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Golden Ball nominees:

- Angel Di Maria (Argentina)

In providing Lionel Messi with the best possible support, Di Maria has led the Albiceleste attack with distinction, posing a constant menace to opposing defences with his long-range shooting, mazy dribbling and finishing skills, which he showcased with a well-taken winner against Switzerland in the Round of 16.

- Mats Hummels (Germany)

The Borussia Dortmund centre-half has attracted much praise for his solid displays at the heart of the German defence. As if that were not enough, Hummels has also impressed at the other end of the pitch, rising high to score against Portugal in the group phase and head home the winner against France in the quarter-finals.

- Toni Kroos (Germany)

Kroos ran the show as Die Mannschaft swept aside hosts Brazil 7-1 in the semi-finals, dominating the midfield and posing a constant threat with his passing and shooting, which brought him two goals – all in a day’s work for this most consistent of performers.

- Philipp Lahm (Germany)

The Germany captain began the tournament in midfield before seamlessly making the switch to the right-back slot, without it undermining his performance levels or his considerable influence on Joachim Low’s side.

- Javier Mascherano (Argentina)

Though their much-vaunted attack attracts most of the headlines, Argentina have also been solid in defence, a large part of the credit for which must go to Mascherano for his tireless work in providing the Albiceleste rearguard with essential protection.

- Lionel Messi (Argentina)

Messi had never scored at the world finals prior to Brazil 2014, a record he emphatically set straight with some lethal finishing in each of Argentina’s three group matches. Though yet to find the back of the net in the knockout rounds, he has remained an influential figure for his side.

- Thomas Muller (Germany)

In opening his campaign with a hat-trick against Portugal, Muller picked up where he left off at South Africa 2010, where he collected the adidas Golden Boot. His performances since have underlined his status as the spearhead of Germany’s deadly front line.

- Neymar (Brazil)

Though only 22, the livewire forward ably shouldered the huge responsibility of leading A Seleção. Neymar was his side’s stand-out performer with four goals before an unfortunate injury ended his tournament in the quarter-finals.

- Arjen Robben (Netherlands)

The flying Dutch wide man has been in peerless form since putting defending champions Spain to the sword in his side’s opening match. His incisive runs from deep have been a feature of the tournament.

- James Rodriguez (Colombia)

Recognised as a huge talent heading into the competition, the gifted Rodriguez has since proved his ability to rise to the big occasion. His haul of six goals in five outings was a major reason why Los Cafeteros broke new ground in reaching the last eight for the first time.

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Golden Glove:

Keylor Navas (CRC)

The Levante stopper was arguably Costa Rica’s best player at Brazil 2014, including a match-winning display in the Round of 16 tie against Greece. Making 21 saves in Los Ticos’ five games, he was awarded the Budweiser Man of the Match Award on three occasions. At 26-years-old the best years of his career are firmly ahead of him.

Manuel Neuer (GER)

The Germany keeper has played in all of the Nationalelf’s six games so far, making 25 saves and completing 202 passes. He’s kept three clean sheets and been a commanding presence for Joachim Low’s side so far. After winning a host of domestic honours, the UEFA Champions League and the FIFA Club World Cup, the FIFA World Cup and the Golden Glove is now in his sights.

Sergio Romero (ARG)

Penalty shoot-out saves from Ron Vlaar and Wesley Sneidjer sent La Albiceleste into the final, capping a fine tournament for the 27-year-old so far. The Monaco keeper has kept four clean sheets, making 15 saves in Brazil 2014 so far. Brought into international football by Diego Maradona, he has been Argentina’s first choice keeper for five years.

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Best Young Player:

Memphis Depay (NED): Fresh from an excellent season with PSV Eindhoven, Memphis Depay has confirmed his growing reputation at Brazil 2014. After coming off the bench during the Netherlands’ second match with Australia, the Moordrecht native made a crucial impact, netting a goal and setting up another; in doing so, he became the most youthful Dutch goalscorer in World Cup history. He then got on the scoresheet once more as the Oranje defeated Chile in their third and final group game. Pacey, unselfish and clinical in front of goal, Depay was again used as an impact substitute versus Mexico, before becoming the youngest Dutchman to begin a World Cup encounter since 1938 against Costa Rica in the quarter-finals, completing his journey from rising star to established starter in the process.

Paul Pogba (FRA): Although he is still only 21 years of age, Paul Pogba is already one of France’s key players. The Juventus star gained his first taste of international success last year at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey, where his skills and subtlety of touch helped Les Bleuets to emerge victorious from the competition and enabled him to earn the adidas Golden Ball award. In Brazil, the energetic midfielder showed the full array of his talents, including an opening goal in Les Bleus’ Round-of-16 clash with Nigeria. Having firmly established himself in the side, Pogba is likely to be one of the first names on France’s teamsheet for many years to come.

