Aside from the Jules Rimet Trophy, the Fifa World Cup final in Qatar on Sunday, December 18 (Today!) will see a slew of individual awards presented to players. Argentina captain Lionel Messi and French powerhouse Kylian Mbappe will compete for two of these awards as their teams seek a third World Cup title: Golden Boot and Golden Ball.
So, what exactly are these awards? How are they chosen?
The Golden Boot is the most straightforward of the awards, given to the player who scores the most goals in the tournament. If there is a tie between two or more players, the following criteria will be used to break the tie: The most assists and the fewest minutes played.
Messi and Mbappe have both scored five goals, but the Argentine has three more assists than the Frenchman. Messi, on the other hand, has played 570 minutes more than Mbappe (477).
Two other players who will compete in the final are also in the running for top-scorer honors. Julian Alvarez of Argentina and Olivier Giroud of France have both scored four goals.
There is also a remote chance that a Croatian or Moroccan player will challenge these four for the Golden Boot. Croatia’s Andrej Kramaric and Morocco’s Youssef En-Nesyri both have two goals, and if either of them scores a hat-trick in the third-place playoff between the two teams, he will be eligible for the award.
The Golden Boot was first awarded during the 1982 World Cup in Spain to Italy’s Paolo Rossi, who scored six goals. Back then, it was known as Golden Shoe. The award was renamed Golden Boot in 2010.
Since Golden Boot was introduced, the player to have won it by scoring the most goals is Brazil’s Ronaldo, who scored 8 goals in the 2002 edition in South Korea and Japan. France’s Just Fontaine, however, holds the record for the most number of goals in a single edition of the World Cup, 13 in Sweden in 1958.
The Golden Ball is awarded to the tournament’s best player through a subjective selection process. Fifa’s technical study group selects a few players, and the winner is determined by votes cast by representatives from various media organizations worldwide.
Aside from Messi and Mbappe, the other players in contention for the Golden Ball are Antoine Griezmann, France’s engine, and Luka Modric, Croatia’s talismanic captain, who won the award in 2018 despite his team losing in the final to France.
Golden Ball, like Golden Boot, was introduced in the 1982 World Cup. Rossi is the only player to have won both the Golden Boot and the Golden Ball in the same edition. Messi is in line to emulate him and also become the first player to win two Golden Ball awards. He was adjudged as the best player in the 2014 World Cup too.
Surprisingly, the Golden Ball has been won by a player who is not from the champion team in each of the last six World Cups. In fact, only Rossi, Maradona (1986), and Romario (1994) have won both the trophy and the Golden Ball.
Silver and bronze balls are awarded to the players who finish second and third in the poll, respectively.
The Golden Glove award was first given in the USA 1994 World Cup for the best goalkeeper. It began as the Lev Yashin Award, named after the former Soviet Union goalkeeper, and was renamed Golden Glove in 2010.
Though subjective, like the Golden Ball, the goalkeeper award is decided by the Fifa technical study group rather than by voting. In the case of a close competition between multiple goalkeepers, the ones who advanced the furthest in the tournament are usually given preference. The most saves and minutes played are used as additional tiebreakers.
The award for the best goalkeeper in Qatar is likely to go to one of Argentina’s Emi Martinez, France’s Hugo Lloris, Croatia’s Dominik Livakovic, or Morocco’s Yassine Bounou.
Germany’s Oliver Kahn is the only player to have won the double of Golden Glove and Golden Ball, in the 2002 edition in South Korea and Japan.
Young Player Award, Fair Play Trophy and Most Entertaining Team are some of the other prizes up for grabs. The young player award is given to the best under-21 footballer on show. Mbappe, at 19, won it in Russia 2018 and if he wins Golden Ball in Qatar, he will complete a unique double, signifying his rise from a prodigy to one of the best, if not the best, in the world.
Brazil has won the Fair Play Trophy the most times (4), since its inception in 1970.
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