By TIM FONTENAULT
Lionel Messi and Manuel Neuer should see plenty of each other in Sunday’s World Cup Final, and they are both in line to clean up in the World Cup awards department as well after leading the nominees unveiled on Friday.
Germany and Argentina dominate the list of finalists for the Golden Ball, which will be awarded to the tournament’s best player. Seven of the 10 finalists – four Germans and three Argentines – will be on the field on Sunday.
Toni Kroos, Phillip Lahm, Mats Hummels and Thomas Mueller are the German players up for the award. Lahm and Kroos have been catalyst in the midfield for Germany throughout the tournament, while Hummels has scored two critical goals. Mueller has scored five goals and assisted three others as he quickly climbs the ranks of all-time greats at the World Cup.
Argentina’s Lionel Messi, Angel Di Maria and Javier Mascherano are up for the award as well. Messi has four of Argentina’s eight goals and assisted Di Maria’s goal in their victory over Switzerland in the Round of 16. Mascherano has been Argentina’s handyman in the back, especially against the Netherlands in the semifinals, when he prevented Arjen Robben from getting to goal.
Robben is also a finalist for the award, along with Colombia’s James Rodriguez and Brazil’s Neymar.
Tim Howard, who made 28 saves and allowed six goals in four matches at the tournament, was not among the nominees for the Golden Glove, which is awarded to the best goalkeeper.
Instead of Howard, who made 15 saves in the Round of 16 against Belgium, Costa Rica’s Keylor Navas joins Neuer and Argentina’s Sergio Romero as the nominees for the award. Navas helped Costa Rica escape a group that included England, Italy and Uruguay with seven points. He also stopped Theofanis Gekas’ penalty kick attempt in a victory over Greece in the Ticos’ shootout victory.
FIFA also nominated three players for the Best Young Player Award. France dominates this list, with midfielder Paul Pogba and defender Raphael Varane nominated for the award. Dutch forward Memphis Depay, who has two goals and one assist, is also nominated for the award.
What do you think about the nominations for the World Cup’s individual awards? Think Howard deserved a nomination? Who will win the Golden Ball?
Share your thoughts below.
Top Goalkeepers this World Cup.
1. Manuel Neuer: A confident and imposing player,
who in the long tradition of German keepers,
uses intimidation and skill to overpower attackers,
however rather remarkably he is always looking to attack.
He is surprisingly quick off his line and uses this to control and dictate any oncoming play.
In short Neuer, has presence and command of his box and defense.
He is no longer as prone to the mistakes he made as a younger keeper coming up with
Schalke 04. Now a very mobile and animated keeper who is a joy to watch and learn from.
2. Keylor Navas: a total revelation to many, however most concacaf/La Liga, players/teams already knew this? although he really impressed and took it to another level.
If one can imagine the attributes of Buffon, and Jorge “El Gato” Campos, fused into one.
Calm, cool, collected, yet cat quick and always in the right place.
Surprising reflexes, poise, and composure, Navas, was the backbone of a stingy Los Ticos, side (most trippy insignia/crest btw).
3. Sergio Romero. This Argentine GK, is unsuspecting yet imposing at the same time.
seemingly unimpressive, albeit steady reliable and quite sure.
As a poster had pointed out he has won many other championships and accolades so he has the internal knowing and wisdom of knowing that he can and has done much of this before.
But this is the WC, will he help secure a win on the grandest stage for team and country?.
I tried to find fault in Romero, and came away baffled like a Jorge Luis Borges, novel.
There are many labyrinths to his play, the nuances are subtle but in the end he is a steady rock,
just being there, present with an occasional flare for the dramatic waiting at any chance to tango.
4. Tim “Hulk” Howard: He is a cornerstone. Everton, and the usmnt, are fortunate to have his services. reliable and passionate, he enthusiastically inspires the team, while commanding his back line. Howard, is supremely confident and energetic in his play.
the only two lingering criticisms on a stellar career.
susceptible at the near post, and prone to going down early.
5. Courtois, and Lloris, about one and the same, and a good definition of a reliable, sure handed, and able international keeper.
6-10. Ochoa, Said, Enyeama, throw in the Chile, and Colombian, Gk’s and that’s about my WC top 10.
I’d put Howard in 6 or 7 place, he made errors none of the other 5 have made, in fact before the Belgium game his play had been very mediocre
sure romero may not be the best gk, but he’s won the u-20 wc and gold in the ’08 olympics, certainly not a horrible gk by any means. dude deserves some credit.
