Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe are among the leading candidates for The Best FIFA Men's Player award after unsurprisingly being named on the 14-strong list of nominees on Thursday.

FIFA's awards ceremony will take place on February 27 and recognise the sport's high achievers from 2022 across several categories, with The Best FIFA Men's Player prize being the headline attraction.

Messi, who won the 2019 award and came a close second to Robert Lewandowski for 2021, will be the firm favourite after inspiring Argentina to World Cup success.

It was the Albiceleste's first such title since 1986, and Messi played a crucial role in the triumph as Argentina beat France on penalties after a 3-3 draw last month.

Messi scored five goals and set up another three to win himself the Golden Ball, and he nearly took home the Golden Boot as well.

Of course, his Paris Saint-Germain team-mate Kylian Mbappe won the latter prize thanks to his hat-trick against Argentina in the dramatic final, and he will likely be Messi's closest rival.

Had it not been a World Cup year, Manchester City's Erling Haaland might have fancied his chances of staking a claim after a sensational start to life in the Premier League.

Ballon d'Or winner Karim Benzema is among the nominees and may be expecting a top-three finish after carrying Real Madrid to another Champions League crown, though his lack of World Cup involvement could prove detrimental.

Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti is in the running for The Best FIFA Men's Coach gong, though Argentina's Lionel Scaloni will likely be the favourite of the five-man shortlist.

Argentina are also represented in The Best FIFA Men's Goalkeeper category by Emiliano Martinez among the five nominees.

For the women's prizes, Euro 2022 champions England have several nominations.

Beth Mead, Keira Walsh and Leah Williamson are all up for the players' award; Sarina Wiegman will be the favourite for the coaches' accolade; and Mary Earps is in contention to be named The Best FIFA Women's Goalkeeper.

The voting process will involve international captains and coaches, journalists, and fans selecting their winners in the various categories.

Voting closes on February 3 and FIFA will announce three finalists from each section thereafter.

NOMINATIONS

The Best FIFA Men's Player
Julian Alvarez (Argentina/River Plate/Manchester City)
Jude Bellingham (England/Borussia Dortmund) 
Karim Benzema (France/Real Madrid) 
Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium/Manchester City)
Erling Haaland (Norway/ Borussia Dortmund/Manchester City)
Achraf Hakimi (Morocco/Paris Saint-Germain) 
Robert Lewandowski (Poland/Bayern Munich/Barcelona)
Sadio Mane (Senegal/Liverpool/Bayern Munich)
Kylian Mbappe (France/Paris Saint-Germain)
Lionel Messi (Argentina/Paris Saint-Germain)
Luka Modric (Croatia/Real Madrid)
Neymar (Brazil/Paris Saint-Germain)
Mohamed Salah (Egypt/Liverpool) 
Vinicius Junior (Brazil/Real Madrid)

The Best FIFA Men's Coach
Carlo Ancelotti (Italy/Real Madrid)
Didier Deschamps (France/French National Team)
Pep Guardiola (Spain/Manchester City) 
Walid Regragui (Morocco/Wydad AC/Moroccan National Team)
Lionel Scaloni (Argentina/Argentinian National Team) 

The Best FIFA Men's Goalkeeper
Alisson Becker (Brazil/Liverpool) 
Yassine Bounou (Morocco/Sevilla)
Thibaut Courtois (Belgium/Real Madrid)
Ederson (Brazil/Manchester City)
Emiliano Martinez (Argentina/Aston Villa) 

The Best FIFA Women's Player: 
Aitana Bonmatí (Spain/Barcelona)
Debinha (Brazil/North Carolina Courage)
Jessie Fleming (Canada/Chelsea)
Ada Hegerberg (Norway/Lyon)
Sam Kerr (Australia/Chelsea)
Beth Mead (England/Arsenal)
Vivianne Miedema (Netherlands/Arsenal)
Alex Morgan (United States/Orlando Pride/San Diego Wave)
Lena Oberdorf (Germany/Wolfsburg)
Alexandra Popp (Germany/Wolfsburg)
Alexia Putellas (Spain/Barcelona)
Wendie Renard (France/Lyon)
Keira Walsh (England/Manchester City/Barcelona)
Leah Williamson (England/Arsenal)

The Best FIFA Women's Coach
Sonia Bompastor (France/Lyon) 
Emma Hayes (England/Chelsea)
Bev Priestman (England/Canadian National Team)
Pia Sundhage (Sweden/Brazilian National Team)
Martina Voss-Tecklenburg (Germany/German National Team)
Sarina Wiegman (Netherlands / English National Team)

The Best FIFA Women's Goalkeeper
Ann-Katrin Berger (Germany/Chelsea Women)
Mary Earps (England/Manchester United) 
Christiane Endler (Chile/Lyon)
Merle Frohms (Germany/Eintracht Frankfurt /Wolfsburg)
Alyssa Naeher (United States/Chicago Red Stars)
Sandra Panos Garca-Villamil (Spain/Barcelona)

Tottenham have signed Bethany England from Chelsea for a reported fee of £250,000, a British-record amount for a domestic transfer in women's football.

