FIFA released its technical report from the 2015 Women’s World Cup, which includes the all-star team selected by FIFA’s Technical Study Group.
It’s hard to argue with most of the all-star list, but the absence of United States defender Becky Sauerbrunn is an egregious mistake. Here’s the list:
Nadine Angerer, Karen Bardsley, Hope Solo
Saori Ariyoshi, Lucy Bronze, Kadeisha Buchanan, Steph Houghton, Julie Johnston, Meghan Klingenberg, Wendie Renard
Midfielders and forwards:
Ramona Bachmann, Lisa De Vanna, Amandine Henry, Elise Kellond-Knight, Eugenie Le Sommer, Carli Lloyd, Anja Mittag, Aya Miyama, Megan Rapinoe, Mizuho Sakaguchi, Celia Sasic, Elodie Thomis, Rumi Utsugi
Sauerbrunn was easily the best defender in the tournament. Her colleague, Julie Johnston, was a close second but struggled in the semifinal against Germany. Sauerbrunn never looked out of sorts in the seven matches at the tournament, positioning herself perfectly on almost every occasion and making goal-saving tackles on the rare occasion she needed to make up ground.
Sauerbrunn’s omission from the final list of players eligible for the Golden Ball — given to the tournament’s best player and eventually won by Carli Lloyd, who scored a hat trick in the United States’ 5-2 win over Japan in the final — was unfortunate but understandable. Johnston made that list, which is understandable as the center back tasked with more of the attention-grabbing tackles.
But to claim that Sauerbrunn isn’t among the seven best defenders at the World Cup is ludicrous. She firmly established herself as one of the best defenders in the world.