No one with any sense is saying he is bad. You cannot be a bad goalies and start for Argentina in the world cup. Most goalies at the world cup are good goalies. That being said, while I think that Neuter is the best goalie and the one who has played best, I would put Navas, Enyema, Howard, Courtois, Ochoa, and Rais above him easily. However, he went further.
It probably wasn’t the valor of all of those saves that got Howard excluded, it was the 6 goals he let in. Please don’t jump me to do bodily harm, I’m just offering an opinion. Regardless that I’m a Guzan fan, I’ve always supported and rooted for Tim for years and give his magnificent effort full praise!
Howard will be in the record books so whateva.
“Howard, who made 15 saves in the Round of 16 against Belgium”
I think Howard should have been nominated, but one of the criticisms I have read of him in the English pApers and a few non US sites is about his tendency to go to ground too soon. Specifically the Nani goal was mentioned and on one other occasion (forget which) Howard saved a shot and the writer said that the attacker ignored Howard’s tendency to go down.
Now I’m not sure what to make of that, but it did flash through my mind on the Nani goal that he should have stayed higher. In any case, if that is a common perception about him -right or wrong- it may have been the thinking behind the exclusion. (Just sharing the observation; don’t flame me about it!)
thanks for sharing. great posts in here
I just wanna say…
F*ck CBS for blocking the full Clint Dempsey interview that was posted on YouTube.
If Klinsmann would have played Julian Green instead of putting him in only for the last 15 minutes of overtime, in our last game with the score 0-2 and no hope for victory then one of the Frenchmen would not be on the short-list of Best Young Player.
Yes, I have not gotten over it yet. Why did he not play him sooner? Like against Portugal.
I do not know. Green took a fine goal and looked a good player, but it is difficult to say what kind of impact the situation would have on a 19-year old with so little match-exposure at the top level. The last thing you want to do with a youngster on such a big stage is to set him up for failure. Probably he felt that 2-0 down, with the game slipping away badly, it was perfect– no chance of the kid being blamed for anything, and plenty of opportunity to make a name for himself and ignite the team, which he did.
The good news is you can be quite confident now of seeing Green for years to come. JK obviously likes him, and Green did a lot to endear himself to skeptics with his goal.
Plenty of opportunity to make a name for himself and ignite the team?
Hogwash! But he did, forget about his world-class run+finish (with the ball coming over his right shoulder, a defender who caught up and having to make the kick waist high), he did ignite the team.
Julian could have done that earlier, when it would have meant something. It was Klinsmann and his ego, he was showing the DFB and Bayern Munich the best of the aggressive side of his passive/aggressive nature.
As fas as Julian being scared or intimated with the scale and bright lights, you can forget about that.
Relax, man. Nobody is arguing with you. Kid played great.
We aren’t arguing. I really want to know, why did Klinsmann not play him? Even in the 3 send-offs he subbed in for 27 minutes in only 1 of them.
Tim Howard said something about his maybe retiring from the USMNT. He said barring injury he will still be fit (play out his 4 yr. contract with Everton but not play any more for the U.S. He said it had something to do with the organization. It was an article on Yahoo.
I think Klinsi let his ego write checks he was incapable of cashing (it is his long-time MO you know). And everyone with the USMNT in Brazil knows it.
Thought we would see him in the 2nd half against Germany since many of them are Bayern players he would have felt comfortable.
You know, fine goal notwithstanding, I still don’t think he should have been on the squad. (Would he have done thAt against a defense that didn’t assume the game was done? I don’t know.)
BUT he is clearly a good player. And if Klinsmans had the balls to play him from the get go, I would at least have respected that. But he put him in at garbage time. And that tells me even Klinsmans didn’t think he was ready. So why was he there?
But he was ready. Forget about his goal, just remember how the whole team picked up their play. It was the only 15 minute spell the U.S. played like that in all 4 games.
btw, Klinsi gets some weird ideas and has his reasons, some of which everyone here would question. imo, Klinsmann knew Green was ready and he would have helped the team. Klinsi didn’t play him, (as you so aptly put it), til’ garbage time, for another reason.
the team picked up there play when Dempsey was moved back to mid where he belonged and go to touch the ball.
he may have been. But two things: Klinsmann clearly didn’t think so or he would have put him in before what appeared to be garbage time. And that criticism is directed toward JK. – He took a guy who had not made his case for selection AND he didn’t have the courage of his apparent conviction and play him. It was the worst of both worlds.