The previous record was the £200,000 paid by Chelsea to Manchester United in 2021 for Lauren James, sister of the Blues' men's player Reece James.

The biggest fee paid for a women's player in world football was the reported £350,000 (€397,000) spent by Barcelona to sign midfielder Keira Walsh from Manchester City in September.

England has signed a three-year deal with Spurs, who are eighth in the Women's Super League, 18 points behind table-topping Chelsea with a game in hand.

A part of the England squad that won the European Championships last year, the 28-year-old has scored 11 goals in 21 appearances for the Lionesses.

England spent seven years at Chelsea, scoring 74 goals in 164 appearances and winning nine major trophies.

West Indies Women suffered an ugly eight-wicket defeat with 87 balls to spare to England Women, who swept the series 5-0 on Thursday.

Manchester City's Alex Greenwood has penned a three-year contract extension, fixing her future ahead of next year's World Cup.

The 29-year-old, who signed for City in 2020, has agreed to extend her stay at the club until June 2026.

Greenwood, a member of England's Euro-winning squad under Sarina Wiegman earlier this year, has made 80 appearances for City.

"Feeling settled at a club for me is so important," she told the club's official website. "I just love being here."

"I have a really good relationship with Gareth, and the way he wants us to play marries up exactly with how I want to. It's the perfect match for me."

"We just want to keep winning football matches and trophies, which is what we expect of ourselves here. It's an exciting time to be at City."

Greenwood's secure future will prove one less distraction for her and hands a boost to the Lionesses, who will hope to replicate European success on the world stage in 2023.

Having lost the 2019 World Cup final with the Netherlands, boss Wiegman is looking to go one better next year, though she knows the greatest performance of a lifetime can still fall short.

"If you play your best game, like the England men did against France, [it could] be a win, could be a tie, could be a defeat," she told The Guardian.

"But you can be proud of yourself because you played at your highest level. You're going to be devastated by not winning, but at the end you can be proud because you did everything that's in your control.

"That's how I approach it. Don't always think of the result. We're not going to a World Cup just to play, we're going there to win."

The World Cup will take place in Australia and New Zealand in July and August.

Manchester City's Alex Greenwood has penned a three-year contract extension, fixing her future ahead of next year's World Cup.

The 29-year-old, who signed for City in 2020, has agreed to extend her stay at the club until June 2026.

Greenwood, a member of England's Euro-winning squad under Sarina Wiegman earlier this year, has made 80 appearances for City.

"Feeling settled at a club for me is so important," she told the club's official website. "I just love being here."

"I have a really good relationship with Gareth, and the way he wants us to play marries up exactly with how I want to. It's the perfect match for me."

"We just want to keep winning football matches and trophies, which is what we expect of ourselves here. It's an exciting time to be at City."

Greenwood's secure future will prove one less distraction for her and hands a boost to the Lionesses, who will hope to replicate European success on the world stage in 2023.

Having lost the 2019 World Cup final with the Netherlands, boss Wiegman is looking to go one better next year, though she knows the greatest performance of a lifetime can still fall short.

"If you play your best game, like the England men did against France, [it could] be a win, could be a tie, could be a defeat," she told The Guardian.

"But you can be proud of yourself because you played at your highest level. You're going to be devastated by not winning, but at the end you can be proud because you did everything that's in your control.

"That's how I approach it. Don't always think of the result. We're not going to a World Cup just to play, we're going there to win."

The World Cup will take place in Australia and New Zealand in July and August.

West Indies Women suffered a 49-run defeat to England Women in the fourth T20 International at the Kensington Oval in Barbados on Sunday.

The English batted first and posted 131-8, their lowest total batting first in the series, after winning the toss.

Sophia Dunkley continued her good form this year by top scoring with 35 while Katherine Brunt (24 not out) and Amy Jones (21) also had meaningful contributions against Cherry Ann Fraser’s career best 3-20 and Sheneta Grimmond’s 3-33.

The Windies chase once again fell short as only Captain Hayley Matthews (23), Shemaine Campbelle (17) and Afy Fletcher (14 not out) managed to reach double figures as England needed just 16 overs to bowl out the hosts for 82.

