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Football - 27. January 2013.

Abby Wambach - FIFA's Golden Footballer

Abby Wambach: FIFA's Golden Footballer
To the surprise of very few football fans, USA's Abby Wambach has been chosen the 2012 FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year. Also known as the FIFA Ballon d'Or (Golden Ball), this coveted title is awarded to the best player of the previous football season. Lionel Messi was the men's FIFA World Player of the Year for 2012. The winning player is chosen by captains and coaches of FIFA's national teams, and by sports journalists and other members of the media. Brazil's leading player, Marta, was runner-up to Wambach, while fellow American Alex Morgan came in third in the voting.

Followers of women football around the world are familiar with Wambach's stellar performance in 2012. Over the course of her career, the 32-year-old forward has twice been an Olympic finalist, bringing the U.S. the gold medal both in Greece in 2004 and in London in 2012. Currently, Wambach plays for Western New York Flash in the National Women's Soccer League. Wambach is second only to Mia Hamm in all-time goals scoredfor the U.S. women's national team.

Wambach, one of the most feared players in the sport, has scored 125 goals, almost half of which with her head, an amazing achievement. Injured in 2008, she missed the Beijing Olympics, but she has made a remarkable comeback in the intervening years, with the London Olympics her crowning glory.

Wambach was perhaps the clear favorite for the 2012 FIFA award, but her runner-ups were impressive, as well. Although Marta couldn't bring Brazil past the quarter finals at the Olympics, she is credited for their their success up to that point. Alex Morgan, never satisfied just playing in her superstar colleague's shadow, scored goals that propelled the USA team to victory in the Olympic Games against France and Canada.

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