Plus, as Quit Whining points our, other things changed, not only Dempsey going to a more natural position, but Bradley as well. (and Bradley made the pass.) That again suggests playing out of position was a problem for us. Also, we cannot assume that because he scored against a Belgium defense that assumed the game was over, he would have scored against, say, Germany with the second round still in doubt.
Look – i Am glad he is in our program. And personally, if Klinsmann is given the high profile role of recruit players, etc., great. But he sucks as a coach… which more and more people will recognize once the excitement ofte h Cup subsides
Howard not making it is not shocking (his first two games were good, not great). Romero making it is a disgrace. He guessed right twice against Holland. Whoop tee doo. He has faced very, very few serious chances. Both Ochoa and Howard deserve to be ahead o him.
Sergio Romero is not a very good goalkeeper…
I wonder what the deal is with Argentina and Willy Caballero is… pretty dang impressive in that Malaga CL run a couple years ago..
FIFA has said in the past they like to nominate players who’s teams make it deep into the tournament. That seems odd to me because the awards are for individual achievements, and often the best individual performances come from players on broadly mediocre teams.
On the other hand, you’d like the players to be on teams that have played more than just the group stages.
James seems a glaring omission for young player. Howard I think should be on there, though I think it would have helped is cause greatly if we had progressed to quarters.
nm, apparently James is too old?
Agree here. Had we found the second goal, and made it through a shootout, Tim would be on the list and he would likely be the frontrunner. But that didn’t happen, and really his case is not ironclad, particularly with no clean sheets. Probably not a fair metric given the abuse he was subjected to, but this is a “bullet point” stat people like to see for GKs for whatever reason.
The Howard exclusion is a joke. He is better than Romero, at the least.
And how is James not also nominated for Best Young Player? Is it a mutually exclusive thing? Can’t be nominated for both Golden Ball and Best Young Player?
he is a year and half too old.
Thanks for the info!
Its not about who is the better keeper, its about who had the better tournament. I thought Romero was going to be one of the worst keepers in the tournament but he has impressed me and played well every game. He was key into reaching the final on penalties. That probably put him in the nomination. So going significantly farther in the tournament carries an extra weight vs one great record-setting game
That being said, i still rate Ochoa and Howard above Romero
Yeah, I rate Howard, Ochoa, Rais, Enyema, and Curtis above Romero.
And, 15/16 saves is not a good tournament?
I wouldnt give someone Golden Gloves for just one standout performance
One stand out performance? LOL!!! That would be Ochoa because he’s a joke. Kind of like your Portuguese side or like saying the Portuguese keeper is better than Howard LLOOLLLL???
Rui Patticio is prettyy damn good, if yoy dont think so, you dont watch soccer. not sure how being scored on 4 times with one man down makes you a bad keeper, especially vs Germany. And in what other game was howard the standout heroic besides Belgium?
Bot sure if you will answer though, you jinda sound like a troll or someone who is quite blindly biased
dinho, no, it’s one game.
hey Maykol, we certainly disagree at times but not here. good post man
and agree on Ochoa and Howard
Where Timmy !???
neur? The other two I can see, I can’t recall any spectacular saves he’s made
Is it if you make it to the final you automatically get nominated or something
Did you see his save at the end of the France game? Any of the times he came out and played sweeper? He entirely deserves the nomination, more than Romero at the very least.
Yea if anything Romeros the weakest of the three, but I wouldn’t even say Howard’s a clear fourth. Enyeama, Rais from Algeria and Ochoa all had equally good games and were much more important to their teams over all.
Timmy had one huge game and 3 others
Romero defiantly not in the top 5 keeper list.
Don’t forget Cesar
Ochoa is a joke. He is terrible at defending corner kicks. He had one good game where balls were hot right at him.
You can say the same about timmay. Except Ochoa didn’t make any mistakes while timmay had two
Seriously? Neur should win it, hands down. He hAs been so good he has had to make sVes. That’s not a joke. His ability to come out is mind blowing
he’s incredible, makes the amazing look routine
Navas was awesome, perhaps the most critical performances for his team’s overall success. Romero’s performance in the semi final alone makes him worthy to me, great performance. if Howard had been nominated it would have bee worthy but relatively early exit made him not make it