The Netherlands has a new hero between the sticks; his name is Jeroen Noppert. In Holland’s first match at the 2022 World Cup campaign against Senegal, the keeper made three crucial saves in the match to secure Netherlands’ first win at the tournament. He grabbed the headlines, and deservedly so.
Noppert Heroic Performance
The Netherlands prevailed over Senegal, courtesy of two last-gasp goals from Cody Gakpo and Davy Klaassen, to open its campaign in the FIFA World Cup on a winning note. But the Dutch had goalkeeper Andries Noppert to thank for it.
Noppert, making his international debut at the World Cup at 28, made three crucial saves and kept a clean sheet to deny Senegal, which dominated the possession for most of the match.
His first big save came with over half an hour left in regulation time when he blocked Ismail Sarr’s shot from close range after a mix-up between Virgil van Dijk and De Ligt. He then denied Idrissa Gueye and Boulaye Dia twice quickly to ensure that his side held on for all three points.
Who is Noppert?
Wieger Noppert is between the sticks for the Netherlands in Qatar 2022. He’s a tall goalkeeper, standing at 2.03m. Noppert’s career has been an incredible story of perseverance and hard work.
He started out playing as a youth for the local Eredivisie side Heerenveen. However, he didn’t make any appearances for them before he joined NAC Breda in 2014 and then followed that up with a move to Serie B side Foggia in 2018.
But his debut performance with the Netherlands against Senegal at the Al Thumama Stadium made all the difference in his career. The keeper made some excellent saves and kept his side in contention, helping them earn their first tournament point.
It was a long road for Jeroen Noppert, but the journey paid off in the end. After a successful career in the Eredivisie, he found himself without a club and was forced to retire from football at age 31. His wife insisted that he join the police force, but Noppert refused to let go of his dream.
He eventually found his way back into the game with Go Ahead Eagles, which had just earned a promotion to the Eredivisie.
The team signed him as their goalkeeper, and Noppert made full use of the opportunity: He saved them from relegation and soon became one of the top goalkeepers in Holland’s premier division.
Noppert’s stellar season caught Heerenveen’s attention, who brought him back home again after an absence of four years—this time as their starting goalie.
Noppert’s Call to World Cup 2022
When Louis van Gaal called him up to join the national camp as a backup for experienced keeper Remko Pasveer, Noppert did not expect to be playing for the Netherlands in their opening match against Senegal.
It was a surprise call-up, but he has made the most of it. He has been so impressive that he may soon become van Gaal’s first-choice goalkeeper in the World Cup.
Noppert did not play a single game in Netherlands’ Qatar World Cup qualifiers and had just 52 appearances in club football before this match against Senegal in Doha. Still, he did not let that affect his performance.