Pacer Lauren Bell was the pick of the bowlers with a brilliant 4-12 from three overs while Sophie Ecclestone and Charlie Dean took two wickets each.  

West Indies Head Coach Courtney Walsh still had praises for his players despite the loss.

"I thought restricting them to 131 was a positive for us. We had a couple injuries during the match with Gajnabi unable to return to bat and Campbelle getting cut so we were hampered in that aspect. The bowlers stood out today, they're all showing but the consistency we're working on. Fraser and Grimmond lead with the ball today but Afy and Hayley have been the most consistent for the series. We have one more game to play and we're going to regroup and come with one last push."

West Indies will have one last chance to get a positive result in this series as the two teams return to Kensington Oval for the final encounter on Thursday.

A spirited effort by West Indies saw them push England in a keen contest on Saturday night but the visitors secured a victory and with it took an unassailable lead in the five-match rubber.

England's Euro 2022-winning forward Beth Mead has signed a new contract with Arsenal, the Gunners have confirmed.

Mead was named Player of the Tournament after top scoring with six goals as Sarina Wiegman's Lionesses won the Women's Euros on home soil earlier this year.

Mead is currently sidelined after rupturing her anterior cruciate ligament in a Women's Super League defeat to Manchester United last month and will spend an "extended period" out of action.

Having put pen to paper on her new deal – the length of which was not disclosed, Mead targeted a successful return in the coming months.

"I'm so happy to have signed a new deal with Arsenal," she told the club's website. "This club is home for me.

"I've grown so much here as a player and a person and I know we can achieve so much more together in the years to come. 

"I want to compete to win the biggest trophies in the game and I know that the ambitions at Arsenal match my own, so I can't wait to get back onto the pitch and help to deliver the success our supporters deserve."

Mead recorded 33 goal involvements (14 goals, 19 assists) in 40 appearances for Arsenal last season and was named England Women's Player of the Year for the campaign.

Arsenal head coach Jonas Eidevall said: "It's wonderful news that we have agreed a new deal with Beth. She is a world-class footballer and has proven that on the biggest stage of them all. 

"I have so much admiration for the way she has handled success and adversity on and off the pitch over the past few years, and I'm sure she will approach the next few months with the positive attitude we all know Beth for."

England's Euro 2022-winning striker Ellen White has revealed she is expecting her first child.

White retired from football on a high note in August after featuring for the first England women's team to lift a major trophy during this year's home European Championships.

White scored 52 goals in 113 international caps, a record for a Lionesses player and a tally only bettered by Wayne Rooney and Harry Kane (both 53) across England's men's and women's teams.

On Wednesday, the former Manchester City striker posted an image of herself and husband Callum Convery on Twitter alongside the caption "Mum and Dad", revealing their child is due next April.

Another dismal display with the bat saw the West Indies Women lose the first T20 International against England on Sunday by eight-wickets at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua.

Batting first, West Indies fell into early trouble slipping to 38-4 after eight overs. Rashada Williams scored 23 and Chinelle Henry 21 helped the WIW get past the 100-run mark in the face of incisive bowling from Player of the Match Lauren Bell, who took 3-26.

Heather Knight, Nat Sciver, and Katherine Brunt each claimed a wicket against the hosts who limped to 105-7 from their allotment of 20 overs.

Bell then scored an unbeaten 59 from 34 balls as England raced to victory scoring 106-2 in just 12.4 overs. No West Indies bowler managed to claim a wicket as opener Sophia Dunkley and Lauren Winfield-Hill were dismissed by runout for 25 and 15, respectively.

A distraught Henry was critical of her side’s batting after yet another poor showing against their English rivals.

"To be three, four wickets down in the first 10 overs with no kind of runs on the board, that is where we fell short, since the ODI series we've been struggling with the bat,” she said.

“We just have to pick ourselves up and keep going. A couple of us got short partnerships going to get us to 100 but it wasn't enough. It was really good to see little Djenaba Joseph standing up against Katherine Brunt, facing her head on, and to have an Under-19 player in our squad so fearless is a move in a good direction for us."

The series now moves to the Kensington Oval, where the teams will meet for the remaining four matches on December 14, 17, 18 and 22. All matches start at 6:00pm Eastern Caribbean/ 5:00pm Jamaica time.

Two members of the West Indies Women U19 squad have been included in a 14-member squad set to face England Women in the first two T20 Internationals at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua on December 11 and at the Kensington Oval in Barbados on December 14.

Djenaba Joseph and Trishan Holder have been called up as replacements for Shakera Selman, who has been ruled out and Chedean Nation, who sustained injuries during in the CG United ODI series that the home side lost 3-0.

