World Cup 2018 is the place where all the best players and top scorers in the world will embark to provide glory and excitement to their home nation fans and their teammates, that is unless you are from Italy, the Netherlands or US – sorry, guys, Qatar is only 4 years away.
In this piece, we will look into the 10 goalscorers that have the best chance to win the Golden Boot award for top goal scorer at the World Cup. Past winners have included scoring machines Miroslav Klose (Germany 2006, who is also the all-time tournament leader with 16 goals), Ronaldo (South Korea/Japan 2002) and James Rodriguez (Brazil 2014). So let’s get into it…
Lionel Messi is the arguably the greatest football player on the Earth right now. For Argentina to make it past the quarterfinals in the World Cup, their top player needs to make it in on the scoresheet. He not only has the skill for the final pass but is also prolific in netting the ball behind the goalkeeper as evident from the 64 goals he has scored for his home country in 124 caps. Sergio Aguero will share touches in front of the net, but if we were to pick one player from La Albiceleste it is Lionel Messi.
The important thing to remember with Neymar is if he will be healthy enough to play the amount of time needed to help his country proceed in the tournament but also score the goals to win the Golden Boot. Brazil will live and die by the foot of their best player, but after breaking his metatarsal for club team Paris St-Germain it is a race against time for Neymar to be 100% ready for the World Cup.
We here at 9jafootball love the French in this tournament, but we are torn between Antoine Griezmann or Kylian Mbappe being the top scorer for France. Were going with the Atletico Madrid striker for the fact that after his performance at the European Championship in 2016 he can continue his stride here on the fields of Russia. Mbappe has not played in a tournament of this magnitude, and not that he isn’t the capable striker that Griezmann is, but Antoine is more suited for tournaments of this caliber at this point in his career.
The swansong for Ronaldo is most likely the World Cup here in 2018. At a ripe age of 33, he is in the twilight of his career at least for his home nation. Considering he will be 37 years old in Qatar for the World Cup in 2022, this is his last chance to win 2 trophies his hands have not gotten on yet. The Golden Boot for top scorer and winning the World Cup. With a likely round of 16 matches against Uruguay, we think the fact that Portugal will struggle to reach the quarterfinals is why Ronaldo is not higher on this list.
Can someone call Harry Kane a goal scoring machine? Can Harry Kane lead England to the promised land and grab the Jules Rimet for the first time since that much beloved 1966 World Cup win on home soil? There is no denying Kane can put the ball in the back of the net with 108 goals for club side Tottenham Hotspur in the 150 matches, but Kane has not been called upon for his national side enough (24 caps for England) to prove to the world he can lead England passed the quarterfinals. No doubt England will be fun to watch with such a young squad being called upon by coach Gareth Southgate, but is Harry Kane the player that team in this tournament far enough?
The Red Devils, a nation so inspiring to European club football, a nation that has provided with our talent, and to so many massive clubs over the past 10 years. The player in charge in front is lead by the beast of a man known as Romelu Lukaku. At only 25 years old Lukaku has netted 134 goals in 293 total club matches for the likes of Anderlecht, Everton, and now Manchester United (which coincidentally are also called The Red Devils). Scoring 45% of the games he has played in is no small feat, and he has continued that trend for the Belgian national squad with a 50% score rate in 68 national team caps (34 goals). If Belgium, as a dark horse favorite for many to go far in this tournament, look for Lukaku to rack up goals galore.
A very similar conundrum falls upon us with Cavani as did with France. Two world class strikers will lead the charge for Uruguay, namely Edinson Cavani of Paris St-Germain and Luis Suarez on Manchester City. 9jafootball picks Cavani over Suarez based purely on personal preference. Cavani is more mature and better suited to stay calm in top flight situations such as the World Cup will present these two players. This is not a knock on Suarez. If someone was to come up to us in the street and tell us Luis Suarez was the Golden Boot winner of 2018 in Russia we would not even blink our eyes. But Cavani is a safer bet and because Uruguay looks to qualify easily from Group Stage and we like them in their likely round of 16 matches with Portugal, Edinson will have all the opportunity to score many goals.
Diego Costa is a player that some pundits don’t trust, others believe he is one of the best strikers in the world. Costa is a player that plays purely on instinct, feel, and based on the emotional capacity he has on any given day. As a World Class striker, you need to be clinical, on the ball at all times and not miss a beat. For many picking Isco to be the top score for Spain is a better ‘’bet’’. We pick Diego Costa because we’re not sure if Isco will actually start or play enough to warrant the goals needed to be Spain’s top scorer let alone the top scorer in all of the tournament.
Can Poland even make it out of the Group Stage? That is something we will touch upon another article but Lewandowsky is more than capable of netting the necessary goals to win the Golden Boot in 3 maybe even only 4 games. The lone focal point of the Polish offense, Lewandowski can score in bunches like few can. If you are the type of gambler who like taking a small risk with bigger rewards than Lewandowski is a bet worth taking the risk on.
Another team that has the striking power other teams would and are jealous of. Do you pick Müller for Germany’s top scorer? Tito Werner? Marco Reus? It all depends on how coach Joachim Löw will set up Germany in their matches. We do believe Thomas Müller to be the most likely sure shot starting forward for Die Mannschaft in this tournament with Werner and Reus rotating in starting roles based on opponent and form.
We like to give our picks here at 9jafootball for everything we write about, and top scorer is something we can talk about all day. So many options to choose from and for some, it can come down to which nation you think will go the farthest in the tournament and hang with their top striker. Other can find a hidden gem like James Rodriguez in 2014 and see the winnings come rolling in. There are 3 countries we like for the World Cup here, and that is something we have gone into detail in another piece we have written, but Germany, France, and Belgium will provide the long-lasting tournament that is needed for their chosen striker to score the goals needed to win the Golden Boot. Uruguay has 2 proven strikers that will most likely share the load in Cavani and Suarez. Brazil isn’t sure if superstar bad boy Neymar will even be fit enough to play. Argentina has a similar problem where Messi will be the focal point of defenses that he won’t be able to score as many goals they like and they will lean on Sergio Aguero more. If we’re betting men, Thomas Müller at a healthy 30.00 (even higher in other places) is our top pick, with Romelu Lukaku as the dark horse and Antoine Griezmann also as a healthy pick.