The Russia World Cup this summer has, of course, created excitement and enthusiasm the whole world over just as any major international tournament does. However, with every tournament there seems to be almost as much excitement about which player can score the most goals – ie earning himself the coveted Golden Boot award – as there is about the overall winner. Taking a look historically, anywhere between 5-9 goals is usually enough to be awarded the trophy – only three times since the first ever World Cup in 1930 has a player hit double figures. The first to do so was Sandor Kocsis of Hungary in 1954 (11 goals), before France star Just Fontaine did so at the next tournament (13 goals in 1958) and finally Gerd Muller of Germany in 1970 (10 goals).
Since Muller’s exploits at the 1970 competition in Mexico (who will be joint-hosting the 2026 tournament alongside Canada and the United States), only Ronaldo has really gotten close to it. Not Cristiano – but the “original”, Brazilian Ronaldo in 2002. One of the finest strikers to ever play the game, he struck eight goals across Japan and South Korea to earn the individual accolade. During the present proceedings, however, goalscorers seem to have been going mad to stick the ball into the back of the net! England striker Harry Kane – always a candidate for the Golden Boot in the Premier League – tops the charts with five, while Belgium and Man Utd forward Romelu Lukaku sits on four.
Cristiano Ronaldo also has four for Portugal. With England having played Belgium on Thursday evening, there were some hopes that Kane and Lukaku could go head-to-head in an effort to grab a goal or two to help their individual agendas as well as those of their colleagues. There were hopes of a bit of one-upmanship about things, but as it turned out neither striker started, their managers clearly resting them in preparations for the next round. These players aren’t the only ones still in the running of course – Denis Cheryshev of Russia and Spain’s Diego Costa both have three each and have reached the next stages as well.
Mohamed Salah is the highest-placed goalscorer whose side have exited the tournament already, his two strikes proving not enough to keep Egypt in the competition despite growing optimism in the north-east African nation. The highest ranking defender at the moment is England’s John Stones, with his two strikes against Panama meaning he now has more World Cup goals than England’s all-time leading goalscorer Wayne Rooney, who only managed one during his career. Speaking on the latest edition of the Euro Fantasy League Podcast, Match of the Day Magazine’s Lee Stobbs pointed out that John Stones is a 250/1 shout to win the Golden Boot, so watch this space!
Whoever ends up winning the Golden Boot this year will, of course, have done well to manage it. With so many lethal goalscorers and some real open, attacking football on display this tournament has not been short of goals, and there are plenty more still to enjoy. Kane and Ronaldo are the favourites, though Lukaku is well worth keeping an eye on as well as Belgium are one of the more favoured teams to go far this summer. An early favourite, Lionel Messi, has really struggled in the group stages with Argentina barely making it through at the last gasp, while Uruguay striker Luis Suarez hasn’t fully found his clinical boots just yet – but one or two good outings in the later stages could well change all that.
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