A team by team guide to the top scoring contenders
With the World Cup less than a week away, let’s take a good look at the betting options for top scorer. First, we will look at the likely top scorer for every team and then we will take a look at the contenders for the overall golden boot.
Sporting Lisbon striker Islam Slimani led the goal scoring in qualifying for Algeria with a total of five goals in five starts ahead of El Arbi Hillel Soudani and Sofiane Feghouli who both scored three. Slimani should have done enough to earn a starting place in Brazil and is worth backing at 4/1 with Betfair to be top the scoring for the Algerians.
Lionel Messi and Gonzalo Higuain shared the top scoring honours during Argentina’s qualifying campaign but the South Americans also have quality attackers like Rodrigo Palacio, Sergio Aguero and Ezequiel Lavezzi at their disposal. Despite this, many people will be backing Messi to top the scoring for Argentina and he is available at 11/8 with Betvictor. However, Higuain looks much better value at 7/2 with Bet365.
It has been questioned by some whether Australia will even score a goal at the World Cup finals. If they do, then veteran striker Tim Cahill will be the favourite to top the scoring for the Socceroos. The 34-year-old is the top scorer for his country, with a total of 31 goals in 67 appearances and the absence of Joshua Kennedy will leave Coach Ange Postecoglou with little choice but to put his faith in the New York Red Bulls striker. He can be backed at 4/1 with Skybet.
Belgium have plenty of striking options but they also have capable goal scorers all over the pitch. During qualifying, Kevin De Bruyne led the scoring from the midfield area with four goals in eight starts. Kompany, Hazard, Mirallas, Benteke and Lukaku all scored 2 goals each but Benteke has now been ruled out through injury. Based on current form and betting value, Eden Hazard looks like a good option at 11/2 with Bet365 but Romelu Lukaku is also decent value at 9/4 with Coral – especially when considering his recent form in friendly matches.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Manchester City’s Edin Dzeko was top scorer for the Bosnians in qualifying with an impressive haul of 10 goals. That total was the second highest in the whole of the UEFA qualifying section. Dzeko also topped the assist chart alongside Pjanic and Misimovic with a total of four. Vedad Ibisevic scored a highly respectable total of eight goals in qualifying but it is Dzeko who has continued to impress in the recent friendly matches. He is prolific for his country and can be backed at 17/10 with Sporting bet to lead the Bosnian scoring.
Neymar has scored 14 goals since the start of 2013 and is the current top scorer for Brazil. Despite a hit and miss debut season for Barcelona, he still remains the main man at international level and it is hard to see any other Brazilian player outscoring him this summer. You won’t get great odds unless you consider backing him to win the tournament golden boot.
With all-time leading goal scorer Samuel Eto’o now past his peak, Cameroon are looking for a new goal scoring hero. Lorient striker Vincent Aboubakar could be the man to fill his shoes but this World Cup may have come just too soon for the promising 22-year-old. However, at 8/1 with William Hill, he is worth a small gamble to be Cameroon’s top scorer. If you want to play it safe, you can take Eto’o at 7/2 with Ladbrokes.
Chile are capable of scoring from all areas of the pitch and had a total of 13 different goal scorers during the qualifying stages. Vidal and Vargas led the way with five goals each, followed closely by Alexis Sanchez who managed four. Alexis Sanchez is just reaching the peak of his career and this could be a defining tournament for the Barcelona man. His league form has remained impressive this year and he is comfortable on the big stage. You can back him at 11/4 with Ladbrokes but if you want better value, look no further than Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal who has recovered from knee surgery and can be backed at 6/1 with Unibet.
Radamel Falcao led the way in qualifying with nine goals but will not play in this summer’s tournament due to injury. Instead, Colombia will be looking to River Plate striker Teo Gutiérrez to supply the goals. The controversial attacking player managed six goals in 10 starts during the qualifying rounds and may be partnered up front by Carlos Bacca after the 27-year-old striker impressed for Sevilla last season. Porto’s Jackson Martinez will also be in contention and all three could start if Coach Jose Pekerman opts for the 4-3-3 formation. Bacca has hardly featured for Colombia but with Falcao out; he now has his big chance and is the best value option at 13/2 with Bet365.
Without injured Real Salt Lake striker Alvaro Saborio, it is hard to see where the goals are going to come from for Costa Rica. Take your pick from Arsenal’s Joel Campbell – currently on loan at Olympiakos – or PSV’s Bryan Ruiz. Both players scored just three goals in qualifying but Ruiz is slightly better value at 7/1 with Ladbrokes or Coral.
