2015 WWC: It’s Award Time!

3 Jul

2660467_full-lndFIFA recently announced the shortlists for the three (3) major Women’s World Cup Canada 2015 award categories. These lists were created the FIFA Technical Study Group (TSG). Why am I telling you this? It was the TSG which determined Messi was the best player and Neurer the best goalkeeper at last year’s World Cup. Uh huh. Still rolling my eyes hard about those selections.

Winners for the following awards will be announced on July 5.

Golden Ball: Best Overall Player

Saori ARIYOSHI (JPN), defender
Lucy BRONZE (ENG), defender
Amandine HENRY (FRA), midfielder
Julie JOHNSTON (USA), defender
Carli LLOYD (USA), midfielder
Aya MIYAMA (JPN), midfielder
Megan RAPINOE (USA), midfielder
Celia SASIC (GER), forward

Here’s where FIFA loses the plot from a statistics perspective. They log nothing on passes or distance covered or assists or tackles or [insert possible category here]. So how are they determining this award? *Shrug* At last year’s World Cup there were at least three times the statistic categories kept as there are this year. You could track with each game how the players were doing in comparison. Not here. All fluff puff. So I’ll be go fluff puff in my approach too.

My thoughts? Nice to see three defenders in the mix, and three excellent ones at that. Wouldn’t have minded seeing Renard in there too. It’s a rare anomaly for the winner to be from the losing team or a team not in the final. So let’s count Bronze and Henry out. Sasic scored six goals against young, inexperienced teams and then didn’t show up anytime it mattered; she’s getting the Golden Shoe unless Carli Lloyd scores 4 goals in the final game. Let’s leave it at that. If they wanted a forward, Ramona Bachmann or Kyah Simon were more deserving. I’ll drop Rapinoe too, as she wasn’t all that consistent and was overshadowed by her younger and more dynamic teammates.

My picks? Miyama (Gold); Johnston (Silver); Ariyoshi (Bronze)

Why Miyama? She created the most scoring chances of anyone (21 including two assists) and scored two goals. She greatly helped Japan achieve a 100% win record thus far in the tournament. She is a large reason Japan have the best team pass accuracy rate (82%). She is the first player to shake hands and console her opponents at the end of every match. She loves and respects everyone and everyone loves and respects her. Here’s a reminder, in case you’ve forgotten 2011:

Golden Glove: Best Goalkeeper

CI7zRFXUAAAGmY0Whichever team wins on Sunday will tell us the winner of this award. Which is ridiculous. Honestly, this category needs to just go away completely or drop to a shortlist of two. Everyone knows a goalkeeper not in the final has no chance in hell of winning. Which is, again, ridiculous. If this sticks around, let’s have best defensive player and best offensive player awards as well. They contribute equally if not more than goalkeepers to the scorelines. FIFA, get on it.

In this particular area, FIFA does have statistics we can look at:

Minutes played: Angerer (GER), 570; Solo (USA), 540; Bardsley, (ENG), 502
Saves: Boonsing (THA), 20; Berruz (ECU), 20; Diaz (CRC), 19
Save Percentage*: Solo (USA), 92.3%; Van Veenendaal (NED), 88.9%; Williams (NZL), 86.7%
(*dropped the 4 who played only 1 game, or part of only 1 game)

Here are some additional statistics I pulled together on the nominees:

Goals Allowed: Solo (1); Kaihori (3); Angerer (5)
Clean Sheets: Solo (5); Kairhori (3); Angerer (2)
Attempts, Total: Kaihori (71); Solo (58); Angerer (54)
Attempts, On Target: Angerer (18); Kaihori (15); Solo (13)
Attempts, Off-Target: Kairhori (38); Solo (27); Angerer (20)
Attempts, Blocked: Kaihori (18); Solo, (18); Angerer (16)

Does any of this mean anything? Damn if I know, but hey, numbers are always nice to look at.

My thoughts? Solo has had little to do because the defenders in front of her have been sooo damn good. Oh yes they have. One or two good saves coupled with 10 easy peasy ones don’t rate any goalkeeper in my top 3 or even my top 6. Kaihori has been pretty good, and was also helped out by her defense. She has potentially faced the greatest attacking threats due to Japan’s tactical formation. Angerer was also pretty good, and she had to be because she had an inconsistent (at best) defense in front of her (especially for the tougher opponents). It works to Angerer’s favour and detriment to have been involved in a penalty shoot-out though.

My picks? Angerer (GER). Kaihori (JPN). Fei (CHN), and not just because Twitter went crazy for this image.

Hyundai Young Player Award

CI7UoljWgAAOB1fBuchanan! Buchanan! But, wait, that’s my heart speaking. My head says, tough call! Tough call! Does it work against Hegerberg that Norway was bounced in the round of 16 and the other two made it to the quarterfinals? Possibly. She was arguably Norway’s best forward, popping up when needed. Tang may the least known name on the list but she’s a dynamo in the midfield. Just ask Netherlands. She launched 10 shots at them, five of which were on target and one which pinged resoundingly off the woodwork. Then there’s Buchanan. The heart of the Canadian defense. If this were decided by name recognition alone, she’d have it in the bag. Her name was on everyone’s lips from the opening minutes of the first game and never left throughout Canada’s journey.

My Pick? Buchanan.

Though Hederberg’s drawing skills make a strong case too.

What are your thoughts on the awards and nominees? What are your thoughts on my thoughts? No doubt my comments on the Golden Glove should generate some disagreement.

Oh, and the Fair Play award should be going to Sweden. They had only one (1) yellow card throughout the whole tournament.

– hopechaser

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