Sport | Other Sports

Del Bosque feted as Spaniards dominate

American Wambach wins Fifa’s coveted Women’s Player of the Year award

  • AFP
  • Published: 13:04 January 8, 2013
  • Gulf News

Zurich: Spain manager Vicente del Bosque was yesterday named coach of the year for 2012, seeing off competition from Real Madrid’s Jose Mourinho and former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola at a Fifa gala in Zurich.

World and European champion Del Bosque won the honour for the first time having lost out to Mourinho two years earlier.

“It is an honour to represent Spanish football and the Spanish national side,” said Del Bosque.

“I thank all the players - they make us [the coaches] better.”

Six Spaniards meanwhile made the team of the year for 2012, while of the 11 selected, Barcelona and Real Madrid provided five each.

The ‘Dream Team’ as selected by FIFPro, the players’ union, saw Atletico Madrid’s Colombian striker Radamel Falcao the only player to play for another club selected as La Liga made a clean sweep.

Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas made it despite being recently dropped by his club, marshalling a defence comprising Brazilians Dani Alves of Barca and Real’s Marcelo with Real’s Sergio Ramos and the Catalan club’s Gerard Pique in central defence.

Barca and Spain pair Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta were selected in midfield along with Real Madrid strongman Xabi Alonso, with Argentine superstar Lionel Messi, Ballon d’Or rival Cristiano Ronaldo and Falcao in a three-pronged attack.

Spain had six players in the 2011 line-up while Barca had five and Real four.

Losing out compared with the 2011 selection were Manchester United pair Nemanja Vidic of Serbia and England striker Wayne Rooney, replaced this time by Marcelo and Falcao.

Meanwhile, US football veteran Abby Wambach, 32, won Fifa’s coveted Women’s Player of the Year award for the first time.

The forward’s five goals in the London Olympics helped the United States win gold.

The Americans capped their London campaign with a 2-1 victory over Japan in the final, a win that was particularly meaningful after they lost to Japan in the 2011 Women’s World Cup final.

Wambach is the first American to win the award since Mia Hamm in 2002.

Wambach bettered Brazil’s Marta and her US teammate Alex Morgan in the voting, which is decided by a poll of captains, national team coaches and international media. Wambach earned 20.67 per cent of the votes to 13.50 for Marta and 10.87 for Alex Morgan.

“Most importantly, winning any individual award is a total product of the team that you play for,” the striker said.

“I’ve never scored a goal without receiving a pass from my team-mates. Thanks to all the fans out there who continue to inspire me and the rest of the team to win as many games as we can.”

Wambach began international football in 2001 when she was chosen for the under-21 national team. She also played with Hamm at the Washington Freedom during the short-lived US women’s football league.

With 152 international goals, Wambach is closing in on Hamm’s record of 158.

List of football award winners for 2012 after ceremony here at Fifa headquarters:

Ballon d’Or:

1. Lionel Messi (ARG)

2. Cristiano Ronaldo (POR)

3. Andres Iniesta (ESP)

Coach:

1. Vicente Del Bosque (ESP)

2. Jose Mourinho (POR)

3. Pep Guardiola (ESP)

Team

Iker Casillas (ESP) - Dani Alves (BRA), Gerard Pique (ESP), Sergio Ramos (ESP), Marcelo (BRA) - Xabi Alonso (ESP), Xavi Hernandez (ESP), Andres Iniesta (ESP) - Lionel Messi (ARG), Radamel Falcao (COL), Cristiano Ronaldo (POR)

Best goal:

1. Miroslav Stoch (SVK)

2. Falcao (COL)

3. Neymar (BRA)

Fairplay: Uzbekistan Football Federation (UFF)

FIFA president award: Franz Beckenbauer (GER)

Woman player

1. Abby Wambach (USA)

2. Marta (BRA)

3. Alex Morgan (USA)

Woman team coach: Pia Sundhage (USA/SWE)

Gulf News
Sport Editor's choice