FIFA Ballon d’Or honour goes to Japan’s Homare Sawa
Homare Sawa has been awarded FIFA’s coveted Ballon d’Or Women’s World Player of the Year for 2011.
Japan’s Norio Sasaki, who last year took his country to World Cup glory, won FIFA Women’s Football Coach of the Year for 2011.
The awards were decided after a poll in which the captains and head coaches of the men’s and women’s national teams, respectively, as well as international media representatives selected by French football magazine France Football, voted for candidates in each of the four categories. Each group’s votes represented one third of the final result.
Homare Sawa collected 28.51% of the total votes, ahead of Brazil’s Marta and Abby Wambach from the USA, who received 17.28% and 13.26% respectively.
The final three Ballon d’Or 2011 nominees were:
Homare Sawa (Japan)
FIFA Ballon d’Or Women’s World Player of the Year for 2011
Following last year’s victory after penalties over the USA in the World Cup final in Germany, the Ballon d’Or 2011 has gone to the captain of the current World Cup champions, Homare Sawa of Japan.
A midfielder and player with her current club INAC Kobe Leonessa, Sawa is a legend of women’s football. Her senior career began in 1991 at the tender age of 12. At just 15 she started with her national team against the Philippines, and scored no less than 4 goals. She has been a fixture of the Japanese team ever since.
Following her country’s success at the 2011 World Cup, she was awarded the tournament’s Golden Boot and Golden Ball.
Marta Vieira Da Silva (Brasil)
Photo: Paul Gilham/Getty Images Sport
Although the youngest of the final three nominees for this year’s award, Marta is an icon of women’s football, with great experience, limitless talent and countless honours and titles to her name. She plays for Brasil and, following a recent move, her current club is Western New York Flash.
In the 2007 World Cup, she was awarded the tournament’s Golden Boot and Golden Ball, despite her team losing in the final to Germany. She has also earned an Olympic silver medal playing for her country, and shares the record of all-time top World Cup goalscorer with Germany’s Birgit Prinz.
She has won the Ballon d’Or every year since 2006.
Abby Wambach (USA)
Photo: Odd Andersen/Getty
A forward and player with her current club MagicJack, Wambach began her senior career in 2002 with the club Washington Freedom, and in 2003 was selected for the USA’s national team in the World Cup.
In 2004, she scored the winning goal against Brasil to take gold at the Athens Olympics.
In 2007, she reached her100th cap when she played against England during the World Cup quarter-finals – which the Americans won 3-0, with the first goal scored by Wambach. She scored her 100th goal agains Canada in 2009, and to date, she has scored 125 goals for her country. She reached 100 goals in fewer games than any of the other USA footballers who have reached that milestone.
In the World Cup final against Japan, Wambach headed a goal home which made her the USA’s all-time scoring leader in FIFA Women’s World Cup with 13 goals – just shy of the joint record holders Brasil’s Marta Vieira Da Silva and Germany’s Birgit Prinz. She was awarded the tournament’s Silver Ball and Bronze Boot.
The other longlisted nominees were:
Sonia Bompastor (France)
(From left) Sonia Bompastor, Sandrine Bretigny and fellow nominee Louisa Nécib
Photo: Stéphane Guiochon
Kerstin Garefrekes (Germany)
Kerstin Garefrekes (left) and Kim Kulig of Germany during the FIFA World Cup, June 2011
Aya Miyama (Japan)
Photo: Koji Watanabe/Getty Images AsiaPac
Alex Morgan (USA)
Photo: Scott Heavy/Getty Images
Louisa Necib (France)
Lotta Schelin (Sweden)
Hope Solo (USA)
Photo: Johannes Eisele AFP/Getty Images