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Podolski bags best young player gong
« on: July 07, 2006, 07:20:01 PM »

Podolski bags best young player gong

England fans rejoice as Ronaldo goes home empty-handed

Staff and agencies
Friday July 7, 2006
Guardian Unlimited

Germany striker Lukas Podolski was today confirmed by Fifa as their young player of the World Cup.
Podolski, 21, has scored three goals in six matches - two against Sweden and one against Ecuador - ahead of Germany's third place play-off clash with Portugal in Stuttgart tomorrow.

"I would have liked to have taken home another trophy - the World Cup - but nevertheless this is a great honour and will be a great motivation to become more successful," he said.
Podolski won the award, chosen by a 14-man Fifa panel, ahead of fellow contenders Spain's Cesc Fábregas, Argentina's Lionel Messi, Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo, Ecuador's Luis Valencia and Switzerland's Tranquillo Barnetta.
Holger Osieck, head of the Fifa technical study group, said: "He not only scored three goals, he was a key element in Germany's attack. He showed a great understanding with Miroslav Klose and the two players formed a very effective partnership."

It seems Ronaldo's antics against England and France counted against him when the judges came to make their decision. The Portugese winger was criticised for his behaviour surrounding Wayne Rooney's sending off, after which he winked at his bench, and was roundly booed in the semi-final against France - during which he blatantly dived in the penalty box.

Both Lothar Matthäus, the former German international who is patron of the award, and Fifa's technical chief, Holger Osieck, said lack of fair play had been an issue.

Matthäus said: "You will never have 100% fair play and maybe looking at Cristiano Ronaldo he was obviously doing something here. He may have accumulated a couple of minus points due to his gesture with Rooney but you sometimes forget what the laws are in the heat of the fight."

Meanwhile, John Terry is the only England player to make it into the World Cup squad of the tournament. The 23 players, chosen by Fifa's technical study group, includes seven players from Italy and four from the other finalist France.

Terry makes it in even though most commentators believed central defensive partner Rio Ferdinand had a more impressive tournament. Only one Brazilian makes it into the all-star squad, Bayern Munich midfielder Ze Roberto.

Squad: Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Italy), Jens Lehmann (Germany), Ricardo (Portugal). Defenders: Roberto Ayala (Argentina), John Terry (England), Lilian Thuram (France), Philipp Lahm (Germany), Fabio Cannavaro (Italy), Gianluca Zambrotta (Italy), Ricardo Carvalho (Portugal). Midfielders: Ze Roberto (Brazil), Patrick Vieira (France), Zinedine Zidane (France), Michael Ballack (Germany), Andrea Pirlo (Italy), Gennaro Gattuso (Italy), Luis Figo (Portugal), Maniche (Portugal). Strikers: Hernan Crespo (Argentina), Thierry Henry (France), Miroslav Klose (Germany), Francesco Totti (Italy), Luca Toni (Italy).

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