Raphael Varane (FRA): Absent from the 2013 U-20 World Cup due to injury, Raphael Varane nevertheless enjoyed a successful club season in Spain and on the continental stage. The Real Madrid player confirmed his wunderkind status at Brazil 2014, where he performed admirably at centre-back in a French defence that conceded just three goals in the tournament. Composed on the ball, quick and aggressive in the challenge, and accurate when passing from the back, the imposing 21-year-old is the epitome of the modern defender. While many fans in Europe were already aware of Varane’s potential, the World Cup has provided a platform for him to prove it to the entire planet.

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Kroos - Neuer/Romero (depends on who wins on Sunday) - Varane.

A bit sad Ochoa isn't included but understandable when you look at the 3 nominees. Im not gonna lie, thought Romero would've been a weak link, but has 3 clean sheets in 6 matches, and didn't look like a second string goalkeeper at club level.

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Messi winning player of the tournament is a bit of a joke to be honest, not even in the top 5

Mascherano was far better, I think.

But James Rodríguez should have won this award.

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How the hell did Messi win. There must have been at least half a dozen Germans better than him this tournament, without including all the other teams players. When he had to deliver he failed, & makes you wonder how bad he would have to be to fail to win.

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FIFA decide the 10 nominations, but the winner is decided by the media. Let's blame FIFA anyway though :thup:

Unlike other times, it was some FIFA committee that decided the winner this year, rather than the media.

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Don't really agree on the choice of Messi. He did play a very good tournament and finally showed something at a World Cup, but others were better IMO. I would give it to Neuer, as he's been oustanding. Eventually Kroos would also be a good choice.

But if seriously MUST have a attacking player win, then I must say that both Robben and especially Rodriguez has impressed me more then Messi did

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Utter joke of an award tbh.

I hope this doesn't mean this will be remembered in 30 years time as Messi's tournament. People have beenso obsesed with his "Messi needs a great WC to be placed alongside Pele and Maradona" (which I totally disagree with) that he's basically been shoehorned this award. He's had a decent 6 or 7 out of 10 tournament but nothing more and it would be such a slight on both this World Cup and Messi as a player if people end up eulogising about his performances in this World Cup in the future.

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Don't really agree on the choice of Messi. He did play a very good tournament and finally showed something at a World Cup, but others were better IMO. I would give it to Neuer, as he's been oustanding. Eventually Kroos would also be a good choice.

But if seriously MUST have a attacking player win, then I must say that both Robben and especially Rodriguez has impressed me more then Messi did

I wouldn't even say he's had a very good tournament tbh. Quite good, yes, but definitely not very good. He was utterly dreadful and I mean dreadful in the opening match aside from his goal. Played well in the couple of last group matches, in the knock-out stages he's been completely meh, tonight he was just poor and wasteful. In Football Manager terms he'd probably have an average rating of about 6.75 or something for the tournament.

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He was dreadful first half but played well second half against Bosnia. Rest of your post I agree with.

And I don't see this being remembered as Messi's tournament either, the vast majority of people are being massively critical of Messi being awarded best player.

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Should've been Mascherano. Consistently great. But I imagine it was a sympathy vote for the S storm Messi will get in Argentina.

He definitely should've been nominated at least. And why the heck is he not their captain? He's clearly the one motivating the team and is a much better leader then Messi

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Utter joke of an award tbh.

I hope this doesn't mean this will be remembered in 30 years time as Messi's tournament. People have beenso obsesed with his "Messi needs a great WC to be placed alongside Pele and Maradona" (which I totally disagree with) that he's basically been shoehorned this award. He's had a decent 6 or 7 out of 10 tournament but nothing more and it would be such a slight on both this World Cup and Messi as a player if people end up eulogising about his performances in this World Cup in the future.

why would it be Messi's tournament when he didn't win? :D

he had a few good games for Argentina, some where he carried them but he never appeared for the last two matches. Maybe he's carrying an injury or who knows but he was poor in both games

Robben, Rodriguez or if you wanted a defensive player, Mascherano or Neuer would have been better candidates if it had to be somebody there on the pitch at the time

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He definitely should've been nominated at least. And why the heck is he not their captain? He's clearly the one motivating the team and is a much better leader then Messi

Mascherano was the Argentina captain until Sabella came in iirc. Sabella then decided it should be Messi and arbitrarily gave it to him.

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Robben, Rodriguez or if you wanted a defensive player, Mascherano or Neuer would have been better candidates if it had to be somebody there on the pitch at the time

Would add Hummels into that list as well. Think he had a fantastic tournament. Scored the winner (only goal, actually) in the France game in the QFs.

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He was dreadful first half but played well second half against Bosnia. Rest of your post I agree with.

And I don't see this being remembered as Messi's tournament either, the vast majority of people are being massively critical of Messi being awarded best player.

True, it's a laughable award, but in 20-30 years people won't remember that much about it, and then you see Messi got the award... surely he was best, right?