Joseph and Holder are currently in Antigua for a high-performance camp with the U19 Rising Stars ahead of the ICC Women’s U19 World Cup in South Africa in January 2023.

Meanwhile, off-spinner Karishma Ramharack returns to the squad after missing the CG United ODI series due to injury.

“The upcoming T20 series is vitally important as the team continues its preparations for the World Cup in February 2023. With some of the senior players missing out through injury, it is an ideal opportunity for the other players to start cementing a place in the World Cup team,” said lead selector Ann Browne-John.

Full squad: Hayley Matthews (Captain), Shemaine Campbelle (Vice Captain), Aaliyah Alleyne, Afy Fletcher, Cherry Ann Fraser, Shabika Gajnabi, Sheneta Grimmond, Chinelle Henry, Trishan Holder, Djenaba Joseph, Kycia Knight, Karishma Ramharack, Kaysia Schultz and Rashada Williams.

 

England Women completed a 151-run victory in the third CG United ODI against the West Indies women, to claim a 3-0 series clean sweep at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua.

Head Coach Courtney Walsh told CWI Media,”It was a poor series by us, we didn’t play the type of cricket we wanted to play, England outplayed us. I know we can play better cricket than that, so I am disappointed. We bowled and fielded better in the last two matches; we have to focus everything now on the T20 series.”

Walsh added, “We have to make sure we get something out of this series as we have a tri-series and World Cup early next year. What is pleasing to me is the bowling we were able to rally in the last two games. I am pleased with Hayley’s captaincy and her rotation of bowlers. The highlight was Rashada Williams have two good peformances with the bat. And the debut of Kaysia Schultz, she’s been around the team for a long time so we wanted to see how she performed so it was very pleasing to see her get the two early wickets, she will only get better from this exposure and experience.”

Scores: England Women 256 all out from 43.3 overs (Nat Sciver 85, Amy Jones 32, Shakera Selman 3-29, Hayley Matthews 3-56) West Indies Women 105-9 (Hayley Matthews 28, Sophie Ecclestone 3-9, Nat Sciver 2-16).

Sciver finished with 180 runs from three innings and was named player of the series.

The five-game T20I series bowls off on Sunday at the same venue.

West Indies Women’s coach Courtney Walsh has lamented another poor performance with the bat by the team that suffered another massive loss to England Women at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua on Tuesday.

After bowling England out for 260, the West Indies Women were skittled out for a 118 in just 31.3 overs to lose by 142 runs, a similar margin to the loss in the first ODI on Sunday in which England made 307-7 and then bowled the home side out for 165.

The result means England takes an unassailable 2-0 lead in the CG United One Day International series.

“In both games we haven’t batted well,” Walsh said after Tuesday’s humiliating defeat. “We were a lot better with the ball in this game on a good batting track and for the score where we had them at 260, I thought we would have batted better.”

Walsh reserved praise for Rashada Williams, who stood out among the batters.

“We lost those early wickets and just never recovered,” he said.

“The batters can take a lot from Rashada’s performance. I am pleased with how she went about it and showed that it can be done. We have a lot at stake with one game remaining and we need to get championship points. Our momentum is good but performance and execution, we have to try and get better.”

Batting first, England owed their competitive score to Amy Jones, who scored an unbeaten 70 and Sophia Dunkley’s unbeaten 57 as the local bowlers restricted England’s ability to build big partnerships.

Leading from the front Hayley Matthews took 3-50 and was supported by Afy Fletcher, who returned figures of 2-41 and Aaliyah Alleyne 2-47.

The West Indies Women’s reply got off to a disastrous start losing four wickets inside the first four overs with just eight runs on the board.

Williams offered the only real resistance with an unbeaten 54 that allowed the West Indies Women to push past 100 runs. Chedean Nation and Chinelle Henry with scores of 17 and 13, respectively, were the only other batters in double figures as Lauren Bell wreaked havoc taking 4-33.

Charlie Dean took 2-9 and there were also two wickets each for Sophie Ecclestone (2-25) and Kate Cross (2-35) in the rout.

The teams meet again on Friday, December 9 at the same venue.

The West Indies Women have been docked 40 percent of their match fee for a slow over rate against England in the first ODI in Antigua on Sunday.

England triumphed in the match by a massive 142 runs after amassing 307 in addition to the loss, however, the ICC match referees imposed the sanction after the West Indies were found to be two overs short of the target after time after allowances were taken into consideration.

West Indies Women’s team captain Hayley Matthews pleaded no contest to the charges and as such there will be no need for a formal hearing.

Based on Article 2.22 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel, which relates to minimum over-rate offences, players are fined 20 per cent of their match fee for every over their side fails to bowl in the allotted time.

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