For the lesser football fans, the Golden Boot goes to the leading goalscorer in a tournament. Harry Kane is favored to repeat as the winner (6 goals in 2018) and while I think it’s a pretty decent bet to take him again, let’s take a look at some long shots and see why it may not be the HurriKane.
First, you always have to look at the group that the teams are in and if there are “easy teams” to exploit. You also have to look at how the groups are lined up for the knockout stages as it’s definitely an easier path for the big boys to advance from groups A-D and the tougher draws within Groups E-H.
Kane will break the English international goalscoring record held by Wayne Rooney of 53 goals this tournament. England’s group isn’t all that difficult and he should tie the record or even break it during the group stage. The USA, Iran and Wales aren’t exactly defensive stalwarts, so I see Kane getting at least 3 goals during the group stage. Kane doesn’t have another number 9 on England that will take away from him so he’s a good safe bet to repeat.
Mbappe stormed onto the scene as a teenager in the last World Cup and scored 4 times while also winning The Best Young Player Award for the tournament. Now 23, he hasn’t slowed down and is scoring at a prolific pace for Club (PSG) and country. He should feast during the group stages against the likes of Tunisia and Australia and it’s only a matter of how many he scores. He will have some competition within his own team with Benzema (likely the Ballon D’Or Winner) but there should be plenty of goals to go around.
Neymar & Gabriel Jesus
Brazil should storm through the group stage. Neymar is the main man for Brazil, but he usually plays out wide. I think that Gabriel Jesus is a great long shot pick to win the Golden Boot. He’s been playing on fire for his new team (Arsenal) and he should be leading the line straight up the middle. Neymar will get his goals, and is also Brazils PK taker, so he could get 1 or 2 from there (as they are the kings of flopping).
Messi will be many people’s favorite to win the Golden Boot, but personally, I don’t think it will happen. He has never really shown up at The World Cup and Argentina has a recent history of struggling to score goals in the tournament. He is still a magician, but I think your money is best placed elsewhere. They have a few decent teams in their group (Mexico, Poland) and if I know Mexico, they will not let a single man beat them and will foul him as much as possible. I also think that Argentina will be playing with Lautaro Martinez in the 9 spot and Messi will be out wide.
This is tough for me to type. — I think that Ronaldo is in decline, and has absolutely no chance of winning the Golden Boot. He hasn’t been playing enough for Man United, and his fitness isn’t where it needs to be. There are also rumblings from the Portuguese team that they may start him on the bench. I don’t see that happening, but even as a super sub, I can’t see him finishing in the top 3 of goals scored. By the way, CR7 is my favorite player of all time, which is why this is hard to type, but everyone’s time comes at some point.
So with that being said, I believe that the best place to place your money is with Harry Kane, Kylian Mbappe and Gabriel Jesus. My personal favorite (who doesn’t love a +3300?) is to go with Gabriel Jesus and sprinkle some on the other two guys also.