Analysis

World Cup Special: Five Players who can win the Golden Boot

We have always believed that FIFA World Cup is all about the team-work and making your country’s football fans proud. Although it is partially true, there is also a room for personal glory in this tournament.

With a number of individual awards on the line, World Cup gives an opportunity to win the most prestigious awards in the football world.

Golden Boot is one such award which is awarded to the highest goal scorer of the tournament. The past winners of this award include the legends like Ronaldo, Miroslav Klose, Gerd Muller and many more. Now, who wouldn’t like to be a part of that list?

But winning the Golden Boot is not as straightforward as it looks. It depends on how far a team goes in the tournament and the quality of the squad to create chances for their strikers.

We, at the 12thMan, have taken all such scenarios into the considerations and have listed five contenders to win the Golden Boot:

Harry Kane:

King of EPL, can he be the King of World Cup?

The English captain is one hell of a goal scorer and he should be a contender to win the Golden Boot in every tournament he plays. After all, he scored 30 goals in EPL this season, just two less than Mo Salah.

Possibly the current best No. 9 in the World, Harry Kane will be leading his side from the front as England hopes to put their humiliating 2014 campaign behind them. Kane’s goalscoring ability will play a huge role in England’s attempt to win the tournament for the first time since 1966.

England’s first two games against Tunisia and Panama will provide Harry Kane with a great opportunity to take the lead in the race for the Golden Boot. But, the striker will also have to keep in mind that England’s road to glory will keep getting difficult in the knockout stages.

Can Harry Kane’s “goal scoring boots” win him the Golden Boot and bring back the glory days for England?

Lionel Messi:

Leo Messi is Argentina and Argentina is Leo Messi! The World knows it and the man himself knows it too. So for one last shot at the World Cup, expect the Barcelona talisman to be in a sublime form.

Messi had a great season with the Catalans as he scored 45 goals in all competitions – Most by any player in the European Leagues. The little magician will have to do the same for Argentina as none of Higuain, Dybala or Aguero have impressed in the Albiceleste jersey.

Argentina’s World Cup will start with the group stage matches against Iceland, Croatia, and Nigeria. Messi scored four goals in the group stages of the 2014 edition and he will be eager to repeat that number. But one thing Messi will definitely have to improve is his record in the knockout stages as the Argentine No. 10 failed to score a single goal in 2014’s knockout games.

If Messi gets going in the World Cup, it will be difficult to stop him from winning the Golden Boot. But the Golden Boot will be the last thing on Messi’s mind as he wants to get his hands on the World Cup, at any cost!

Antoine Griezmann:

The French squad has got one of the deadliest attacking line-ups for the World Cup. And leading that deadly attack will be Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann!

Griezmann has matured as an attacker since the 2014 World Cup, where he was nothing more than a youngster, playing the second fiddle to Benzema and Giroud. But this year, Les Bleus will be expecting Griezmann to repeat his performances from Euro 2016 where he won the Golden Boot with six goals in the tournament.

The Frenchman has also picked up his form at the right time as he finished a season with 19 goals and 9 assists in La Liga after a slow start. Griezmann also scored a brace in the Europa League final to beat Marseille.

Given France’s quality midfield and wingers, Griezmann will get a lot of opportunities to score. The 1998 winners also have a smooth passage until semi-finals, if they do not put a foot wrong, which makes the 27-year old one of the favorite to win the Golden Boot in Russia.

Thomas Muller:

He has done in before in 2010, can he do it again?

How is it possible? He had just 8 goals in Bundesliga this season. He is not a natural goalscorer. Well, hold your thoughts.

Thomas Muller might not be a goal-scoring machine for Bayern Munich, but the versatile attacker is a complete beast when he dons the German jersey and has scored 38 international goals in 90 appearances. And Muller especially loves the FIFA World Cup, where he has scored 10 goals in just two World Cups. (Two more than Maradona and just two less than Pele!)

With Mario Gomez’s average Bundesliga campaign and Timo Werner’s inexperience, Joachim Löw might decide to go with Muller in front of the goal yet again. It will provide the Bayern player with numerous opportunities to add to his goal tally in the World Cup and to pick his second Golden Boot award.

Germany also has an easy group to deal with and given their strong squad, the 2014 Champions are destined to go a long way in this tournament, giving Muller enough time to top the goalscoring charts.

Neymar Jr.:

Brazil are the favorites to win the World Cup this year. And yes, they do have one of the most balanced squads traveling to Russia, but the Brazilian fans have put all their hopes on one man’s shoulders – Neymar Jr.

Neymar had to watch his team being humbled by the Germans in the 2014 semi-final and he will be eager to change that. Playing in his first season at PSG, Neymar scored 27 goals and bagged 16 assists in just 28 appearances. His injury back in February will be a concern for Brazil, but the winger looks fit to fire in Russia.

Brazil has one of the easiest group in the form of Costa Rica, Serbia and Switzerland and the former Barcelona man must be itching to punish all three teams to prove Brazil’s favorites tag. With the quality midfield and attack for his support, stopping Neymar looks very difficult in the World Cup.

But just like everyone else on this list, Neymar would be eager to get his hands on the World Cup more than Golden Boot. But there’s no harm picking two trophies at a time, is there?

Author’s Take:

No player plays for the personal glory in the World Cup. It is always about achieving nation’s dream. But the goals scored by the players mentioned in this list will only lead to their country’s glory.

But like James Rodriguez in 2014, there can always be the surprises for such awards. Who do you think will win the Golden Boot? Let us know in the comment section.

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