England star Lucy Bronze says she is ‘so surprised’ to be shortlisted for the Golden Ball – the award given to the best player at the Women’s World Cup.
The 23-year-old from Alnwick has been a stand-out performer for The Lionesses, who were knocked out in heartbreaking fashion in Wednesday night’s semi-final against Japan.
Bronze was taken off in the second half of the semi-final after suffering an injury. The match was to end in late heartache for England, who were knocked out by a freak Laura Bassett own-goal in the 92nd minute.
Yesterday, an emotional Bronze admitted that the nature of the defeat would hurt for a long time, but has since said the adidas Golden Ball nomination has left her speechless, especially as she is the only England player to make the list.
She said: “I am literally so surprised to have even been nominated for the Fifa Women’s World Cup Golden Ball award. I am so speechless and taken aback! But if I’m really being honest, I’m just happy to be representing the England team on the list. And although it’s an individual award, it is a real portrayal how far we have come as a nation.”
The other shortlisted players are Saori Ariyoshi (Japan), Amandine Henry (France), Julie Johnston (USA), Carli Lloyd (USA), Aya Miyama (Japan), Megan Rapinoe (USA) and Celia Sasic (Germany).
As well as the Golden Ball prize, there is also the Silver and Bronze Ball awards which will be presented to the second and third-best players. The result will be announced after the World Cup final on Sunday (00:00 BST, Monday), contested between Japan and the USA.
England face Germany in the match for third place on Saturday, which kicks off on 9pm BST.