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On a day when Spain winning the FIFA World Cup for the very first time is likely to draw all the headlines, there was also the small matter of some individual honours to be sorted out as the winners of the Golden Ball for the best player, the Golden Gloves for the best goalkeeper, the Golden Shoe for the top marksman and the Best Young Player of the tournament were announced.
Uruguayan striker, Diego Forlan, who carried the hopes of a nation on his broad shoulders won the big prize of being nominated as the Player of the Tournament, as determined by accredited members of the press at the event. The 31-year old Atletico Madrid man powered his team to the semi-finals of the World Cup on the back of his 5 goals, and was at the heart of almost every attacking move that Uruguay produced. Forlan narrowly edged out Wesley Sneijder in a really close poll, with David Villa coming third.
In an exclusive interview with FIFA.com, Forlan said, "It's as great as it is unexpected. I never even imagined something like this, nor did I have my sights set on it. As I'm a striker, I perhaps could have seen myself chasing the Golden Shoe, and in fact I came close. That would have been more normal. But to go from that to winning the prize for the best player... I'm enjoying it and I'm delighted."
Golden Ball: Diego Forlan, Silver Ball: Wesley Sneijder, Bronze Ball: David Villa
The battle for the FIFA Golden Shoe went down to the wire with one player of each of the four semi-finalists in contention. Ultimately, though it was 20-year old German forward Thomas Muller who walked away with the legendary award in his first ever World Cup thanks to 3 assists he provided in addition to the 5 goals scored. There were three other players who scored 5 goals, but each of them provided only 1 assist and hence had to make do with lesser honours. David Villa was declared to have finished second by virtue of having spent less time on the pitch than Wesley Sneijder, who finished third.
Golden Shoe: Thomas Muller, Silver Shoe:Â David Villa, Bronze Shoe:Â Wesley Sneijder
The battle to see who walked away with the Golden Gloves was a no contest with Spain keeper Iker Casillas running away with the honour having conceded just 2 goals in the entire tournament. Goals by Gelson Fernandez of Switzerland and Rodrigo Millar of Chile were conceded in the group stages, following which the Spanish skipper kept four consecutive clean sheets in the knock-out rounds to propel his side to the title. A penalty save from Paraguay's Oscar Cardozo and a save with his right boot to deny Arjen Robben in the final were just some of the memorable moments that Casillas produced. In addition to collecting the Golden Gloves, Spain also won FIFA's Fair Play award - though that did come under some scrutiny in what was a rugby style final which saw Spain collect more bookings than they had in all preceding games put together in the World Cup (5:3).
Golden Gloves: Iker Casillas, Fair Play Award: Spain
The final award to be announced was the Young Player of the World Cup, and it was perhaps the easiest decision of all with Thomas Muller collecting his second award of the night ahead of Mexican winger Giovani dos Santos and Ghanaian midfielder Andre Ayew. The award was launched in the 1958 World Cup, and the first ever recipient was a young Brazilian gentleman that flew to heights never to be seen again under the name of Pele!
Other Germans to win this award are the great Franz Beckenbauer in 1966 and Lukas Podolski in the 2006 tournament.
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- 14/07/2010 14:11 - Spain return to the top of FIFA Rankings, Brazil drop to 3rd
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- 12/07/2010 21:04 - TheSportsCampus.com's FIFA World Cup Team of the Tournament