Brazil created a piece of history on Sunday by winning the FIFA Confederations Cup for the fourth time, and for the third time in a row. As the curtain falls on another exciting tournament, the traditional individual awards have now been handed out. Unsurprisingly, Brazilians feature heavily on the list of recipients.
Neymar won the adidas Golden Ball award, which designates the competition’s most outstanding player, while team-mate Julio Cesar picked up the adidas Golden Glove. Beaten finalists Spain can take some consolation from Fernando Torres earning the adidas Golden Shoe and the team collecting the FIFA Fair Play award.
adidas Golden Ball: Neymar (Brazil)
Influential and eye-catching throughout the FIFA Confederations Cup fortnight, Brazilian prodigy Neymar has been named the best player of the tournament. Having scored during each group-stage outing, he turned provider in his nation’s 2-1 semi-final triumph over Uruguay, before again hitting the net in spectacular style in the Final against Spain. In addition to his goals, the young striker was a constant source of entertainment, enthralling fans with his determined runs and mazy dribbles. Exhibiting strong shooting skills with both feet, great composure in the area and an uncanny ability to deliver accurate passes to team-mates in tight spaces, the Brazilian is also the only player to have earned four Budweiser Man of the Match awards since the beginning of the competition. He is a worthy winner of the adidas Golden Ball award.
adidas Golden Shoe: Fernando Torres (Spain)
Most football fans last saw Fernando Torres at the tail end of an up-and-down season with Chelsea in England. They will have been pleasantly surprised to rediscover a rejuvenated version of the Spanish forward in Brazil, despite Vicente del Bosque deciding to leave him on the bench during La Roja’s opening group clash with Uruguay. The former Liverpool star did start against Tahiti, and he put in a memorable display, scoring four times, before subsequently coming on as a substitute against Nigeria to notch his fifth goal of the tournament. Torres’ scoring run came to an end with the advent of the knockout stage, the Italian defence proving too strong in the semi-final (0-0; 7-6 on pens) and the centre-back partnership of Thiago Silva and David Luiz managing to subdue him in the final.
adidas Silver Shoe: Fred (Brazil)
adidas Bronze Shoe: Neymar (Brazil)
adidas Golden Glove: Julio Cesar (Brazil)
Julio Cesar had fallen out of favour at international level in recent years, but Luiz Felipe Scolari handed him a recall in the months preceding the FIFA Confederation Cup. The Brazilian goalkeeper repaid his coach’s confidence in style, putting in fine performances that ultimately earned him the adidas Golden Glove award for Brazil 2013. Conceding just three goals at the event, A Seleção’s last line of defence consistently demonstrated a high level of concentration and an intense desire to win. His team-mates were able to count on the 33-year-old custodian when it mattered, exemplified by his excellent save from Diego Forlan’s penalty in the semi-final. In the final, he was again in imperious form, denying Spain’s attacking armada – including adidas Golden Shoe winner Fernando Torres – at every turn.
FIFA Fair Play award: Spain
La Roja not only impressed with their skilful play at the FIFA Confederations Cup, but also with their sporting behaviour. This was never more evident than in the aftermath of their group-phase victory over Tahiti (10-0). Through their post-match words and actions, the Spanish players showed great empathy and decency towards the Polynesian amateurs. They were equally generous and complimentary following their defeat by Brazil in the final. Three years after winning the FIFA Fair Play award at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, the current European champions have again been rewarded for their exemplary collective attitude.