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Solo, Angerer, Kaihori nominated for Golden Glove

Hope Solo, Kaihori, Angerer: Who'll win the FIFA Women's World Cup Golden Glove award?

July 3, 2015 By Michelle Bonsu
Both Hope Solo and Nadine Angerer have previously won the tournament's top goalkeeping prize, whilst Ayumi Kaihori will be hoping to trump the two top keepers in the world at this World Cup.

As this summer's Women's World Cup approaches its final stages, it has been nothing short of an entertaining contest in Canada. There were plenty of surprises and controversy along the way, as well as some of the most heartbreaking moments seen in the beautiful game. Four teams now remain: the USWNT, Germany, England, and of course, reigning champions Japan. Die Nationalelf and the Three Lionesses will battle for third place in the consolation match on July 4th, and a day later, the Stars and Stripes will hope to get revenge on the Nadeshiko in a re-match of the 2011 final as they seek a third World Cup title.

For three players, this will also present an opportunity to add another personal accolade to their trophy cabinets as the finalists for the Golden Glove have now been announced, with Hope Solo, Nadine Angerer, and Ayumi Kaihori all hoping to head home with the coveted prize. We take a look at the candidates and their performance at this tournament thus far.

Hope Solo: A titan between the posts for the USWNT

Hope Solo: A titan between the posts for the USWNT

2011 was a a bittersweet moment for Solo as she enjoyed success on a personal level but pure disappointment as her team had to settle for a runners-up medal after losing to surprise packages Japan. The now 33-year-old clinched a trio of prizes, including the Golden Glove, the Bronze ball, and a place on the tournament's All-Star team. And in her third World Cup, she has come back with a vengeance.

So far, aided by a strong defense anchored by Julie Johnston and Becky Sauerbrunn, Solo has conceded just one goal - during their 3-1 win over Australia. It was her excellent performance that kept the USWNT from losing against the Matildas and she came up big again during the team's recent 2-0 win over Germany.

Solo made a whopping 11 saves in her first quintet of matches prior to the game against Germany and has kept a clean sheet for over 500 minutes of action. In fact, should Japan fail to score against team USA within the first 30 minutes, Solo, who now has 12 saves in total, and her colleagues will have set a new all-time Women's World Cup record.

Nadine Angerer: Ms. Reliable for Germany between the sticks

Solo's primary competition for the Golden Glove is certainly 36-year-old Angerer, who has also won this prize before. During the 2007 World Cup, she came up big time and time again to not only help Germany to win their second straight title but also set a new record in the process by allowing a grand total of zero goals. Yes, that's right, zero. No other team has ever achieved such a feat since.

In 2011, she would have been bitterly disappointed not to be able to help her team to a third straight title as they were undone by the Japanese. However, in 2013, she made history by becoming the first goalkeeper - both in the men's and women's game - to ever win the FIFA World Player of the Year award.

Prior to this tournament, Angerer had announced it would be her last as she plans to hang up her gloves at international level. So far she has made 12 saves, including stopping France from advancing during the quarter-finals. She again had to be alert and several during the semi-finals against the USWNT as the no. 1 team's captain valiantly tried to keep her teammates in the game prior to Carli Lloyd finding a breakthrough in the second half.

Despite having conceded five goals - three in her last two games - Angerer's place as one of the top keepers in the women's game cannot be denied and should she help Germany to a third-placed finish against England she could still well be in the running for her second Golden Glove.

Ayumi Kaihori: Hoping to shake things up with Japan

The final nominee for the Golden Glove, Kaihori, raised some eyebrows in some quarters when her name was announced. Although the 28-year-old was the starting goalkeeper during Japan's 2011 World Cup win with three saves and deservedly earned a spot in the All-Star team as a result, she has not been anywhere as impressive as Angerer and Solo so far in Canada.

For starters, she only started one out of her team's three group stage games and made an embarrassing error that allowed the Netherlands to caused a late scare during Japan's 2-1 win during the round of 16.

Yet, since then, she has been solid for her team, including an excellent save against England to keep things level before Laura Basset's own goal gave them the win and a spot in Sunday's final. So whilst Solo and Angerer are the clear favorites for this prize, one should not underestimate Kaihori, who has made seven saves in her four appearances so far. And if any team is capable of pulling off the unexpected, it's certainly Japan, who showed the world four years ago that they are ready to mix it up with the heavyweights of women's football.

Indeed, should Japan again emerge victorious on Sunday, they will join Germany and USA as the third side to have earned two World Cup titles, and Kaihori, who will likely be starting will certainly be hoping to shake things up by winning her first ever Golden Glove award with a titanic performance against a familiar opponent.

 

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