Away from the fame and fortune of the World Cup, goalkeeping around the world has been powering on through the winter…
Whilst the Ronaldos, Kanes, and Mbappe's of this world have been spending the early part of winter under the sweltering Middle Eastern sun, football hasn't come to a complete standstill back home. Though not only in England - Italy's Serie B and Spain's Segunda División have played through the tournament in similar fashion to League One and below, as well as parts of Scottish football - the divisions away from the glitz and glam of the Sky Sports cameras have dug in for the long months, and goalkeepers have followed suit.
There's been no shortage of goalkeeping moments of madness (or magic), either. Across Europe, we've seen goalkeeper goals, fights break out, and a number of transfer rumours emerging as the January window draws closer. But what exactly has been going on between the sticks away from Qatar in the past few weeks?
Problematic pitch invaders in Turkey
When Turkish second division sides Goztepe and Altay met on the 27th November, the referee's watch would only reach minute 25 before the game had to be brought to a halt and later suspended. The match - a local derby in the city of Izmir - saw flaring tempers in the stands filter onto the pitch, with the game abandoned after a brutal attack on Atlay's goalkeeper, Ozan Evrim Özenç.
With an ambulance already on the pitch and the game paused due to disruption in the stands, spectators filmed as Özenç was rushed at from behind by a supporter wielding the pole from the corner flag. He proceeded to whack Özenç over the head - twice - before being subdued by other players.
The Turkish Football Federation (TFF) denounced the events that unfolded in the derby, stating ‘we condemn the incidents that took place during the match between Goztepe and Altay in Izmir and the dastardly attack on Altay goalkeeper Özenç. While wishing a speedy recovery to the injured football fans, we also wish a speedy recovery to [Özenç]who was subjected to violence by the attacker who entered the pitch'.
Sneddon's header in Scotland
A more positive story emerged from the Scottish Championship, where Partick Thistle drew 1-1 with Cove on Saturday 3rd December. Goalkeeper Jamie Sneddon was waved up to reinforce the Partick Thistle attack in the match's dying moments (the 95th, to be precise) by goalkeeper coach Kenny Arthur (that's right - the same Kenny Arthur behind KA/Kaliaaer gloves).
Despite manager Ian McCall's reported reluctance to allow Sneddon forward for the final grand offensive, the 25 year old escaped his marker and leapt like a proverbial salmon on the edge of the six yard box to power the ball home. Sending the away fans into raptures, Sneddon had grabbed his side an equaliser at the death - scoring what the side's social media team dubbed ‘his first goal of the season’. Could there be more on the way?
It was Sneddon's own reaction to his goal that was most entertaining however. 'I don't ever remember what I did', he explained to BBC Sport. 'I think I started at the back post and just arched my way around the box for some reason and there was the ball and the rest was just a blur'.
'The boys in there are saying it is the best header they have ever seen. It was in slow motion. I'm buzzing to watch it back'.
Manager McCall, meanwhile, said 'most people would call me a dinosaur. I hate seeing goalies go up but I didn't hate it after he scored. I'm over 40 years [in football] and I've never seen it, but I'm delighted it happened. It is fairy-tale stuff for him and he deserves it. He was terrific today and it was a great header. I can take nothing to do with it because I never told him to go forward'.
But, the giant striker inside Sneddon will slink back into its sleeping cave, with the Scotsman joking ‘I was absolutely knackered after that. I got up from all the celebrations and had to run 80 yards back to my goal and I was absolutely goosed. My legs will be feeling it. My days as a striker are finished. A cameo now and then will do’.
Leeds celebrate International Day of Persons with Disabilities with young goalkeeper
In early December, 12 year old Wayde was invited by Leeds United to the club's training ground at Thorp Arch. In light of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities - the 3rd December each year - Wayde, who was born without a left forearm, spent the day with goalkeeper coach Marcos Abad who put him through a series of goalkeeper drills on the training ground.
Leeds' relationship with Wayde has been forged through the club's foundation, in association with Premier League kicks. In recent years, they helped Wayde and his family fundraise for a new bionic arm to help the youngster be able to undertake everyday tasks that, previously, proved challenging.
Although he can't play in goal with the prosthetic, Wayde still plays regular grassroots football in his local area. The 12 year old also got to meet Jesse Marsch and the rest of the first team squad.