Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sneijder and Villa vying for Golden Ball

Ahead of Sunday's World Cup final between Netherlands and Spain, the tournament's joint top-scorers Wesley Sneijder and David Villa have both been named on a ten-man shortlist for the Golden Ball award.

FIFA announced the contenders for the award given to the player of the tournament in a press conference on Friday and finalists Spain are represented by Villa, who has scored five goals in the competition, as well as Andres Iniesta and his midfield partner Xavi - who was named the best player at Euro 2008.
Fellow finalists Netherlands are represented by both Sneijder and winger Arjen Robben, while beaten semi-finalists Germany have seen holding midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger and playmaker Mesut Ozil make the list.
Uruguay striker Diego Forlan is on the shortlist after scoring four goals and Ghana's Asamoah Gyan, who missed a crucial penalty in a quarter-final against the South American side, has also been recognised for his three goals in the Black Stars' campaign.
The list is completed by Lionel Messi, who despite failing to score a goal in South Africa still looked in dominant form in the group stages before Argentina succumbed to Germany in the quarter-finals.
The award was first given to Paolo Rossi in 1982 and the Italy striker has been followed by Diego Maradona (1986), Salvatore Schillaci (1990), Romario (1994), Ronaldo (1998), Oliver Kahn (2002) and Zinedine Zidane (2006).
Germany forward Thomas Muller heads the shortlist for the award given to the best young player of the World Cup, with Mexico's Giovani dos Santos and Ghana's Andre Ayew his rivals for the prestigious prize.

The Bayern Munich star, who just 12 months ago was playing for the club's reserve side, set the tournament alight with four goals and three assists in Germany's run to the semi-finals. However, suspension prevented him from playing in the defeat to Spain.
If Muller does claim the award he will follow in the footsteps of team-mate Lukas Podolski who took the honour in 2006, beating Cristiano Ronaldo, Antonio Valencia, Cesc Fabregas, Lionel Messi and Tranquilo Barnetta.

Full shortlist for the Golden Ball award: Wesley Sneijder, Asamoah Gyan, Diego Forlan, Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi, Mesut Ozil, Arjen Robben, Bastian Schweinsteiger, David Villa, Xavi.
Full shortlist for the best young player award: Thomas Muller, Andre Ayew, Giovani dos Santos.

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