From Down Under to the top of the world — the five Australians nominated for the prestigious FIFA ‘Best’ awards

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Australian soccer has been recognised for its huge strides in 2023 with a quartet of its successful Women’s World Cup side and the pioneering Tottenham coach Ange Postecoglou all being nominated in the FIFA’s prestigious annual “Best” awards. 

A trio from the Matildas side that reached the World Cup semifinal on home turf — captain Sam Kerr, Caitlin Foord and Mary Fowler — have been selected among the 16 who’ve been shortlisted for Best FIFA Women’s Player.

Mackenzie Arnold is among eight players up for the Best Women’s Goalkeeper award, while Tony Gustavsson, the Matildas’ Swedish mentor, is one of five in line for the Best Women’s Coach.

Postecoglou, who has made a spectacular start at Spurs as the first Australian manager to take the reins of a Premier League side following his domestic trophy treble with Scottish champions Celtic, finds himself in an elite group alongside fellow men’s coach nominees, including Manchester City’s treble winner Pep Guardiola.

Jenni Hermoso, the Spanish World Cup winner who said she received an unwanted kiss on the lips from soccer chief Luis Rubiales in the post-match celebrations, is among the nominees for top women’s player, alongside her teammates, the award favourite Aitana Bonmati and Salma Paralluelo.

A notable omission in the list for top women’s coach is the Spanish World Cup winner Jorge Vilda, who was sacked by the Spanish federation last week.

Champions League winner Manchester City leads the nominations for best men’s player with six of the 12 nominees, including striker Erling Haaland. As ever, last year’s winner Lionel Messi is also on the list.

Best Women’s Player Nominees

Aitana Bonmati (Spain); Linda Caicedo (Colombia); Rachel Daly (England); Kadidiatou Diani (France); Caitlin Foord (Australia); Mary Fowler (Australia); Alex Greenwood (England); Jennifer Hermoso (Spain); Lindsey Horan (USA); Amanda Ilestedt (Sweden); Lauren James (England); Sam Kerr (Australia); Mapi Leon (Spain); Hinata Miyazawa (Japan); Salma Paralluelo (Spain); Keira Walsh (England).

Best Men’s Player

Julian Alvarez (Argentina); Marcelo Brozovic (Croatia); Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium); Ilkay Gundogan (Germany); Erling Haaland (Norway); Rodri (Spain); Khvicha Kvaratskhelia (Georgia); Kylian Mbappe (France); Lionel Messi (Argentina); Victor Osimhen (Nigeria); Declan Rice (England); Bernardo Silva (Portugal).

Best Women’s Coach

Peter Gerhardsson (Sweden): Jonatan Giraldez (Spain); Tony Gustavsson (Sweden); Emma Hayes (England); Sarina Wiegman (Netherlands).

Best Men’s Coach

Pep Guardiola (Spain); Simone Inzaghi (Italy); Ange Postecoglou (Australia); Luciano Spalletti (Italy); Xavi (Spain).

Best Women’s Goalkeeper

Mackenzie Arnold (Australia); Ann-Katrin Berger (Germany); Catalina Coll (Spain); Mary Earps (England); Christiane Endler (Chile); Zecira Musovic (Sweden); Sandra Panos Garcia-Villamil (Spain).