It’s only one game but against a formidable opponent like Serbia, Navas was on his A Game for his nation. Costa Rica would eventually go on to lose this match 1-0, however it was hardly on the hands of keeper Navas. An unnecessary foul given on the edge of the box saw Aleksandar Kolarov hit a world class free kick goal only rivalled by Cristiano Ronaldo so far in this years World Cup so far.
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) June 17, 2018
Navas was needed on three shots, while ten in total were directed towards his net. Serbia are a more globally heralded team and have a few players who are considered elite. Aleksandar Mitrovic at striker, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic in midfield, and Nemanja Matic in defensive midfield are all examples, plus the likes of goalscorer Kolarov fits the elite bill. But, Navas was equal to the task of shot stopper this match, never more so than on a touch he got on a labelled low cross that was primed for a Kostic tap in. Navas read the play well and managed to get just a finger tip to the ball, knocking it out of the sweet spot on Kotic’s boot who skied the ball against his will.
Navas was Costa Rica’s man of the match, and as for most of the tournament he will be needed to stay at that team MVP level for Costa Rica should they have any success this year. For Navas personally this tournament may be the perfect opportunity for him to lay to rest the argument that he is not “elite”.
With Real Madrid constantly connected to the likes of David de Gea, Thibault Courtois, and Alisson Becker as replacements for Navas, he needs a good showing to shut up his critics. Maybe it is more because Real Madrid’s rivals Athletico Madrid and Barcelona have elite keepers in Jan Oblak, and Marc-Andre ter Stegen who are young (25 and 26). Navas, at 31 is the elder statesmen of the three top LaLiga keepers and this, perhaps, is why Real Madrid fans want a new keeper – they are tired of their veteran one, despite back to back to back Champions League trophies won with him in net.
Navas had a good start to his World Cup campaign despite the loss and is poised to keep his form in upcoming matches. However Navas, the pride of Costa Rica, has an uphill battle ahead of him and his team. Serbia claimed three points off of Costa Rica, while giants Brazil drew against a surprisingly solid Swiss team, leaving Costa Rica the only Group E team without a point as they match up against some elite competition. Navas has all the motivation he needs – global glory and reclaiming his stake (although he shouldn’t have to) as an elite LaLiga keeper, worthy of his spot on Real Madrid.