The award recognises the finest goalkeeper of the World Cup - and you might have thought that the US and Mexico keepers, both of whom became global sensations for their heroics, would have made the list.
Howard in particular became, briefly, the king of the internet with an endless string of brilliant memes commemorating his staggering 16 saves against Belgium which almost guided his country to the World Cup quarter-finals.
— Kaiser Boles (@GeneralBoles) July 1, 2014
As for Ochoa, the Mexican keeper's brilliance against Brazil almost single-handedly earned a draw against the host nation in the group stage, and he also produced some magnificent saves in the last-16 clash against the Dutch.
— Eurosport.com EN (@EurosportCom_EN) June 29, 2014
So if Ochoa and Howard both missed out, who did make the list?
Top of the pile - and the likely winner - is Costa Rica's Keylor Navas, who was outstanding in keeping the Ticos unbeaten throughout the entire tournament - earning three man-of-the-match awards in give games. His men only went out due to the penalty shootout brilliance of Netherlands' substitute keeper Tim Krul in the quarter-finals.
Then there's Germany's Manuel Neuer - a fine goalkeeper, it has to be said, and he did make a string of fine saves to keep Germany in the tournament when Algeria threatened to overrun them in a gripping last-16 clash.
Neuer also pulled out two stunning stops against Brazil in the semi-final; though it didn’t really matter since all he did was prevent a 7-1 scoreline being 7-3 or 7-4.
Finally, there's Argentina's Sergio Romero. There's no doubting that he's a competent goalkeeper, and he's only let three goals in during the entire tournament, and two of those were in the dead rubber final group stage match. But he has also had the benefit of playing behind the tournament's stingiest defence.
But his inclusion is bizarre, and seemingly based solely on Argentina's penalty shoot-out victory over the Dutch after a woefully turgid semi-final. Considering that he'd have been able to doze off during that game without anyone noticing (and God knows, everyone else did) he must have been fresh as a newly-laundered daisy by the time the shoot-out started - so it's hardly surprising that he was able to stop a Ron Vlaar spot kick that was simply hammered straight at him.
- Sports & Recreation
- Tim Howard
- Guillermo Ochoa