Top scorer Mandzukic will be missing for the opening game against Brazil after he received a red card in the second leg of the play-off match against Iceland. Despite his absence, the Bayern Munich striker can still be expected to top the Croatia scoring and can be backed at 7/2 with Betfair.
Felipe Caicedo is having his best ever spell of form for the national team and should lead the scoring for Ecuador in Brazil. He was the top scorer in qualifying with seven goals in seven starts. He can be backed at 3/1 with Unibet.
Wayne Rooney topped the scoring for England during qualifying with seven goals. Danny Welbeck and Frank Lampard both scored four goals and nine other players also got on the score sheet. Daniel Sturridge was hardly used in qualifying but managed to score two goals in two starts and has forced his way into Roy Hodgson’s plans. His strike rate for Liverpool in the past 18 months will make him a favourite to top the scoring for the English and Ladbrokes will give you a best price of 3/1.
Franck Ribery was France’s top scorer and best player during their qualifying campaign but he has now been ruled out of the tournament. The Bayern man managed a total of 5 goals and 5 assists and the team will miss the vital understanding he developed midfielder Mathieu Valbeuna. Karim Benzema and Oliver Giroud only scored two goals each on the road to Brazil but remain favourites to top the scoring charts. Out of those two, Giroud is the best value at 6/1 with Bet365 but Benzema is the safer bet.
Germany scored goals from all over the park during qualifying with Arsenal midfielder Mesut Özil leading the way with eight goals and five assists. Marco Reus scored five goals and Götze, Klose, Müller and Schürrle all chipped in with four goals apiece. With so many players hitting the target, it’s hard to know where to place your money but the 12/1 on Mesut Özil from Betvictor is tempting.
Asamoah Gyan was top scorer for Ghana in qualifying with a total of six goals and will be the favourite to top the scoring for the Africans in Brazil. Of the many players he partnered in qualifying, it was Abdul Majeed Waris who impressed the most with three goals in just four starts. The 22-year-old Valenciennes striker may just have forced his way into the starting XI and can be backed at 9/1 with Bet365 to top the Ghanaian scoring charts. A long shot but worth a small bet.
Konstantinos Mitroglou led the scoring in qualifying with a total of five goals but he hardly featured for Fulham after his transfer in January. Dimitris Salpingidis scored four goals in qualifying and has played regularly at club level for PAOK. At the age of 32 he is having his best ever year at international level and will be keen to make an impact it what will probably be his last ever tournament. He can be backed at 6/1 to top the scoring for the Greeks.
Jerry Bengtson bagged nine goals in qualifying while Carlo Costly was close behind on seven. The bookies can’t split these two but Carlo Costly has experience and consistency on his side and is reasonable value at 4/1 with Ladbrokes.
Javed Nekounam may have led the goal scoring in qualifying but it was Reza Ghoochannejhad who made the biggest impact after making his debut last year. Despite his lack of goals at club level for Charlton Athletic this season, he always seems to excel for the national team and has scored 9 goals in just 12 starts. He can be backed at 11/2 with Bet365.
Italy have only managed one goal in 2014 and are unlikely to score many goals at the World Cup. They will be hoping that 23-year-old Mario Balotelli can finally fulfil his immense potential this summer and provide enough goals to get them into the knockout stages. However, his 13/8 price with Bet365 does not look very appealing.
Lille striker Salomon Kalou is having his best ever season for and club and country and should be snapped up at 7/1 to lead the Ivory Coast scoring ahead of Didier Drogba.
Shinji Okazaki led the goal scoring in qualifying with a total of eight ahead of Keisuke Honda who managed five. Honda has not made much of an impact since joining Milan in January but his recent international record remains impressive. His five qualifying goals came in just six starts and he has also contributed eight goals in eleven friendly starts since last year. You can back him at 11/2 with Bet365 to be Japans top scorer.
Veteran striker Oribe Peralto has been in great form for club and country recently. The Santos Laguna striker has netted 10 goals in 10 games for the national team and was joint top scorer in qualifying alongside Javier Hernandez with a total of 5 goals. Hernandez also has impressive form and has scored a total of 35 goals in 58 games for Mexico and 63 in 162 games for Manchester United. Hernandez can be backed at 5/1 with Bet365 to top the scoring for the Mexicans while Peralto is just 11/4 with Stan James. Alan Pulido has made an impact in recent friendly matches with four goals in six starts and the youngster is a good outside bet at 17/1 with Unibet.
Robin van Persie was the top scorer in the UEFA qualifying sections with a grand total of 11 goals. If he remains fit, it is hard to see anyone else in the Dutch team outscoring the Manchester United striker. If the 31/20 price does not appeal then take an outside chance on Dynamo Kyiv striker Jeremain Lens at 17/1 with 888sport.
