Golden Boot History
Since 1970, there have been 14 winners of the Golden Boot (previously known as Golden Shoe) and Germany have the most winners with three (Gerd Muller in 1970, Miroslav Klose in 2006 and Thomas Muller in 2010). With Harry Kane’s win last time around, England now have two winners of Golden Boot with Gary Lineker being the other.
Despite there being 14 official winners, there was a four-way tie for top scorer back in 2010 with David Villa, Wesley Sneijder and Diego Forlan all equalling Thomas Mullers tally of five goals. Muller was given the award because he had more assists than any of the others and Villa beat Sneijder and Forlan to second place because he’d played less minutes than either, the same reasoning is applied to Sneijder beating Forlan to third place. There was also a draw for the Golden Boot back in 1994 when Oleg Salenko and Hristo Stoichkov were tied on six goals.
Of the 17 players that have been in contention for the award (winning or equalling the goals of the winner), 14 of them had been to at least the semi-finals of the competition with the only exceptions being Oleg Salenko thanks to him scoring five goals in a single game back in 1994, Gary Lineker (1986) when England were knocked out of the quarter-finals, and finally James Rodriguez hit six before falling short of the semi-finals.
Just Fontaine’s 1958 campaign shouldn’t go unrecognised as he managed 13 goals in his six outings, though looking from 1970 onwards, Gerd Muller’s World Cup that year stands out as the one which all strikers dream of, he finished with ten goals which is feat that has yet to be replicated with Ronaldo the only player coming close after he finished the 2002 World Cup with eight strikes. There have been 13 World Cups since 1970 and a player has finished with exactly six goals eight times and the German duo of Muller and Klose both finished with five in consecutive tournaments.
Key Stats For Golden Boot winners
- 14/17 last winners have reached at least the semi-finals, 13 of these scored at least two goals in the group stages.
- Ronaldo (Brazil) is the only player to win the Golden Boot and the World Cup in the same tournament since Paolo Rossi’s success in 1982.
- Six goals has been enough to win the Golden Boot in ten of the last 12 world cups (since 1974).
- 14/17 winners have played the majority of their games as a striker/centre-forward with David Villa (3 matches CF/ST, 4 matches LW), Wesley Sneijder (CAM) and James Rodriguez (CAM) being the only exceptions.
- The average price of the winner has been ≈57.00 and four of the last nine winners have been priced at 101+.
- Only one player has won Golden Boot at the age of 30+ which was Davor Suker at 1998 World Cup when he had turned 30 earlier that year.
Golden Boot Favourites
The previous winner would make history here if he won again as no player has ever won the Golden Boot twice. The frontman for Spurs scored two against Tunisia in the opening game and then three against Panama in the next (including two penalties), his last goal of the tournament was a penalty against Colombia in the Round of 16. Kane has scored 51 goals in 75 games for England including 12 goals in the eight World Cup qualifying outings.
The Spurs frontman has been on fantastic club form this year scoring 12 goals from his 15 Premier League games but his record in the Champions League is a bit worrying with his only goal coming from the penalty spot despite starting and playing 90 minutes in every match.
The England captain will be looking to lead by example, and in Southgate’s three-at-the-back system, width will be key. Kane’s movement in the box and deadly finishing will be paramount if England want to go deep, and we expect him to be on the receiving end of plenty of crosses, with the likes of Kieran Trippier (most successful crosses in Premier League this season) and Trent Alexander-Arnold possible wingback options. He looks well poised to make history.
France’s golden boy from the last World Cup comes in as the second favourite to take this award, he scored four goals in the last iteration of the tournament despite only being 19 years old and was France’s saviour on more than one occasion. Les Bleus will most likely set up in 3-4-1-2 with Mbappe and Benzema both up top although we could also see them setting up in a 4-3-3 with Mbappe on the left and Benzema up top.
Mbappe’s goal scoring ability has only gone from strength-to-strength and has netted 19 times in only 20 games, averaging a goal every 88 minutes this season for PSG. He scored five goals in his six World Cup qualifying games but four of them were in a 8-0 win against Kazakhstan.
The only drawback for the wonderkid is the alternative attacking options that France have at their disposal, and he may have to play more of the creator in Deschamps’ system. Olivier Giroud and Karim Benzema are the more traditional central forward options, while Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele will also be looking to get in on the action. Mbappe certainly has the quality, though unlike Kane, not everything will be fed to him.
Seven time Ballon d’Or winner Leo Messi, is hotly tipped for the Golden Ball award (player of the tournament) and is the clear favourite. The Argentine has scored nine goals for his country, in the last four games but the level of opponent was questionable to say the least. He didn’t have a particularly fruitful qualifying stage, although he still recorded five goals and zero assists through eight (90 minutes) appearances. Although he is often deployed as a winger at PSG, he has played nearly all of his last 30 games for Argentina as a centre-forward, striker or attacking midfielder.
