The Golden Boot is always a tough market to predict. Teams will only play a maximum of 7 matches (If they get to the final) so there isn’t much time to impress. More often than not it is a player from the “elite” nations who tops the Golden Boot scoring league. In 2014 we saw James Rodriguez (Colombia) win the prestigious award with 6 goals despite Colombia only reaching the Quarter finals. Who is in line for the prize this year? Other top players to win in previous World Cups include Ronaldo (Brazil), Klose & Muller (Germany), Suker (Croatia), Rossi (Italy) & of course Lineker (England).
Let’s take a look at some of the contenders for Russia 2018:
Is he the greatest footballer to have ever lived? He certainly thinks so!! And so do many others. An outrageous talent & played a huge role in helping Portugal win the Euro Championships in 2016. At club level he is pure class & is in peak form scoring 42 goals in 41 matches for Real Madrid on the way to yet another Champions League winning season. The problem we have with Ronaldo is that he just doesn’t seem to find goals during the World Cup finals. In fact he has only scored 1 goal in each of Portugal’s previous 3 final stages & those were against relative minnows of Iran, North Korea & Ghana. With Spain in their group it will be tough to get off to a good start however further group matches against Morocco & Iran could open the floodgates.
There’s nothing much to add to describe Lionel Messi which hasn’t already been written. Truly one of the greatest footballers of all time & a scoring sensation at club level, he hasn’t quite matched that at International level. He does have 64 goals from 120 caps but he tends to score in qualifying & friendlies & has often been found wanting in the biggest stages. Argentina are a good side but not many tout them as winners of the World Cup. Argentina also face some tough defences in the group stages against Nigeria, Croatia & Iceland. Will Messi shine as so many have expected in the past…… or will he once again leave the tournament in disappointment.
Neymar became the worlds most expensive player with a move to PSG last year & went on to score 28 goals in just 30 matches thereafter. Unfortunately though he has been out of action at club level since February. Will he be fit enough to break down the cream of the World Cups defences? Brazil are many peoples favourites to lift the trophy but they won’t have it easy. In the groups they face teams in Switzerland, Costa Rica & Serbia who will be very tough to breakdown. This could be Ronaldo & Messi’s last World Cup but Neymar is just 26 & in the peak of his career. He scored 4 times in the 2014 World Cup but hasn’t really evolved at an international level since then.
The Frenchman has really started to turn heads in recent years & his goalscoring form is not in question. France are one of the favourites to lift the trophy & it’s easy to see why. They have so much attacking quality with Giroud, Mbappe, Griezmann to name but a few so we do expect them to score goals. The only question is how many will Griezmann get? They face Peru, Denmark & Australia in the group stages & it’s easy to see goals flowing in all of these games. Griezmann failed to score in the finals 4 years ago but has matured a lot since then & claimed the Golden Boot in the Euros of 2016. A very capable striker in a very attacking team.
KANE (England) Arguably Englands best player & a group including Tunisia & Panama could well gice easy goals. Even their toughest group opponents Belgium will play openly & allow chances.
WERNER (Germany) The Germans are current holders of the trophy & a dominant figure in World Football. Goals could flow in the group against Mexico, South Korea & Sweden. A hungry 22 year old with a growing reputation.
SALAH (Egypt) Many feared he would miss the World Cup due to injury but he has been declared fit. Not the greatest team, but Salah has been outstanding this season & can score at any time.
Thomas Muller (Germany) The old man of the German strikeforce (He’s only 28!!) won the Golden Boot in 2010 & was only 1 goal away from doing it again in 2014. I may well have a value punt on Muller available at odds as outrageous as 33/1 in some places. Germany will score goals & the Bayern Munich machine can grab his fair share. Of course, Timo Werner will be hungry too, but Muller has experience & can handle the pressure of the biggest stage in World Football with ease.
Who do you think will top the Golden Boot table?