FIFA have announced the ten players who will compete for the World Cup’s most prestigious individual prize.
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FIFA have announced the ten man shortlist for the 2014 World Cup Golden Ball award, with Argentina superstar Lionel Messi and Brazil’s stricken forward Neymar heading the list of potential winners.
Despite this, however, it is finalists Germany who have the most nominees for the prize, with no less than four of Joachim Low’s squad potentially able to secure the award with a fine performance in Sunday’s final.
Mats Hummels, Toni Kroos and Phillip Lahm are all in contention, but the favourite from a German perspective must be Thomas Muller, who could also clinch the Golden Boot prize for the tournament’s top goalscorer with a goal in the final.
Messi would appear to be the most likely winner from Argentina, with the world’s best player still having an outside chance of lifting the Golden Boot, but Angel Di Maria and Javier Mascherano have also received nominations from Alejandro Sabella’s side.
Neymar, who was injured in the quarter final victory over Colombia but was one of the tournament’s stand-out performers beforehand, is the sole representative of the host nation on the shortlist after their humiliating 7-1 semi-final defeat to Germany.
The final two players in contention are Arjen Robben, who is the only Netherlands player to be considered despite their run to the semi-finals, and James Rodriguez – who will lift the Golden Boot award if neither Thomas Muller or Lionel Messi score in the final after a stunning series of performances for surprise packages Colombia.