World Cup 2018: 5 candidates for the Golden Ball Award
The 2018 edition of the FIFA World Cup is one that will go down in memory as one of the best ever. It has been a tourney characterized by on-field drama, pulsating action played amidst a carnival-like atmosphere.
The Giants have fallen early while the minnows have given a good account of themselves. 2014 champions Germany, 2014 finalists Argentina, 2010 champions Spain and current European champions Portugal are some of the giants whose overinflated egos have been punctured in Russia.
The host team; the Sbornaya gave a good account of themselves while certain teams like Morocco, Senegal, Japan and Mexico acquited themselves brilliantly.
One unique feature of this World Cup has been that some big players have stepped up to the plate for their nations (even Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo had reasonably ok tourneys).
However, some players have shown more than others and will be in the running for the Golden Ball (award for the best player in the tournament).
Here is a look at 5 players who should be in contention for this prestigious award:
#5 Danijel Subasic (Croatia)
Nobody would have thought the AS Monaco custodian would be mentioned among the best players at the Mundial. The 33-year-old has at no point been regarded as one of the better goalies in world football.
Subasic only took over following the retirement of former undisputed number one Stipe Pletisoka after the 2014 World Cup.
He has been at the heart of everything good that the Croatians have done defensively in this tournament as his aerial ability, leadership and agility have helped the back 4 be a more solid presence despite the presence of a notoriously shaky Dejan Lovren and the absence of a proper defensive midfielder in the team's setup.
His qualities have shown most though in the team's penalty shootout wins against Denmark and Russia as he kept out three penalties against the Danish Dynamite in the 2nd round (equalling a World Cup record held by Portugal's Ricardo for making three penalty saves in a single game).
He heroically soldiered on against the Russians despite playing with an injury and saved Fedor Smolov's penalty in the shootout which set the tone for Croatia's triumph.