JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - World Cup finalists Spain and Netherlands have five players between them nominated for FIFA’s Golden Ball award to the tournament’s best player.
Not surprisingly, top scorers David Villa for Spain and Wesley Sneijder for Netherlands -- both with five goals so far ahead of Sunday’s final -- are on the list of 10 nominees.
Spanish midfield maestros Andres Iniesta and Xavi also figure, while Netherlands’ wing wizard Arjen Robben was nominated too by world soccer body FIFA’s technical study group.
Completing the list are Argentina’s world player of the year Lionel Messi, Uruguay’s Diego Forlan, Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan, and German pair Mesut Ozil and Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Notably absent were some of the biggest names in world soccer who failed to make an impact despite high expectations, such as England’s Wayne Rooney or Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo.
There were no Brazilians on the list of nominees either, reflecting the five-times champions’ disappointing World Cup campaign which ended in the quarter-finals against Netherlands.
The gold, silver and bronze ball awards, which journalists will vote on, are to be announced after the final.
French playmaker Zinedine Zidane won at the last World Cup in 2006 despite his infamous headbutt in the final.
Editing by Jon Bramley