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Fifa have announced the candidates for the World Cup Golden Ball - the award given to the best player of the finals.
Finalists Spain and Holland dominate the ten-strong list with five players between them. David Villa, Xavi and Andres Iniesta make up the Spanish contingent with Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben as the Dutch representatives.
Xavi could gain his second major tournament award in a row if he is named the winner after being named the best player in Spain's victorious 2008 European Championship campaign.
Barcelona compatriot Iniesta has also enjoyed an excellent tournament, displaying all the qualities to demonstrate why some consider him the finest midfielder in the world.
Camp Nou new boy Villa has been prolific during the finals, accounting for five of Spain's seven goals, including wonder strikes against Honduras and Chile. He also grabbed the winners in the knockout games against Portugal and Paraguay.
Holland's Sneijder has proved a crucial component of his team's run to the final to top off a treble-winning season at club level with Inter Milan, whilst Robben shook off a worrying hamstring injury to give the Dutch an added thrust in the final third, scoring against Slovakia and Uruguay upon his return.
Another Barcelona representative is Lionel Messi who, despite not scoring a goal in the finals, demonstrated his ability with a series of dazzling performances.
Germany also enjoyed an excellent tournament despite coming up short in the semi-final against Spain, with midfielders Mesut Ozil and Bastian Schweinstegier named among the contenders.
Ozil has seen a sharp rise to become a household name after the 23-year-old starred in group games against Australia and as a goalscorer against Ghana, as well as playing a vital part in their destruction of England and Argentina in the knockout phases.
Schweinsteiger also excelled in a central role for the Germans, pulling the strings and setting up counter attacks at will.
Uruguay forward Diego Forlan also capped an excellent personal season by scoring three superb long-range goals to guide his side to the semi finals, but also taking a role as playmaker for the team.
Ghana striker Asamoah Gyan makes up the shortlist, having scored three goals and working tirelessly up front for the Black Stars.
It is a bittersweet reward for the Rennes forward, however, after hitting the bar with a last minute penalty in extra-time against Uruguay in the quarter-final and seeing his side exit in the shoot-out.
The announcement of the winner will be made after Sunday's final, where they will follow in the footsteps of Zinedine Zidane, who won the award in 2006.
World Cup Golden Ball nominees: David Villa, Xavi, Andres Iniesta (Spain); Wesley Sneijder, Arjen Robben (Holland); Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mesut Ozil (Germany); Diego Forlan (Uruguay); Asamoah Gyan (Ghana); Lionel Messi (Argentina).
If Messi wins the award it would clearly be because of reputation rather than performance. For me it has to go to David Villa who at times has single handedly put spain in the driving seat of matches.
Posted 17:37 11th July 2010
Forlan has been amazing. hope he joins the mighty Spurs!
Posted 17:34 11th July 2010
David Villa, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben now have the golden chance to stake their rightful claim in becoming the best player of this year¿s world cup. It definitely is a 2 -2 draw between Spain and Holland on who picks up this illustrious prize prior to the game tonight which is why the game will be a spectacle for every watching fan of football.
Posted 13:56 11th July 2010
No Doubt. Diego Forlan
Posted 13:36 11th July 2010
The players that should be nominated are quite simply. Khedira of Germany, Thomas Muller of Germany, Bastian Schweinsteiger of Germany, Mesut Ozil of Germany, Miroslav Klose even though he didnt play the 3rd place play-off match against Uruguay nor did Philip Lahm but he should be mentioned as well. I also think Wesley Sneijder of Holland, Arjen Robben of Holland, Dirk Kuyt of Holland, Robin Van Persie even though he hasnt scored as many goals as he does for Arsenal I still think he should be mentioned because his technique his ability to pass and look for players is utterly incredible. I also think Andres Iniesta of Spain has been good, Xavi Hernandez of Spain Sergio Ramos of Spain, Charles Puyol of Spain Joan Capdevila has been good for Spain as well. I also think Diego Forlan has been utterly incredible some of the goals he has scored for Uruguay have been utterly immense what a player coming from a Spurs I hope Spurs do sign him up what a signing that would be. i think David Villa of Spain has been good but he has only scored the goals via his midfielders if you get the support from your midfielders then its only easy match to score the goals you need to win the match. I also think Luis Suarez for Uruguay has been absolutely exeptional likewise Edinson Cavani of Uruguay and Alvaro Pereira etc. All those players have shown class determination and passion for their country and its been a joy to watch this years world cup in South Africa 2010. Hopefully in 2014 it will be the same in Brazil.
Posted 13:36 11th July 2010
Diego Forlan has been the best player in the entire tournament. Nobody thought Uruguay would advance as far as they did. They accomplished a lot, and Forlan was totally instrumental in helping them get to the third place match. Forget about his time at United. Since he departed, he has become (in my opinion) one of the best in the world of football. Great season, great World Cup.
