Analyzing the Odds of the Potential of the Golden Boot Winners at the 2022 Football World CupLeave a Comment
The World Cup is always an exciting event for soccer fans as it is the chance to see the very best players compete for their countries. Alongside the main tournament there are also gripping side contests like the Golden Boot.
That is the prize awarded to the player who scores the most goals. While being top scorer was recognized from the start, an actual trophy has only been awarded since 1982.
Back then it was called the Golden Shoe and the very first one went to Paolo Rossi of Italy who scored 6 goals at that year’s tournament. Notable winners since include England strikers Gary Lineker (1986) and Harry Kane (2018), while the biggest surprise wins were those of Salvatore ‘Toto’ Schillaci in 1990 and Oleg Salenko in 1994 – the latter playing for a team eliminated at the group stage!
Messi and Ronaldo are both competing this time, but they are not the only ones. Let’s take a look at the main contenders.
The England star would set a new record if he won the prize – as the first player ever to claim the Golden Boot twice. He one of the hot favorites, but there are a couple of things that potentially put him at a disadvantage.
One is the mediocre form of the England team. They have managed just two wins in 2022 and suffered an embarrassing 0-4 home defeat to Hungary in June.
A second issue is that the temperatures in Qatar will be higher than anything he is used to. That is true for all of the players from Northern Europe though.
Kane is certainly hitting his targets in the Premier League and his World Cup odds of +700 will attract a lot of betting.
Mbappe is one of the players tipped to take over from Messi and Ronaldo, when those giants eventually retire. The 23-year-old plays for the 2018 World Cup winners France and a lot of people think this is the tournament where he will break out.
He scored four times at the last World Cup and has netted 169 goals for Paris Saint-German in the years between 2018 and now. Robert Lewandowski is the only player with a better record.
Mbappe will have to adjust to the Qatar temperatures and improve on a poor Euro Championships in 2021, where he did not score as France lost in the last 16. He is rated around +900 to win his first Golden Boot, so a lot of people think that he will.
It says something for how strong France appear to be going into the World Cup that they have two Golden Boot favorites in their team. Benzema is a Ballon d’Or winner and was effectively Ronaldo’s replacement at Real Madrid.
If that sounds impossible, Benzema has proven up to the task, with an amazing 44 goals from 46 matches for Los Blancos last season. He also scored four times at the Euro Championships in summer 2021, despite only just being back from injury.
The odds for Benzema are in the region of +1200, which still puts him among the major contenders for the 2022 Golden Boot. Questions about his fitness remain though, plus his age – he is 34 – won’t help in the heat; but a 0.95 goals-per-game average for Madrid last year means he can’t be ruled out.
This is the last chance for the legendary Messi to win this prize. Somehow, for all his club achievements, his Argentina career has never quite hit the same heights.
Despite that, he has managed 6 goals from 19 World Cup appearances for them and he will finally be playing for an Argentine team capable of challenging. He is in good form, managing 12 goals from his 19 matches for Paris Saint-Germain, which is reflected in the +1200 odds.
Messi really wants the World Cup and Golden Boot to round off a glittering career.
That is true of his biggest rival too though. Unlike Messi, Ronaldo has tasted glory for his country, as he led Portugal to the Euro 2016 title, but he has never won the Golden Boot.
He has odds of around +1600 and has started to play more for Manchester United since Erik ten Hag took charge. Ronaldo scored his 700th club goal during October.
At 37 years of age, this is his final shot at this tournament and a last opportunity to outshine Messi. Both players should be able to cope with the heat and can create goals for themselves as well as poaching them.
These are the players to watch out for in the Golden Boot contest and the finale to the Ronaldo and Messi rivalry should be fascinating.