The top scorer in the World Cup receives the Golden Boot award. While it’s almost impossible to predict the winner, picking from a group that includes Neymar, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Edin Dzeko and Romelu Lukaku makes it a rather safe choice.
However, there are always surprises. No one thought Thomas Muller will end scoring five goals four years ago and here he is again and an even better, more complete player. His teammate Miroslav Klose is always a threat, and so are Sergio Aguero, Fred and even Shinji Okazaki from Japan if you love rooting for an underdog.
Brazil – Fred & Neymar
Fred finished as the top scorer of the Confederations Cup last summer with five goals. Neymar came in second scoring four goals. While the first isn’t the best of strikers and the second isn’t a natural one, they both are very good finishers in the box. Fred has people who can create for him while Neymar can do the job himself, and is also a very good set piece taker. If Brazil go gar in the tournament, the both of them have a shot to finish with at least five goals.
Argentina – Lionel Messi & Sergio Aguero (And maybe Gonzalo Higuain)
Two very good friend and exceptional players. Lionel Messi has scored 38 goals in 86 caps for the national team, picking up the pace over the last two years. Aguero has 21 goals in 51 caps but is coming off an excellent season, and if Argentina go as far as many think they will, having Messi and Di Maria supplying him with chances can go a long way for the Manchester City striker. Gonzalo Higuain, also part of this trio, has a shot at doing very well himself.
Uruguay – Luis Suarez & Edinson Cavani
If Uruguay go far in this tournament, which means at least reaching the quarterfinals, it’s going to take both of these superb finishers to be at their best. Suarez has 38 goals in 77 caps; Cavani has 21 goals in 62 caps. However, with Suarez improving all the time as an all-around player and especially passer, it might give Cavani the edge to be the one who gets to finish more often, while Suarez plays set up man.
Germany – Miroslav Klose & Thomas Muller
One is the top scorer in the history of the German national team, and two goals away from becoming the best scorer in the history of the World Cup. Thomas Muller was joint top scorer in the previous tournament. It won’t be a surprise to anyone if Germany make it far in this tournament, or if one of the top scorers comes out of their ranks.
England – Wayne Rooney & Daniel Sturridge
No one expects England to go very far in this tournament. There’s more than a slight chance they don’t make it out of the group stage. But if they start playing attacking football unlike what we’ve mostly seen from Roy Hodgson, there’s a good chance one of their forward tandem will catch fire. Again, like with others we have mentioned, the chances aren’t great, but momentum is a wonderful thing.
Italy – Mario Balotelli
It won’t be a surprise to see Balotelli finish with six goals in this tournament. It won’t be a surprise to see him score nothing at all. It won’t be a surprise to see him somehow make Cesare Prandelli angry and find himself on the bench. That’s the man and the legend, with a special talent but also a knack for losing control. Italy need to hope it is the one from the Euro semifinal that shows up.
Belgium – Romelu Lukaku
While this is the first World Cup for everyone but Daniel Van Buyten on the Belgian team, the expectations are high, and they should be for this fantastic 21-year old striker, who is going to be a massive problem for defenses to face. He has only six goals in 29 caps for the national side, but his size, speed and finishing ability might be able to help him stand out among an abundance of world class finishers.
Portugal – Cristiano Ronaldo
Portugal aren’t likely to get very far because Ronaldo usually doesn’t play as well in their uniform and their defensive style, despite the Latin flavor usually attached to this side. But Ronaldo is a changed player, and Portgual might actually try and do some different things this time. If he catches fire like he did in parts of Euro 2012, the sky’s the limit.
Bosnia and Herzegovina – Edin Dzeko
A real dark horse is one no one talks about. Belgium are almost favorites because of the amount of attention they’re getting. But the Dragons? No one notices that they have a very good shot of making it out of the group stage despite being in the World Cup for the first time. On attack, everything flows through their target man, who has scored 35 goals in 62 caps for the Golden Lillies.
Japan – Shinji Okazaki
Take a leap of faith, why don’t you? Japan have a fantastic group of creative midfielders playing behind the 28-year old striker from Mainz, who has scored 38 goals in 76 matches. If you have Japan penned down to be one of the surprising teams in this tournament, be sure that Okazaki is going to be a big part of that success. Not a lot of chances here, but worth a shot.