FIFA World Cup Winners Germany, Real Madrid and Mercedes AMG Petronas among Favourites for Nominatio
January 20, 2015
An exciting year of sport has set up a fascinating contest for the 2015 Laureus World Team of the Year Award, including a classic football battle – the triumphant Germany FIFA World Cup Team v Real Madrid, winner of a record tenth European Cup/Champions League.
Six Nominees for the prestigious Award will be announced on February 11, after a vote by the world’s media. Also hoping to make the shortlist are some of the most talented teams in world sport, including the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team, San Antonio Spurs, winners of the NBA Basketball Finals, Toulon, winners of rugby’s European title for the second straight year and the European Ryder Cup Team.
Also in the mix could be the Switzerland Davis Cup tennis team, inspired by Roger Federer, which won the Davis Cup for the first time in their history in 2014.
The six Nominees for the Laureus World Team of the Year Award are voted for by the Laureus Global Media Selection Panel, comprising leading sports editors, sports writers, broadcasters and online journalists from around the world. The eventual winner will then be chosen from that shortlist in a secret ballot by the 47 members of the Laureus World Sports Academy - the living legends of sport honouring the greatest athletes of today – and revealed at the Laureus World Sports Awards Ceremony in Shanghai on April 15.
The Germany Men’s Football Team will be many people’s favourites for Nomination after they became the first European team to win the FIFA World Cup in South America. It was Germany’s fourth World Cup win. Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer won the Golden Glove award and was on the shortlist for the Ballon d’Or/ FIFA World Player of the Year award, while manager Joachim Löw was named Coach of the Year. Captain Philipp Lahm, Mats Hummels and Thomas Müller were all named in the FIFA Team of the Tournament.
Real Madrid achieved their dream of a tenth Champions League/European Cup victory – la decima – after a tense final in Lisbon. Atletico Madrid were winning 1-0 when defender Sergio Ramos scored in the 93rd minute to take the match into extra time. Real Madrid eventually won 4-1 with goals from Gareth Bale, Marcelo and a penalty from Cristiano Ronaldo, his record 17th Champions League goal of the season. Ronaldo won the Ballon d’Or for the second straight time as FIFA World Player of the Year. It was manager Carlo Ancelotti’s third Champions League victory.
Laureus World Sports Academy Member Marcel Desailly, himself a FIFA World Cup winner with France and Champions League winner with Olympique Marseille and AC Milan, said: “You can make a very good case for both Germany and Real Madrid being the Team of the Year. I certainly believe that they will both be nominated. Germany’s World Cup success in Brazil was remarkable, especially the 7-1 semi-final victory over Brazil. You have to give Joachim Löw so much praise for creating the team and then delivering success in South America, which has not always been an easy place for European teams to win.
“Of course Real Madrid have written a new chapter in their history, with their record tenth European Cup victory, and the quality they have in their team is very special. I love to watch them play. They have some spectacular players and a very good manager in Carlo Ancelotti. It was not a perfect domestic season for them, they did not win La Liga, but for their supporters it was a year to remember.”
With brilliant drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG Petronas won their first Constructors World Championship as a works team. During the year Hamilton won 11 races and Rosberg five. On 11 occasions the two finished 1-2. Led by principal Toto Wolff, technical director Paddy Lowe and former world champion Niki Lauda, the team finished with 701 points, with nearest rivals Red Bull on 405.
On two wheels, the Repsol Honda MotoGP Team, with their outstanding riders Marc Márquez and Dani Pedrosa, secured a fourth straight Constructors’ World MotoGP Championship. It was Honda’s 21st title in the senior class. Márquez added to the team’s success by winning his second individual world title.
San Antonio Spurs head a strong line-up of potential Nominees from the United States. The Spurs won the NBA Championship for the fifth time, beating a Miami Heat side, which included LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, three times in six days to win the best-of-seven series final 4-1.
Under coach Darryl Sutter, the Los Angeles Kings won their second Stanley Cup ice hockey title in three years, after the longest game in their history. In the final match of the Play-offs with scores tied, Alec Martinez scored 14:43 minutes into the second overtime to secure a 3-2 victory over New York Rangers.
San Francisco Giants beat Kansas City Royals to win baseball’s World Series 4-3 for their third title in five years. Madison Bumgarner pitched 21 innings in the series, earning two wins and a five-inning save and was named MVP. They are the first wild card team in the Play-offs to finish as champions.
Seattle Seahawks beat Denver Broncos 43-8 in a one-sided contest to win their first ever Super Bowl last year, thanks to a defence rated one of the best ever. Denver’s celebrated quarterback Peyton Manning was outplayed by relatively inexperienced Russell Wilson.
The United States Men’s Basketball Team produced a dominant performance to win the World Cup, beating Serbia 129-92 in the final. In its nine games, the average margin of victory was 33 points. US guard Kyrie Irving was rewarded for his impressive tournament with the Most Valuable Player award.
Under the captaincy of Paul McGinley, the European Ryder Cup Team won the biennial golf match 16½-11½ against the United States at Gleneagles. It was Europe’s third straight victory and their sixth in the last seven matches. Jamie Donaldson, Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy and Henrik Stenson were Europe’s leading scorers with three points each.
When Roger Federer defeated Richard Gasquet of France 6-4 6-2 6-2, in front of a record 27,448 crowd in Lille, it ensured the first ever Davis Cup win for his country. The Switzerland Davis Cup Team had played and lost one previous final in 1992 when Federer was 11. Now 33, he said: "This is not for me, I have won enough. I am just happy we can give everyone in our country a historic moment."
Under coach Bernard Laporte, Toulon established themselves as the most successful rugby club in the Northern Hemisphere after beating Saracens 23-6 to win the Heineken European Cup for the second straight year. Toulon also won the French Championship a week later. One of the stars of Toulon’s success was England’s Jonny Wilkinson, playing in his final season.
The England Women’s Rugby Team ended a run of three successive final defeats to win the Rugby World Cup with a hard-fought 21-9 win over Canada in Paris. England’s hero was Emily Scarratt who scored 16 points.
In the 2013/14 Ashes series, the Australia Men’s Cricket Team defeated England 5-0 to move up to third in the world rankings. They followed this by beating No.1 ranked team South Africa 2-1 to move up to second. Star player was fast bowler Mitchell Johnson, who was named ICC Cricketer of the Year for the second time and was also named the ICC Test Cricketer of the Year. Johnson took 59 wickets in the two series at an average of 15.23. They also finished the year first in the One Day International rankings.