Lionesses. Her name? Sari van Veenendaal.

The International Federation of Football History and Statistics crowned Van Veenendaal as The World's Best Woman Goalkeeper of the year on Wednesday. Ninety-three points separated her from three-time consecutive winner Sarah Bouhaddi who finished second this time followed by USA's goalkeeper and world champion Alyssa Naeher. The experts and journalists' decision was mainly influenced by her heroics in the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup in France. 

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Van Veenendaal, is no stranger to being called the best at shot stopping. The VSV Vreeswijk academy product saved 20 shots, accumulated three clean sheets and only allowed five goals in the 2019 Women's World Cup. She captained Holland to its best ever World Cup finish as runner-up and was awarded the Adidas Golden Glove Award over Naeher. 

Two years prior, Van Veenendaal led the Orange Lionesses to their first  and onlyever major trophy, the 2017 UEFA Women's Championship. She managed to keep four cleansheets, two against Sweden and England in the quarter and semi-finals, earning her the Official Best Eleven goalkeeper position of the competition. 

In addition to a decorated international year, Van Veenendaal's 2018/2019 club season with Arsenal was near impeccable. She lifted the FA WSL trophy after winning the eighth edition of the FA Women's Super League, which declared Arsenal as the winningest club in the history of the competition. However, Arsenal fell to Manchester City in the FA WSL Cup Final in a penalty shootout.

Van Veenendaal's recent success landed her a move to Atletico Madrid after her contract expired in July 2019. Atletico Madrid reached the round of 16 of the 2018/2019 UEFA Women's Champions League falling to Wolfsburg to a combined score of 10-0 over two legs. Despite that thrashing defeat, Atletico Madrid is back with the help of the best goalkeeper in the world as it finds itself in the quarter finals of the Champions League against Barcelona.

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