2010 FIFA World Cup Golden Ball – Betting Odds
We’re midway through the tournament now, although the vast majority of matches have been played, so we now have a rough idea of who will be in the shake up to claim this year’s FIFA World Cup Golden Ball (Player of the Tournament). For irony’s sake, the last two winners have both been losing finalists while the last time a player won the award without actually competing in the final itself was Italy’s Salvatore Schillaci back in the 1990 finals. Make of that what you will.
Here’s our honest yet brief assessment of those currently in the running…
You could argue that without David Villa’s goals Spain would be sat at home right now, as the newly signed Barcelona hitman accounts for 4 of Spain’s 5 strikes so far, which in fairness is a meagre tally for a team previously touted as overwhelming outright favourites. Nevertheless, Spain are still plugging away and so long as there are games to be played for Spain, David Villa notably, then there’s opportunities for the stars to shine. So far, with five games down, David Villa has been the only player to really stand up and be counted, with perhaps Xabi Alonso an exception, the only exception mind as Spain have been well below par in South Africa.
So with four goals under his belt, one Man of the Match award and a tonne of plaudits, is there even a need to debate whether or not Villa is worthy of favouritism for the 2010 Golden Ball? We think so, as Spain aren’t looking like worthy champions right now, and despite facing a pretty easy last-eight opponent in Paraguay, the Spanish are certainly exposed heading into a difficult semi-final encounter against either Argentine or Germany. And let’s face it, Villa, no player for that matter, will claim the award without at least making the final, while lifting the trophy aloft is arguably imperative as well. Far too short if you ask me, although seizing the 2010 Golden Boot isn’t out of the question (Joint-leading goalscorer with 4 goals).
I don’t think there’s any question that Lionel Messi, whom is currently the best player on the planet, has stolen all the tournament’s limelight with his breathtaking displays for Argentina. Granted he has yet to even open his account, but the Barcelona maestro has been instrumental in dragging Argentina out of their qualifying slump and nearly into World Cup favouritism. He’s dazzled us with his runs, amazed us with his close ball control and left us sighing with genuine disappointment when his spectacular mazy run-and-shoot efforts don’t come off. Moreover, he’s had a hand in just about every Argentine goal thus far and hasn’t shown any sign of discontent at playing the role of assistant instead of stealing all the limelight with his abundance of goals, like he does for his club.
Argentina arrived in South Africa somewhat of an unknown quantity. You knew exactly who played for them, well almost, you just didn’t know whether or not they would turn up, perform and play to their full capacity. Two weeks in and it’s safe to say Argentina have come to play, with Diego Maradona’s charges leading the scoring charts with 10 goals in 4 games. They’ve been the most attractive and enterta9ning team of the tournament so far, haven’t looked for one moment like wilting under the pressure and are quickly shaping up as a likely winner. If they are to win, they’ll need Messi performing at the top of his game. He’s been there for quite some time now, in South Africa especially, and if he continues where the left off against Mexico, which was terrorising their defence, then we see Argentina going all the way, as will Messi as he looks to claim yet another major honour in what is shaping up to be a remarkably promising career.
If I’m being completely honest, I don’t see how anyone else can win the award from this point on. It’s difficult to see a player winning the FIFA Golden Ball without actually winning the trophy itself but no one individual has excelled other than the two mentioned. Mesut Ozil has been a bright spark in the German mix, although we don’t see the Germans getting their hands on a fourth title, Arjen Robben will no doubt have had a say were it not for injuries, but were he to mastermind a cunning victory over the Brazilians in the quarter-finals then who knows. We think it’s safe to avoid both Higuain and Fabiano as while goals have been easy to come by for the South American pair, neither have set the world alight. Higuain doesn’t even look that great a footballer but has proven to be a clinical and precise finisher, whereas Fabiano has spent large portions of every Brazil encounter as an anonymous character despite finding the goal three times, and who can forget his ‘dubious’ goal against the Ivory Coast, where he handled twice before later denying he had done so to the referee.
If you’re looking for an outside punt then why not have a dabble of Diego Forlan. The former Manchester United flop has played the role of play-maker, despite being a lethal striker by trade, to perfection and has played a pivotal role in guiding Uruguay, a team very few fancied beforehand, into the last-eight of the tournament. Let’s not forget that their opponents in the quarter-finals are that of Ghana, who have been plucky and courageous but far from inspiring. The semi-final is a real possibility for the South Americans, so much so that we think they’ll get there without too much of a fuss, so should Forlan bolster his tally for the tournament – Currently on 2 goals – then whose to say he won’t claim the player of the tournament award for his valiant efforts?
Current FIFA World Cup Golden Ball Betting Odds:
David Villa – 9/2 Bet365
Lionel Messi – 7/1 Bet365
Mesut Ozil – 8/1 PaddyPower
Luis Fabiano – 10/1 PaddyPower
Arjen Robben – 18/1 Bet365
Xavi – 20/1 BlueSquare
20/1 Bar the Rest
Lionel Messi to WIN the 2010 FIFA World Cup Golden Ball (Player of the tournament) – 7/1 Bet365
Diego Forlan to WIN the 2010 FIFA World Cup Golden Ball (Player of the tournament) – 33/1 888sport