Posted 12:42 11th July 2010
The fact all season, players like Robben, Messi, Rooney, Ronaldo, Eto'o, Drogba and Kaka have dominated the entire season. Diego Forlan has to win it, the veteran should win it coz he is what you call a striker who just keeps on scoring and scoring. He got his nation the far with the team conceding less than 5 goals in the entire world cup with main players out on injury or suspension. Senjider should be a contender for the world player of the year but he won't get it but i reckon he'd make it in the top 2, he could win it and he's lead the dutch team to the final scoring 5 goals, same with robben scoring crucial goals and xavi being xavi, making deadly passes to players to score and he's adapted to that style of play, he also will be a contender again for the world player of the year. It'll be a close call between Xavi, Robben, Snejider and Forlan. Those four have a better chance than other players as they have been the headlines of the world cup so far. Messi would of made it if he done more stuff, he was good but not as good as these players
Posted 01:44 11th July 2010
Without Forlan, Uruguay would've struggled to get out of their group. All the other players could've been replaced by their respective countries and still achieved the same success. Forlan by a million miles. The most entertaining player to watch.
Posted 00:25 11th July 2010
I heard some comment about Spain having "world class defenders" and frankly it just makes me laugh. For starters, I think Carles Puyol is one of the most overrated and lucky defenders in the game today. Don't be fooled by his goal in the semis as lady luck was clearly looking down on him. His form in the tournament has been very poor as was highlighted during the Paraguay game. Gerard Pique on the other hand is defensively better than Puyol and calling him "world class" is alright although I still think he's not yet there. My only issue with him is that he tends to push up very high up the field while someone like Sergio Ramos does the same, leaving Puyol alone and vulnerable. I for one expected Germany and Schweinsteiger in particular to exploit that but yet again Spain's midfield stepped up and covered for their poor back four. Perhaps Spain have not yet come up against a side with someone who can slice their defense and here is where Wesley Sneijder will come in. Along with Robben, the Spanish defense will be punished if they push up too high. As for the Spanish midfield dominance, one player in particular will be key to winning the whole match and that will be Mark van Bommel as he is a true warrior and fights for every ball and will make life for Xavi a living hell. If he plays well then I can see the Spanish threat neutralised. Spain had such a player but opted to leave him out, one Marcus Senna who I see as the true hero of their 2008 Euro glory because while you had people like Xavi and Iniesta pushing forward, Senna was always the one winning the ball back when the ball was lost and was always key in stopping the opposing play maker. Frankly, excluding the Germany game, Spain were quite lucky making it this far in the tournament and after the whole Spanish frenzy leading up to the World Cup, I expected much more and they failed. Sneijder deserves the World Cup and the Golden Ball without a shadow of a doubt.
Posted 19:10 10th July 2010
Messi is the worst... why his name is there.. Of coure Weisly Seijder will get the golden ball
Posted 14:57 10th July 2010
The global game is no longer about reality, purely image and status, hence Messi's absurd inclusion in this list. I'm a bit put out by Xavi and Iniesta as well but we all know FIFA has such a boner for Barcelona they would make the list regardless. For me Sneijder is a standout but is just pipped to the post by Villa, who has surely muscled his way into the elite of world football based on his performance at this World Cup.
Posted 14:55 10th July 2010
Muller has been nominated for the young player award so he cannot be nominated for the golden ball as well. Got to be Sneijder for me
Posted 14:46 10th July 2010
It has to be Sneijder for me.. 5 goals from midfield. with the added fact that i only had two world cup bets,,, Sneijder to win the Golden Ball & Forlan E/W to win the Golden Boot..Lets hope Diego gets a couple tonight..
Posted 14:30 10th July 2010
For me it has to be Wesley Sneijder he has been instrumental in helping the dutch to the final i cant understand why Miroslav Klose or Thomas Muller aren't on the list Klose is just 1 goal from equaling Ronaldo's record and Muller as been just outstanding for a player his age
Posted 13:53 10th July 2010
I don't know why Messi made the list. Muller clearly should've been on it. ...Forlan for golden ball.
Posted 13:49 10th July 2010
i think either gyan, who led a team who wasnt expected to do as well as they did, to the quarters.....forlan has been awesome, but for me its schweinsteiger......whos been totally dominant in the centre of midfield......hes a total box to box midfielder, and if your looking for the long term replacement for ballack, then germany have just found him.....
Posted 12:08 10th July 2010
Where is Thomas Muller on the list? For me he has been the best player, perhaps if he played the semi final game they may have got through ... Second place to that would be Iniesta then Forlan
Posted 10:58 10th July 2010
I think it should go to either Gyan, Sneijder or Schweinsteiger
Posted 09:35 10th July 2010
I think deigo forlan has been the most outstanding player in this tournament . Other player have a lot of support but he single handly led his team to the last four of "world cup" and he has been excellent in every game specially his long effort which made players like rooney of england school boy in the biggest stage of world football
Posted 09:25 10th July 2010
@Brian Rhodes Are you serious about Forlan!? If so what World Cup you been watching. Forlan has been the best Uruguayan player by a mile. Creating, scoring and doing all the running!! There's a reason he's on the golden ball shortlist! Your comment is ridiculous. Cannot believe Muller isn't in this list though! Oh and another thing Robinho & Messi have not been awful at all. I think you need to buy the DVD when it comes out mate.
Posted 09:12 10th July 2010
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