2014 World Cup Golden Ball and Glove Nominees
Update: Manuel Neuer has won the Golden Glove and Lionel Messi the Golden Ball. The Golden Boot went to James Rodriguez (Yaaaay) as the only player with 6 goals in the tournament.
The nominees for the World Cup’s two biggest voted awards, the Golden Ball for best overall player and Golden Glove for best keeper, have been announced. Here they are:
Golden Ball: Angel Di Maria, Toni Kroos, Mats Hummels, Philip Lahm, Javier Mascherano, Lionel Messi, Thomas Müller, Neymar, Arjen Robben, James Rodriguez.
Golden Glove: Keylor Navas, Sergio Romero, Manuel Neuer.
I would argue a few of these, but it’s a solid list. As always with FIFA, it’s heavily weighted toward the finalists, especially in the Glove nominees. Neuer certainly belongs on this list, but I have to disagree with Romero. He has really impressed me this tournament, but part of the reason for that is my very low level of expectation for him coming in. Argentina’s defensive power through the knockouts, during which they have not conceded a single goal, come down much more for me to Mascherano, who I’d pick today as my Golden Ball winner. Of course, the final is still to come, and a heroic performance from Messi or Müller could certainly win them votes. If Argentina can shut out Germany, a monumental task, I think it would be a crime not to award it to Mascherano.
There were so many great goalkeeping performances this World Cup that I don’t envy FIFA trying to pick three Glove nominees. If I had to, I’d probably keep Neuer and Navas on that list, but take off Romero for Ochoa. Tim Howard is a tricky one. As historically great as his performance was against Belgium, I wouldn’t put him top three in the tournament overall. I’d probably put him fourth, still above Romero who, again, has been surprisingly good but thanks to Mascherano, hasn’t needed to be great.
The third major award is the Golden Boot, but that one doesn’t come down to votes. Colombia’s James Rodriguez is still leading scorer of the tournament, but Müller is only one goal behind him and Messi one behind that. Technically, Arjen Robben could destroy Brazil in the 3rd place match and steal it, but it’s not likely.
I’m pulling for Mascherano for Golden Ball, Neuer for Glove, and James for Boot.