He’s been unequivocally brilliant this year and has produced moments of unbelievable quality for PSG with him producing 26 goals and assists in his 19 games for the French side, which equates to a goal contribution every 63.7 minutes. An issue with Messi and this award is that he has played in four World Cups already and only has six goals and all of them came in the group stages (1 in 2006, 0 in 2010, 4 in 2014 and 1 in 2018), and is a relatively short price considering that record.
Neymar is undoubtedly the best Brazilian player of his generation and is only two goals away from equalling Pele’s record of 77 goals, one thing Pele will always have on Neymar is his goal to game ratio of 0.84 per match compared to Neymar’s 0.62. He didn’t feature as much as he would have hoped in the qualifying round because of injury and suspension and ended up missing five of the eleven games. Nonetheless, he ended up with three goals in his six games and featured predominately as an attacking midfielder or a false nine.
O Joia (The Gem) has been on electric form for PSG this year with 27 goals and assists in his 20 games so far. His goal scoring form has taken a dip as of late with him scoring seven of his 11 Ligue 1 goals in the first five games of the season. That slight dip may be due to him taking his foot off the pedal to ensure he’s ready for the World Cup, and we’d expect him to come out firing. If he was to be playing on the left we’d have reservations about him claiming the Golden Boot, though with Vinicius Junior on that flank, Neymar will likely be deployed just behind the striker where he’ll have more of an eye for goal, and he’s worth backing with Brazil likely to go deep.
Now a Ballon d’Or winner, Karim Benzema is the second Frenchman on the list and is in with a good chance of winning the two most coveted individual awards in the footballing world. At the age of 34 this will almost certainly be his last World Cup and therefore his last chance to prove to the world what an incredible striker he really is. The Real Madrid striker has only played in one World Cup before (2014) because of his banishment from the first team after various issues with his personal life.
He managed three goals in his only World Cup tournament playing 90 minutes in all games but France were knocked out by the eventual champions, Germany. Karim only netted three times in 567 minutes he played during the World Cup qualifiers (two against Kazakhstan and one against Finland). He’s had some muscle injuries this year and has only managed seven league matches for the European Champions, but in those seven he’s scored five goals so his form is still there but he just needs to stay fit.
Golden Boot Outsiders
The Internazionale man is only 25 and has been playing at the highest level for a significant proportion of his career. Although his form this year hasn’t been electric he is a pivotal player in the Argentina set up and will be there starting striker. He is also their back-up penalty taker and will look to take them when Messi isn’t on the field. He has a great goal-scoring record for Argentina with 21 goals in his 40 matches (goal per 127 mins) and during the qualifiers managed five goals in 544 minutes (goal per 109 mins).
Depay is our outside favourite for the Golden Boot this year and although he hasn’t really had any success at the two biggest clubs he’s been to (Manchester United and Barcelona) he has always been the most prominent attacker for the Dutch national team. He’s on penalty duty and has a good record from the spot with ten scored and three missed for the national side
He's always produced the goods when playing for his country and is the second top scorer of all time for Netherlands with 42 goals from his 81 games. He is joint second (with Patrick Kluivert) for goals to game ratio with 0.51, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar being top of the list with 0.55. He was on fire during the qualifying round and was joint top-scorer (Harry Kane) with 12 goals to his name. Netherlands have also been dealt an easy group and we can see Depay scoring at least three goals in the Group Stages alone.
Lewandowski is a massive outsider going into this but as we stated earlier the average price of a winner is around 57.00 which bodes well for the Pole. He was the third top scorer in the qualifying round with nine goals and he even missed two games due to injury. He will obviously been on penalty duties and his ability to fashion a goal out of any situation is why we like him for this outright.
Oleg Salenko managed to draw with Hristo Stoichkov for the Golden Boot in 1994 after he scored five goals in a 6-1 win over Cameroon. Obviously, we shouldn’t rely on a player to score five goals in order to win the award but Lewandowski could easily score a hattrick against Saudi Arabia considering how little experience that side has when playing the worlds very best.
His recent form has been scary with 18 goals in his 19 La Liga and Champions League matches, this results in a goal every 83.33 minutes at club level this year.
Cody Gakpo is another outsider that we don’t mind having a flutter with and although he is inexperience at the national level he possess quality that few others have. He has the most goals an assists in Europe’s top six leagues this year with 30 contributions through his 24 games (13 goals and 17 assists). Cody has been a winger at club level this year but for the national team has drifted into more of a central attacking midfield role and in his three games playing there has scored two goals.
HARRY KANE 1pt (E/W)
NEYMAR 1pt (E/W)
LAUTARO MARTINEZ 0.5pts (E/W)
MEMPHIS DEPAY 1pt (E/W)
ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI 0.5pts (E/W)
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