Silly in any case, and I'm not sure I'd even put him in the top 10. He scored a few goals, but aside from that didn't do much at all. On the other hand, Robben and Rodriguez were dangerous throughout and would be much more deserving winners.

It's FIFA though, and they can barely step out of bed in the morning without ****ing up.

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True, it's a laughable award, but in 20-30 years people won't remember that much about it, and then you see Messi got the award... surely he was best, right?

Silly in any case, and I'm not sure I'd even put him in the top 10. He scored a few goals, but aside from that didn't do much at all. On the other hand, Robben and Rodriguez were dangerous throughout and would be much more deserving winners.

It's FIFA though, and they can barely step out of bed in the morning without ****ing up.

Would guess it could be viewed similarly to the "Maradona single handedly carried Napoli to the title" view - believed by a lot yet but corrected by those who followed Italian football at that time who say that the Napoli team had many other great players too (not that Maradona wasn't their leading player).

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He was dreadful first half but played well second half against Bosnia. Rest of your post I agree with.

And I don't see this being remembered as Messi's tournament either, the vast majority of people are being massively critical of Messi being awarded best player.

Time erases memories of performances, but that award will always be there. I've no doubt people will look at it in the future and it will cause Messi's performances to be remembered as much better than they actually were.

why would it be Messi's tournament when he didn't win? :D

The same reason '54 is remembered as Puskas' great tournament, '74 as Cruyff's, '06 as Zidane's etc.

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That Maradona reference is brilliant, but you could argue that Messi carried that team to the final though.

not really sure if you can say he carried them all the way, certainly not in the way that Maradona did for Argentina in 1986, Baggio did for Italy in 1994 and Ballack did for Germany in 2002

he certainly helped considering the rest of the attacking formation were doing nothing but the Argentina defence was generally very good

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I wasn't born in 1986, still in my diapers when Baggio missed his pen, and just started to watch football and didn't understand the 2002 well. But my point exactly, even when Argentina's attack did nothing, Messi still churned out a goal or two, and was helped by a surprisingly great defense. I said, it was arguable, not definite.

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That Maradona reference is brilliant, but you could argue that Messi carried that team to the final though.

He really didn't though, did he? Fair enough he helped them greatly in getting out the groups and even if you want to say his assist got them out the semis in an otherwise quiet performance, he made no real contribution in the semis for example and the fact someone finally converted one of his many wasteful set pieces in the 8th minute of the quarters is hardly enough to say someone carried a team to the final.

It was Argentina's excellent defensive performances that carried them to the final. For all the slaughtering he got for Man City last season, someone like Demicheles ended up being a much better and more important player to them in the knock-out stages.

I wasn't born in 1986, still in my diapers when Baggio missed his pen, and just started to watch football and didn't understand the 2002 well. But my point exactly, even when Argentina's attack did nothing, Messi still churned out a goal or two, and was helped by a surprisingly great defense. I said, it was arguable, not definite.

But how is it arguable? Those goals were all the group stages. I don't think anyone would argue he helped them a great deal in getting out the group stages, but in the knockout stages he really hasn't carried them anywhere. I think there's a much bigger argument that the fact they've played round him so much has actually inhibited their attacks and that he should have been subbed in many of those games. Definitely should've been subbed instead of the much livelier Higuin tonight imo.

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For the umpteenth time, 1986 Argentina wasn't exactly "Maradona and 10 other random dudes"... That side had plenty of quality players, while Maradona still was a key factor. Same goes for Napoli.

That being said, Messi winning the WC Golden Ball is a farce of epic proportions... He was ok in the Group Stage against rather modest opponents, but hardly a force to be reckoned with in the knockout stage.

I can think of at least a dozen players who were better candidates by a mile...

Then again, seeing who the sponsor of the award was, we shouldn't be that surprised they handed it to Messi despite him being a much undeserving candidate.

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For the umpteenth time, 1986 Argentina wasn't exactly "Maradona and 10 other random dudes"... That side had plenty of quality players, while Maradona still was a key factor. Same goes for Napoli.

That being said, Messi winning the WC Golden Ball is a farce of epic proportions... He was ok in the Group Stage against rather modest opponents, but hardly a force to be reckoned with in the knockout stage.

I can think of at least a dozen players who were better candidates by a mile...

Then again, seeing who the sponsor of the award was, we shouldn't be that surprised they handed it to Messi despite him being a much undeserving candidate.

Agree with that except for the Adidas bit. They sponsor Robben, James and Müller too so it's not like Messi was the only Adidas candidate.

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For the umpteenth time, 1986 Argentina wasn't exactly "Maradona and 10 other random dudes"... That side had plenty of quality players, while Maradona still was a key factor. Same goes for Napoli.

probably agree with that, 86 is a bit hazy for me considering I was quite young when that tournament was taking place

the one who carried a team the most was probably Roberto Baggio in 1994 with his Italian team, despite the fact the team wasn't that bad, he scored the winner in 3 knockout games after doing nothing in the group stages

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