Saturday, July 10, 2010

Favourite For The Golden Ball

FIFA have announced the 10 candidates for the Golden Ball award. Competition is fierce to succeed Zinedine Zidane, who scooped the prize four years ago. The winner will be announced after Sunday's final.

David Villa
Golden Ball Odds: 2.35

After a trophyless season with Valencia the new Barcelona striker is chasing a hat-trick of awards in South Africa. He's already leading the Golden Boot race at odds of 1.71 and his five goals have made Spain the favourites to land their first ever World Cup.

Wesley Sneijder
Golden Ball Odds: 2.75

Apart from Villa has there been a more influential player than Sneijder in the World Cup? Not in the eyes of the bookies, who have made the gifted Dutchman the second favourite for the Golden Ball. Five goals have him at 4.0 to take the Golden Boot also. Won the treble with Inter last season and is a man in form.

Golden Ball Odds: 6.50 

Barcelona's peerless midfielder won the best player of Euro 2008 award and has been his relentless consistent self in South Africa. Has completed a monumental 570 passes with 81% of them reaching a Spanish shirt. Enjoy his mastery while you can as he's now 30.

Andres Iniesta
Golden Ball Odds: 10.0

Iniesta completes the Barcelona trio in the top four and has been immaculate as always. Scored against Chile in the group phase and will be crucial in the final. All of Spain's goals in the tournament have come from their trio of Barca stars, Villa, Iniesta and Puyol.

Arjen Robben
Golden Ball Odds: 12.0
Following a stunning season with Bayern Munich, Robben has made his presence felt after missing the early stages of the tournament. Two goals from just seven shots, of which five hit the target, tell their own story. Spain will need to be alert to his ability on Sunday.

Bastian Schweinsteiger
Golden Ball Odds: 26.0 
At just 25, Schweinsteiger marshalled the midfield in Germany's young team. He was superb in particular against Argentina, when he ran the South Americans ragged. Looked devastated after Germany's defeat to Spain but his time will surely come.

Mesut Oezil 
Golden Ball Odds: 26.0 
A relative unknown to non-Bundesliga fans, the 21-year-old has been a revelation in the World Cup. Oezil scored a stunning long range strike against Ghana and ripped England to shreds in the 4-1 second round thrashing. Has attracted the interest of Manchester United after his sparkling performances.

Diego Forlan
Golden Ball Odds: 34.0
A top class player who has long since buried his difficult spell in the Premier League. Scored four goals including some fabulous strikes from range and has been a source of inspiration for the Celeste leading the line when Luis Suarez was suspended.

Asamoah Gyan 
Golden Ball Odds: 34.0 
The Rennes forward remains the player with the most shots in the tournament with 33. Spearheaded Ghana's charge to the quarter-finals with three goals and looked set to write his name in the history books until that miss against Uruguay. Undoubtedly the star African player in the continent's first World Cup.

Lionel Messi
Golden Ball Odds: 51.0
The Ballon d'Or holder has a host of individual prizes but won't be adding the Golden Ball to them. Had a frustrating tournament where he forced a mighty 30 shots, second only to Gyan, but failed to score or rise to the occasion when La Albiceleste were thumped by Germany.

Young Player Award

Thomas Mueller
Young Player Odds: 1.03 

You are unlikely to find shorter odds anywhere. Twenty year old Mueller has been superb for Germany, scoring four times from just four shots on target. Stats aside he has been the star man in Germany's team of youngsters. What a player he will be in four years time. The banker of banker bets.

Andre Ayew
Young Player Odds: 12.0 
Captained Ghana to their Under-20 World Cup success last year and slotted effortlessly into the first team at senior level. Belied his tender years to show he's a chip off his Dad Abedi Pele's block with a series of fine performances. Sorely missed against Uruguay, for which he was suspended.

Giovani dos Santos
Young Player Odds: 26.0
Once on the books of Barcelona, the Mexican's career had appeared set to go backwards after leaving the Camp Nou in 2008. Still just 21, dos Santos has got back on track with a good World Cup where he looked back to his best in the group stages.

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