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Notes: Lionel Messi named World Cup’s best player

Argentina’s Lionel Messi reacted after losing the 2014 World Cup to Germany.
Argentina’s Lionel Messi reacted after losing the 2014 World Cup to Germany.(AFP/Getty Images)

RIO DE JANEIRO — Lionel Messi has received the award for best player of the World Cup, minutes after his Argentina team lost the final, 1-0, to Germany Sunday.

Messi was selected ahead of Thomas Mueller of Germany and Netherlands forward Arjen Robben by FIFA’s technical study group of coaching analysts.

Germany’s Manuel Neuer collected the best goalkeeper prize.

PHOTOS: World Cup final

James Rodriguez of Colombia got the golden boot award as top scorer with six goals. Mueller was second, with five goals.

The best young player award went to Paul Pogba of France.

As he has done on many occasions both for Argentina and club team Barcelona, Messi vomited during Sunday’s final.

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Despite several medical tests, Argentina and Barcelona team doctors haven’t been able to find the cause of Messi’s problem.

The striker has played it down, and it doesn’t appear to affect his performance. Messi has gone on to score in several matches after throwing up on the field.

Concussion concerns

Germany midfielder Christoph Kramer’s head injury in the final has revived concern about the way football deals with concussions.

It was the latest in a series of head injuries at the World Cup that appeared to have not been properly checked.

Kramer continued playing for 14 minutes in the first half after taking a heavy blow to the face in a collision with Argentina defender Ezequiel Garay. The 23-year-old Kramer was eventually replaced in the 31st minute after slumping to the ground and the German football federation said he had a suspected concussion. It didn’t give any more details.

Kramer appeared to be disorientated when helped off the field by medical staff.

Argentina players Javier Mascherano and Pablo Zabaleta also played on in their team’s semifinal against the Netherlands after sustaining head injuries. Mascherano appeared to be completely disorientated and fell to the ground after a clash of heads with a Dutch player. Both Mascherano and Zabaleta started in the final.

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Questions about FIFA’s concussion protocol were first raised in the group stage of the World Cup when Uruguay defender Alvaro Pereira refused to leave the field after being struck in the head by an England opponent’s knee. Pereira lay motionless for a short while and appeared to be briefly unconscious but was still allowed to come back onto the field and continue playing.

Stars were out

Tom Brady looked on from the VIP seats when his wife Gisele Bundchen brought the trophy on the field before the game as many celebrities and world leaders took in the final. Among other big names, Vladimir Putin chatted with Angela Merkel, and David Beckham hugged Pele. Mick Jagger and LeBron James were also in the Maracana Stadium to see Germany beat Argentina. Celebrities rubbed shoulders at the stadium, starting with Shakira singing and Carlos Santana playing guitar during the closing ceremony. At the final whistle, German chancellor Merkel jumped from her seat and raised both arms in triumph. Merkel turned to her right and was kissed on both cheeks by Brazil state President Dilma Rousseff. Putin and FIFA President Sepp Blatter were next in line with congratulations . . . The final was interrupted for nearly a minute by a spectator running on to the Maracana Stadium field. Germany and Argentina were level at 0-0 when the incident happened in the 82d minute. The man, wearing a cropped T-shirt, shorts, and vivid orange football boots, encroached on the field from Germany’s left wing. He ran in front of Germany’s bench, threw his cap on the grass, and approached Germany defender Benedikt Hoewedes. Security staff wrestled him down and carried him away . . . Mario Goetze’s winning goal was the 171st scored in Brazil, equaling the tournament record. The overall goals mark was set at the 1998 Cup in France, which was the first played with 32 teams. That averages at 2.67 goals per game. Only 145 goals were scored at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa at an average of 2.27 per game.

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