FIFA 2022 World Cup: How Qatar 2022 could have affected award hopefuls

With 2023 on the horizon, award season is in full swing. The Best FIFA Football Awards are about to crown the best of football, with footballers, coaches, fans and goals all set to be honoured at the ceremony in February. But how has Qatar 2022 changed things?

Players and coaches have made their presence known at this World Cup, but will it be enough to pip to the post those who have been in the limelight all year? It is not yet known who will be shortlisted for these awards, so all comments are, of course, purely speculation and excited conjecture.

Nevertheless, it’s time to consider how football’s biggest tournament might have impacted on its most prestigious awards.

The Best FIFA Men’s Player

Since The Best FIFA Men’s Player was first named in January 2017, Lionel Messi has only failed to appear in the top three once, winning the award with 46 per cent of the vote in 2019. Conversely, Kylian Mbappe has yet to feature in the final three.

Yet surely it is these two players who have most enhanced their reputation thanks to the World Cup. The final was not just Argentina versus France, but Messi versus Mbappe – and both rose spectacularly to the occasion. It would be a bold prediction to say neither will win the award.

But how about Luka Modric, 2018’s winner? The midfielder not only added a fifth Champions League and third La Liga title to his honours list this year, but also takes home a bronze medal after another series of influential performances on the world stage.

The Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper

Though Dominik Livakovic and Emiliano Martinez had the tournament of their lives – the latter taking home the adidas Golden Glove – will club performances still hold sway?

It could be too late in the day for their heroics to turn the tables on the likes of UEFA Champions League winner Thibaut Courtois – award winner in 2018 – FA Cup Winner, Champions League and Premier League runner-up Alisson – winner in 2019 – or Bundesliga stalwart Manuel Neuer, who was crowned The Best in 2020.

The World Cup’s influence cannot be underestimated, however, with Hugo Lloris’ second place finish in 2018 largely thanks to his World Cup winners’ medal.

The Best FIFA Men’s Coach

Perhaps the category where the World Cup will have most influence will be The Best FIFA Men’s Coach. Unlike players, coaches don’t tend to straddle the club and international platforms, with the latest national treasures going head-to-head with club custodians.

Lionel Scaloni and the formation of his World Cup-winning ‘Scaloneta’ have surely propelled the Argentinian into contention – just as Didier Deschamps managed in 2018 – while Walid Regragui’s accomplishments with Morocco should not go unmentioned.

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Carlo Ancelotti, fresh off the back of an indomitable year with Real Madrid, is perhaps the leading club candidate standing in their way.

FIFA Fan Award

Unique in that it is for the fans, voted by the fans, this is the award where you truly have control over who is rewarded for an outstanding moment or gesture.

As is tradition, the Japanese support set an example by cleaning away their litter following games, while Moroccan fans were praised for their vibrant, inclusive and effervescent celebrations. Could these displays of respect and rhapsody be among the most iconic moments of 2022?

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