Top Ten Candidates For The Golden Boot

We've tried to be a little inventive with our picks (so no Neymar, Messi and Ronaldo), but there are plenty of reasons to back the ten names on this list for the Golden Boot...

Last Updated: 03/06/14 at 12:18 Post Comment

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10. Javier Hernandez
We'll be straight with you - this probably isn't going to happen. But backing Hernandez at 125/1 each-way (SkyBet) has still tickled our fancy. The 26-year-old might be back-up at Manchester United, but he's the main man for Mexico, scoring 35 goals in 58 caps. Hernandez scored twice at the 2010 World Cup, against France and Argentina, and will back himself to improve on that record against inferior opposition in the shape of Group A rivals Cameroon and Croatia.


9. Teofilo Gutierrez
After Radamel Falcao failed to recover from his knee injury in time for the tournament, it's likely that Gutierrez will lead the line for Colombia in his absence. Sevilla forward Carlos Bacca and Porto's Jackson Martinez are other options available to Jose Pekerman, but the coach seems to prefer Gutierrez, who scored six goals in qualifying and has started two of Colombia's last three matches, scoring in the 2-2 draw with Senegal. The 29-year-old has something of a chequered copybook, but is renowned for his goalscoring exploits in South America, where he recently won the Argentinian title with River Plate. At 66/1 (SkyBet), he's worth a punt in a group Colombia are expected to top.


8. Alexis Sanchez
At first glance, backing anyone in Group B to win the Golden Boot appears an absurd idea. The similar quality of Spain, Chile and Holland could lead to the trio cancelling each other out in tight affairs before relying on goal difference from the third match against Australia. Poor Australia. However, Chile's style is to forget defending and attack as much as possible - evidenced by their 3-2 win over Egypt at the weekend in which they initially trailed 2-0. La Roja have scored four goals in two friendlies against Spain since losing 2-1 to Vicente Del Bosque's side at the 2010 World Cup and will be confident of pushing their rivals all the way. If they can live up to the hipster hype, Alexis Sanchez (80/1, Betfair) will be the man to score Chile's goals, having notched 19 in 34 La Liga games for Barcelona this season.


7. Yaya Toure
If you consider Toure's phenomenal goalscoring season for Mancheseter City (20 in 35 Premier League matches), and the quality of opposition Ivory Coast will face in Group C, then odds about 150/1 (SkyBet) offer huge value on the midfielder to capture the Golden Boot. Throw his impressive set-piece record into the mix, and Toure is a hugely tempting bet, with many expecting Ivory Coast to get past the group stage for the first time. Five goals won the award last time, and that number certainly isn't beyond Toure's capabilities in Brazil.


6. Thomas Muller
The Golden Boot winner in South Africa is an outside shot to repeat the feat in Brazil, priced at 33/1 (Ladbrokes) to retain the trophy. Given Miroslav Klose is the only out-and-out striker in Germany's squad, Muller will be expected to share the goalscoring responsibilities and claimed four strikes in qualifying as Joachim Low's side eased to the finals. Mesut Ozil (100/1, Bet365) was Germany's top scorer in the preliminary rounds with eight goals, but we fancy Muller to lead their hopes in a tough group against Ghana, Portugal and USA.


5. Edin Dzeko
We haven't always been very flattering towards Dzeko on Football365, but at 66/1 (SkyBet) the striker is an excellent shout to pick up the Golden Boot in Brazil. The top-scoring stakes at the World Cup often depend on which forwards arrive at the tournament in form, and there aren't many players in a richer vein than Dzeko. The Bosnian hit nine goals in 11 games in the Premier League run-in to help Manchester City win the title and notched a brace in a 2-1 win over Ivory Coast last week. Only Robin van Persie scored more than Dzeko's ten strikes in UEFA qualifying, and Bosnia and Herzegovina will be relying on their star man to supply the goals against Argentina, Iran and Nigeria in Group F. His strike partner Vedad Ibisevic, who scored eight goals in qualifying, isn't a bad shout at 150/1 (SkyBet) either.


4. Romelu Lukaku
With four goals in Belgium's two warm-up matches thus far - including this peach in the 2-0 win over Sweden - Lukaku heads to Brazil brimming with confidence. As Daniel Storey pointed out on Twitter the 21-year-old has an incredible scoring record in his short career to date, and will lead the line at his first World Cup in Christian Benteke's absence. Prices about 33/1 (Coral) for Lukaku to finish top scorer certainly look reasonable, especially when you consider that Belgium have been grouped with Algeria and a youthful South Korea side, as well as Russia.


3. Fred
Neymar might be the star of the show for Brazil but, as the second-highest scorer in the squad, Fred will also be expected to provide the goals to take the Canarinhos to the final. The 30-year-old has struggled with injuries over the past 12 months, but retains Luiz Felipe Scolari's faith to lead the line at the World Cup - which makes him a good shout at 22/1 (Betfair). This is largely down to Fred's performances at last year's Confederations Cup, in which he hit five goals including a brace in the 3-0 win over Spain in the final. With Neymar and Hulk flanking the striker in a favourable group for the hosts, Fred could get off to a quick start in the Golden Boot race.


2. Karim Benzema
If we had included Benzema in this list a year ago, you would have been right to laugh us out of town. The striker was in the middle of a 16-month goal drought for Les Bleus, which he eventually ended in the 6-0 thrashing of Australia last October. Poor Australia. Three more goals have followed - including one in the play-off against Ukraine and another in an impressive 2-0 win over Holland - to make odds about 33/1 (Bet Victor) on Benzema to win the Golden Boot seem very tempting. With 26 goals for Real Madrid this season, the 26-year-old is clearly ready to make an impact in Brazil, and he has the opportunity against Switzerland, Ecuador and Honduras in Group E.


1. Gonzalo Higuain
It's fair to say that Argentina have under-performed in recent World Cups, failing to get past the quarter-final stage since they finished as runners-up in 1990. However, that could all be about to change in Brazil as they take a talented team to the homeland of their fiercest rivals. Lionel Messi (8/1, Betfred) is the obvious pick to be Argentina's main goal-getter but, playing in the middle of a three-pronged attack, we fancy the look of Gonzalo Higuain at 22/1 (Paddy Power). The 26-year-old has the best goals-to-game ratio in Alejandro Sabella's squad (36 caps, 21 goals) and enjoyed an impressive first season at Napoli under Rafa Benitez. Higuain could be the man to benefit from Messi's talents in an easy group, with Argentina granted what looks like a straightforward route to the semis.

Matt Stanger - he's on Twitter.

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