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Rediff.com  » Sports » FIFA announces World Cup's Golden Ball shortlist. Check out the 10

FIFA announces World Cup's Golden Ball shortlist. Check out the 10

Last updated on: July 12, 2014 09:11 IST

Angel Di Maria (Argentina)

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Four Germans, three Argentines, and one player each from Brazil, Colombia and the Netherlands were short-listed on Friday for the 'Golden Ball' award to the World Cup's best player.

The top ten list included World Cup finalists Germany's defender Mats Hummels, right-back Philipp Lahm, midfielder Toni Kroos and forward Thomas Mueller, who has scored five goals.

For their opponents in Sunday's final, Argentina, winger Angel Di Maria, midfielder Javier Mascherano and - inevitably - four-goal striker and captain Lionel Messi made the list.

Also included was Colombia's attacking midfielder James Rodriguez, widely considered to be the revelation of the tournament and top scorer so far with six goals in his team's run to the quarter-final where they were beaten by Brazil.

The other two players short-listed were Dutch forward Arjen Robben, who tormented defences throughout and scored three in the Netherlands' progress to the semi-final, and Brazil's Neymar, who played superbly and bagged four goals before being injured.

The list was drawn up by the members of FIFA’s Technical Study Group, which watched every match at the ongoing tournament in Brazil.

Headed by Jean-Paul Brigger, the FIFA Technical Study Group assessed the football played in each of the 64 matches. Its members are Gerard Houllier (France), Raul Arias (Mexico), Gabriel Calderon (Argentina), Ricki Herbert (New Zealand), Abdel M. Hussein (Sudan), Ka Ming Kwok (Hong Kong), Ioan Lupescu (Romania), Gines Melendez Sotos (Spain), Tsuneyasu Miyamoto (Japan), Sunday Oliseh (Nigeria), Mixu Paatelainen (Finland), Jaime Rodriguez (El Salvador) and Theodore Whitmore (Jamaica).

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The winner will be announced after Sunday's final.

Uruguay striker Diego Forlan was named best player of the South African tournament four years ago.

Up for the 'Golden Glove' award for best goalkeeper are Germany's Manuel Neuer, Argentina's Sergio Romero and Costa Rica's Keylor Navas, who underpinned the Central Americans' fairy-tale run into a first ever World Cup quarter-final.

The award for best young player is between France's Paul Pogba and Raphael Varane, and the Netherlands' Memphis Depay.

Appearing in alphabetical order, are the ten contenders for the prestigious 'Golden Ball', with an assessment from FIFA:

Angel Di Maria (Argentina)

In providing Lionel Messi with the best possible support, Di Maria has led the Albicelesteattack 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.

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Image: Angel di Maria of Argentina
Photographs: Paul Gilham/Getty Images

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Mats Hummels (Germany)

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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.

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Image: Mats Hummels of Germany
Photographs: Clive Rose/Getty Images

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Toni Kroos (Germany)

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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. 

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Image: Toni Kroos of Germany
Photographs: Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

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Philipp Lahm (Germany)

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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.

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Image: Philipp Lahm of Germany
Photographs: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

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Javier Mascherano (Argentina)

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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.

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Image: Javier Mascherano of Argentina
Photographs: Clive Rose/Getty Images

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Lionel Messi (Argentina)

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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.

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Image: Lionel Messi of Argentina
Photographs: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

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Thomas Mueller (Germany)

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Thomas Mueller (Germany)

In opening his campaign with a hat-trick against Portugal, Mueller 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.

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Image: Thomas Mueller of Germany
Photographs: Martin Rose/Getty Images

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Neymar (Brazil)

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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.

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Image: Neymar of Brazil
Photographs: Fabrizio Bensch - Pool/Getty Images
Tags: Sele , Brazil

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Arjen Robben (Netherlands)

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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.

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Image: Arjen Robben of the Netherlands
Photographs: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

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James Rodriguez (Colombia)

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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.

The winners of the adidas Golden Ball, Silver Ball and Bronze Ball will all be announced after Sunday's final.

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Image: James Rodriguez of Colombia
Photographs: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

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