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FIFA World Cup 2022: The Race for the Golden Ball

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  • Top Players target the highly coveted Golden Ball award in Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup.
  • Some of the stars include Messi, Mbappe, Modric and Griezman.

With the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup in the final stages, a few star players have performed well as they fight to earn the highly coveted Golden Ball.

Here at SportsLeo, we look at some of the top players battling for the award.

5. Achraf Hakimi (Morocco)

Achraf Hakimi celebrates after scoring the deciding penalty.|PHOTO: FanBuzz|

Looking anywhere other than on defence for a candidate among the Atlas Lions is the wrong approach.

This team’s defence prevented any opponent from Cristiano Ronaldo, Kevin De Bruyne, Alvaro Morata, or anybody else from scoring in five World Cup games. It saw them progress to the semi-finals.

Only Sofyan Amrabat and Hakim Ziyech have played more minutes for their team than Hakimi has at the World Cup. Hakimi is the tackle leader for Morocco with 19 total tackles, 12 of which were in the defensive third and 13 of which led to his team gaining possession. Never once has he committed a mistake that allowed an adversary to score.

For Hakimi to actually have a chance at winning this award, he’ll probably need to make at least one significant attacking play, and Morocco will also need to win the World Cup.

4. Luka Modric (Croatia)

Luka Modric.|PHOTO: Goal|

Given how many times they’ve overcome deficits to stay in the game, not just in this tournament but also in 2018, there may have never been a more resilient team in World Cup history than Croatia.

As a passer, Modric continues to be consistently accurate. Despite being 37 years old, he still plays for many minutes, and those minutes are busy because he is on the ball and frequently challenged or fouled.

Even though Croatia lost to Argentina in the World Cup semifinals, Modric left the competition with a good outlook after another impressive campaign.

3. Antoine Griezmann (France)

Griezman celebrates with teammates in a game against Poland.|PHOTO: FIFA|

In the win over England, Griezmann passed Olivier Giroud for the most assists in France’s history, but that was all he could claim from the contest because, shockingly, Olivier Giroud was awarded the Man of the Match award.

With six duels won, five passes into the box, and two assists, Griezmann was a completely dominant player who constantly tore into the England defence. While Griezmann was swarming through the middle and launching crosses into the box, England was preoccupied with Kylian Mbappe.

Griezmann may win the Golden Ball even if Mbappe scores one or two more goals if he plays two more matches like this one.

2. Lionel Messi (Argentina)

Messi celebrates against Australia.|PHOTO:CNN|

Messi once again shone with a goal and an assist in Argentina’s 3-0 semifinal victory over Croatia, continuing his dominance for his country at the 2022 World Cup.

His assist on Argentina’s opening goal against the Netherlands in the quarterfinals was a masterpiece. He later scored on two penalties, one during regulation to give his team a brief lead of two goals and the other to start off Argentina’s successful penalty shootout.

Messi scored the pivotal game-winning goal against Mexico in group play with a strong strike from 28 yards. He repeated the feat against Australia in the Round of 16 by scoring the opening goal with a perfectly placed, rolling shot inside the far post.

Messi, 35, doesn’t seem to be producing as many notable chances as he did ten years ago, but he still keeps defences on their toes. He is among the top players in terms of shots, expected goals, and shots on target during the World Cup.

You can guess who will leave with the FIFA Golden Ball trophy in hand if Argentina wins this.

1. Kylian Mbappe (France)

Kylian Mbappe.|PHOTO: Sky Sports|

Three players who would have likely started for France in this World Cup were lost to injury, but they still have the best player in the world performing at the highest level.

Mbappe has scored in all but one of the games he has started, and they have won each one. He was rested for the pointless third-group game.

Despite still having two games left, Mbappe is tied for the lead in the Golden Boot race with five goals, one fewer than Harry Kane needed to win the award in 2018.

Mbappe is the main reason why everyone should have known that even with the incumbent curse—wherein the previous three reigning World Cup champions all failed to advance past their groups in the subsequent cycle—and with so many significant injuries, France would still be a threat to leave Qatar with the trophy.

 

I am an ardent sports enthusiast interested in writing about football, motorsport and athletics.

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