Australian football has been recognised for its huge strides in 2023 with a quartet of its successful Women’s World Cup side and the Tottenham coach Ange Postecoglou all being nominated in Fifa’s prestigious annual Best awards.
A trio from the Matildas side that reached the World Cup semi-final on home turf – captain Sam Kerr, Caitlin Foord and Mary Fowler – have been selected among the 16 who’ve been shortlisted for best women’s player.
Mackenzie Arnold is among eight players up for the women’s goalkeeper award, while Tony Gustavsson, the Matildas’ Swedish mentor, is one of five in line for the best women’s coach.
Postecoglou, who has made a spectacular start as the first Australian manager to take the reins of a Premier League side at Spurs following his domestic trophy treble with Scottish champions Celtic, finds himself in an elite group alongside fellow men’s coach nominees, including Manchester City’s treble winner Pep Guardiola.
Jenni Hermoso, the Spanish World Cup winner who said she received an unwanted kiss on the lips from football chief Luis Rubiales in the post-match celebrations, is among the nominees for top women’s player, alongside her teammates, the award favourite Aitana Bonmati and Salma Paralluelo.
A notable omission in the list for top women’s coach is World Cup winner Jorge Vilda, who was sacked by the Spanish federation last week.
Champions League winners Manchester City lead the nominations for best men’s player with six of the 12 nominees, including striker Erling Haaland. As ever, last year’s winner Lionel Messi is also on the list.
Best women’s player: Aitana Bonmatí (Spain); Linda Caicedo (Colombia); Rachel Daly (England); Kadidiatou Diani (France); Caitlin Foord (Australia); Mary Fowler (Australia); Alex Greenwood (England); Jennifer Hermoso (Spain); Lindsey Horan (USA); Amanda Ilestedt (Sweden); Lauren James (England); Sam Kerr (Australia); Mapi Leon (Spain); Hinata Miyazawa (Japan); Salma Paralluelo (Spain); Keira Walsh (England).
Best men’s player: Julian Alvarez (Argentina); Marcelo Brozovic (Croatia); Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium); İlkay Gundogan (Germany); Erling Haaland (Norway); Rodri (Spain); Khvicha Kvaratskhelia (Georgia); Kylian Mbappe (France); Lionel Messi (Argentina); Victor Osimhen (Nigeria); Declan Rice (England); Bernardo Silva (Portugal).
Best women’s coach: Peter Gerhardsson (Sweden): Jonatan Giraldez (Spain); Tony Gustavsson (Sweden); Emma Hayes (England); Sarina Wiegman (Netherlands).
Best men’s coach: Pep Guardiola (Spain); Simone Inzaghi (Italy); Ange Postecoglou (Australia); Luciano Spalletti (Italy); Xavi (Spain).
The best women’s goalkeeper: Mackenzie Arnold (Australia); Ann-Katrin Berger (Germany); Catalina Coll (Spain); Mary Earps (England); Christiane Endler (Chile); Zecira Musovic (Sweden); Sandra Panos Garcia-Villamil (Spain).