Emmanuel Emenike was top scorer during qualifying with just three goals – although he did only start three matches. Victor Moses was next with a two goals in his six appearances. There is no stand out goal scorer for the Super Eagles but Emenike is likely to start up front in Brazil and can be backed at 4/1 to top the scoring.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored the most goals in qualifying with a total of eight ahead of Valencia’s Helder Postiga who contributed six. Ronaldo will be hot favourite to lead the scoring for Portugal and could even be a contender for the golden boot if he can lead his team out of the group stages. Unfortunately, you will be lucky to get an odds-on price of 1/2.
Aleksandr Kerzhakov was top scorer in qualifying with five goals in ten starts but youngster Aleksandr Kokorin was just a goal behind the veteran Zenit striker with a total of four goals from his seven starts. Kokorin certainly has the potential to make his mark during this World Cup and the Dynamo Moscow striker is decent value at 9/2 with William Hill to outscore his more experienced team mate.
Arsenal’s Chu-Young Park was South Korea’s leading marksman during qualifying with a haul of six goals. Just behind him was Ulsan Hyundai forward Keun-Ho Lee with a total of five. Chu-Young Park may struggle to impose himself at club level but he has scored and impressive 33 goals in 77 appearances for his country. He seems like great value to top the South Korean scoring at 6/1 with Coral.
With doubts over the fitness of Diego Costa, Spain may have to count on Pedro to continue the impressive form he showed in the qualifying games. The Barca man led the scoring during the campaign with four strikes in half a dozen starts and can be backed at 13/2 with Betway.
Centre-back Fabian Schaer was the surprise top scorer for the Swiss during qualifying with a total of three goals. The lack of striking options could be solved by youngster Josip Drmić who has forced his way into Hitzfeld’s squad with his recent performances for FC Nürnberg. Drmić is currently available at 7/2 with Ladbrokes to top the Swiss scoring.
Unsurprisingly, it was Liverpool’s Luis Suárez who led the scoring in qualifying with 11 goals in just 14 starts. He was way ahead of PSG’s Edison Cavani, who could manage five. Suárez has had an incredible season for the Merseyside club and his intense passion for international football has made him Uruguay’s top scorer of all time. It is hard to see any other Uruguayan player outscoring Suárez and he is also a contender for golden boot and player of the tournament. Paddy power will give you 13/8 for the Liverpool man to top the Uruguayan scoring.
Despite his advancing years, Clint Dempsey is still the USA’s best striker and he led the scoring in qualifying with a total of eight goals. He can be backed at 11/4 with Bet365 to be America’s top scorer in Brazil.
Overall Golden Boot winner
To choose an overall winner we have to look at teams that have good chance of progressing to the latter stages of the tournament and also consider form at club level.
Many people are expecting Lionel Messi to have a good tournament and his form for Argentina has certainly improved over the last two or three years. Higuain and Aguero will also be contenders but it is the Barcelona man who is due a big performance on the world stage. His league form was not as impressive last season but he still managed 28 league goals despite having his longest ever spell out injured.
Neymar will have the advantage of home support and a team that is set up to his strengths. He will have a great chance of grabbing the top scorer’s prize although he did not have a very prolific season at club level where he was outscored by Messi, Pedro and Sanchez.
Ronaldo will be amongst the favourites but Portugal may struggle to make sufficient progress in the tournament.
Germany are amongst the teams expected to make it as far as the semi-finals but they do not have any players in the top ten goal scoring favourites. In fact, you can get 35/1 on Tomas Muller to win the golden boot.
Spain will be hoping to reach yet another final but it is unsure whether Diego Costa will be fit so he should not be backed at this stage. Instead, grab the massive 80/1 available with BWIN for Pedro to win the prize.
Another player who is great value is Luis Suarez. He has had an incredible season at club level and is the all-time top scorer for Uruguay although there will be a slight doubt about his fitness after his emergency knee operation. He can be backed at 33/1 with BWIN to top the overall scoring charts.
Suarez’s strike partner Daniel Sturridge is also great value at 66/1 with Coral but there are still question marks surrounding England’s chances of making significant progress in the tournament.
Other good outside bets are Bosnia’s Edin Dzeko at 66/1 and Colombia’s Teofilo Gutierrez at 80/1 and for a real outside gamble, Switzerland’s hot young striker Josip Drmic can be backed at 125/1 with Youwin.
Golden boot top tip: Luis Suarez @ 33/1
Best outside bet: Pedro @ 80/1