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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Here are the ten finalists for the player of the year award for 2012:

Camille Abily, France
Deployed as a substitute for most of the Olympics, Camille Abily shone primarily at club level this year, with Lyon achieving a stunning triple of UEFA Women’s Champions League, French league and French Cup. The Lyon midfielder was voted the most outstanding player of the Champions League final against Frankfurt (2-0).

Miho Fukumoto, Japan
The Japan goalkeeper was a substitute in Germany 2011 after having been first choice at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2007, but was reinstated to the team for the Olympic Games. She kept a clean sheet in the quarter-final against Brazil (2-0) and helped her side to defeat France 2-1 in the semi-final before she and her team succumbed to the USA in the final (2-1).

Carli Lloyd, USA
The Japanese were right to be mindful of the threat posed by Lloyd, who had scored the only goal of the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament final against Brazil in 2008, in extra time. Four years later, she went one better, notching a brilliant brace as the USA beat the Nadeshiko 2-1 in the final. A player who rises to the big occasion, Carli Lloyd is a lynchpin of the American midfield.

Marta, Brazil
As in the FIFA Women’s World Cup the year before, Marta was unable to take Brazil beyond the quarter-finals. Although she had scored four goals in Germany 2011, the five-time FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year managed to find the back of the net just twice this time around, both goals coming in a 5-0 win over Cameroon. However, she has had more success with Swedish club Tyresö, whom she joined at the beginning of the year and with whom she is aiming to wrestle the league title from holders Malmö.

Aya Miyama, Japan
France have surely not forgotten the two free kicks taken by Aya Miyama that led to Japan’s two goals in the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament. Highly accomplished in dead-ball situations, the Japan captain is the jewel in the crown of the world champions’ midfield.

Alex Morgan, USA
Now a first-choice striker alongside Abby Wambach, Alex Morgan has fulfilled the promise shown at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011, where she was the USA’s secret weapon. Her 2012 Olympic highlights include two goals in the 4-2 group-stage match win over France and her decisive goal in the 123rd minute of the thrilling 4-3 semi-final victory over Canada. An under-20 world champion in 2008, Alex Morgan made five assists at the London Games and received the American Sportswoman of the Year Award.

Megan Rapinoe, USA
Plagued by knee injuries in the early part of her career, Megan Rapinoe has certainly made up for lost time since. Although she only started two matches at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011, setting up a vital goal for Wambach against Brazil in the process (2-2, 5-3 PSO), this winger was in the starting line-up for all her team’s matches at the Olympics. She took full advantage, scoring three goals and providing three assists

Homare Sawa, Japan
2011 proved to be an exceptional year for Homare Sawa, who was voted FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year thanks to her outstanding performances at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, where she scored five goals. Although she failed to find the back of the net at the Olympics, where her influence was more subtle, the Nadeshiko midfielder remains a key element of her team.

Christine Sinclair, Canada
Her semi-final performance in the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament stunned the USA, although her incredible hat-trick was ultimately not enough to overcome the resilient Americans, who prevailed 4-3 [or the incompetent FIFA refereeing]. Nevertheless, London 2012 was a highly positive event for the Canadian striker, who received a bronze medal and was top scorer with six goals. She formed a formidable duo in attack with Melissa Tancredi, who weighed in with four goals and two assists.

Abby Wambach, USA
As is her wont, this powerful American striker was a perpetual thorn in the side of defences at the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament, from which she emerged with impressive statistics. Her five goals and fine understanding with Morgan and Rapinoe were crucial to the Americans’ triumph at the tournament.
 

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I wonder when they did these introductions about each player nominated as the one about Marta is really outdated. The Swedish league ended almost one month ago and Marta did win it (again) this time with Tyresö. She only scored 12 goals, very far from the 21 of the top scorer Anja Mittag from Germany, but she was the "Queen of Assists" with 16, almost the double of the second placed.

Strange not to see Lotta Schelin as one of the nominated as she was crucial to Lyon's CL win.
 

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based on the Olympics alone Sinclair deserved to be in the final three ahead of Marta, but I don't follow women's club football
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The Ballon D’Or reflects the FIFA voters. That is, it reflects the FIFA establishment. National-team captains and handpicked members of the media are going to look at the four-game ban and vote to keep Sinclair out. Once you are in the FIFA circle, it’s rare to go outside the norm.

As well, there are plenty of voters who focus on the men’s game in Europe and don’t see much else. How many of the captains or media watched the women’s Olympic tournament. So, they’ll see the list, vote for usual suspects and the first thing they’ll remember about Sinclair is “oh, yeah, didn’t FIFA suspend her?”

By refusing to beg for forgiveness, by sticking to her guns, Sinclair has made herself an outsider. Even though Sinclair put together a remarkable season, even though her coach has been internationally hailed for the work he’s done, their punishments continue.

Sinclair got more than a four-game ban. It’s clear that her punishment also included an exclusion from the Ballon D’Or.
- Steven Sandor
 
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