World Cup Goalkeepers – Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi, Japan

Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi is a Japanese goalkeeper known for his cheerful on field and off field behavior. He broke into the Japanese national football team quite early, and was hailed as a hero in his country’s one-nil victory over Brazil in Olympics. He is known for his big-match temperament, and has saved many goals under crunch situations.

Kawaguchi took to professional football soon after finishing high school. His first major stint was with Yokohama Flugels. This was followed by a highly successful stint with Yokohama Marinos (now known as Yokohama F. Marinos). His performance under the bars earned him a spot in the national team bound for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

This was a time when the athletic Kawaguchi’s stars were shining brightly. The Japanese goalkeeper, fresh from his Olympic exploits, signed a £1.8m deal with Portsmouth F.C.

But this was one deal that did not work for Kawaguchi. He could not retain his position for long, and had to leave under a cloud.

The Portsmouth debacle also affected his fortunes back home for he missed getting into the Japanese World Cup team for 2002. For a brief while he moved to Nordsjælland and played in the Danish league, but then returned home to join Jubilo Iwata.

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