Bags of Goals
Who will be the highest goalscorer at the World Kup?
The last time a defender received football’s highest individual award was in 2006 when Fabio Cannavaro won the Ballon d’Or award after leading Italy to World Cup victory.
Since then, attacking players have dominated the award with the exception of a midfielder or two (Kaka and Luka Modric).
Watching the trend of individual awards over the last decade, it is safe to say that attacking players are rewarded more often than midfielders and defenders. Since the principal currency of attacking players is goals, the highest goal scorer in Qatar this year has a legitimate chance of winning both the World Cup Golden Boot and Ballon d’Or award.
Thus, attacking players like Mo Salah and Erling Haaland who missed out because their countries did not qualify as well as those who missed out through injury like Karim Benzema and Sadio Mane will be doubly disappointed; the World Kup would have been an easy opportunity to put forward a firm case for the Ballon d’Or.
Fortunately for the watching public, there is still enough attacking talent to deliver the goods and they’ve duly shone, with several stars already amongst the goal.
Here, we examine which of them is likely to win the Golden Boot at this tournament. Enjoy!
Kylian Mbappe: Karim Benzema’s pre-tournament injury meant that, while the Real Madrid striker would be missed, there were no longer any doubts about who would lead the team.
In the three games played so far, Mbappe has been electric, scoring three times in three games and assisting one goal.
If, as expected, France progress well into the latter stages of the World Cup, the PSG forward will be a leading candidate to be the highest goal scorer at the Qatar World Cup and win the trophy to strengthen his chances of claiming the next Ballon d’Or.
Bukayo Saka: Nigerians will have a particular soft spot for Arsenal youngster, Bukayo Saka at this tournament. The 20-year-old forward has had a splendid start of the season with his club side and in England’s first game against Iran, he was electric, scoring twice before being substituted.
He had less luck in front of goal against USA and was less involved IN THE THIRD GROUP GAME. Betting on the wide forward to win the golden boot is somewhat of a long shot – Harry Kane is still the main man in the team and will take most of the set pieces. If you’d still like to take a cheeky punt on the Arsenal winger for the Golden Boot, you can do that here @ 45.00
Richarlison: In the first game against Serbia, Tite, the Brazil manager must have considered taking off Richarlison for another forward in hopes of breaking the deadlock. Two well-taken goals changed the minds of everyone who wanted to see Brazil’s #9 come off, however. The second in particular, was a thing of beauty as the Tottenham forward flicked up the ball before blasting home a spectacular overhead kick.
Despite the presence of Gabriel Jesus on the bench, it’s safe to say that Richarlison has the centre forward position locked down for the foreseeable future especially after he was rested for the knockout stage in the final group game. Neymar’s prospective absence in the next game could also give Richarlison the chance to take penalties, giving him an easy way to boost his goal tally.
Lionel Messi: The GOAT’s goal against Mexico broke the deadlock and set Argentina on the way to victory on Saturday. While he didn’t score against Poland and even missed a penalty, he was still a huge threat. At this point, there’s little that could be said about Messi that’s new, the man continues to defy all superlatives.
Argentina’s heliocentric attack with Messi at the centre means that he will get plenty of chances to score. His proficiency at set pieces remains undiminished and he will get plenty of chances to score from penalties and free kicks at this tournament.
If Argentina end up reaching the final, it will be because Messi dragged them there with his goals.
Cody Gakpo: The young Dutch forward was highly sought-after when the 2022-2023 season began and his asking price will surge even higher after his performances for Netherlands at this World Cup.
His 3 goals have been instrumental in leading his country to the knockout round. Any Dutch hopes to win the World Cup are pinned squarely on their young striker’s attacking output, so expect even more goals from the PSV forward.
In addition to these players, other players like Marcus Rashford (who has already scored three goals), Harry Kane, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar can still win the Golden Boot as long as they have exceptional knockout campaigns. Players like Enner Valencia, who have already scored three goals and would have been good bets to score even more, have already been knocked out in the group stage.
So, who do you think will win the Golden Boot? Place your bets early and reap the rewards at the end of the campaign!
/ 10 months ago
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