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World Cup 2018 – Top Goalscorer

Having posted a preview on the outright market yesterday, attention turns to who can take the Golden Boot in Russia.

Six was enough to earn James Rodriguez the accolade four years ago, while five was in both Germany 2006 and South Africa 2010.

Since the 1994 World Cup, only two favourites have won or placed in the top goalscorer market – David Villa (2010) and Lionel Messi (2014).


The Market:

Lionel Messi and Neymar are at the front of the betting, however, I’d be looking to take both on.

In my outright piece, I said wasn’t convinced by Argentina and I doubt they’ll go as far as they did in Brazil four years ago.

Messi is arguably the best player of the generation and he single-handedly got Argentina into the World Cup following his hat-trick against Ecuador in their final qualifying game.

The Barcelona forward bagged seven in qualifying and he bagged four at the last World Cup to earn the place terms from a betting point of view.

However, look at Argentina’s last World Cup campaign. They were single goal victors against all three group opponents where Messi got all four of his goals.

In the knockout rounds, they defeated Switzerland and Belgium 1-0 with Angel di Maria and Gonzalo Higuaín doing the scoring.

Messi is pivotal for this Argentinian team but I have doubts over their chances and they face a couple sides in their group that will be tough to break down plus once they progress, life could get rather difficult.

Neymar scored on his return to action against Croatia when saying he was only ‘80% fit’.

It was some goal if true, but there has to be a doubt over his fitness and if a slight knock could flair up that injury once again.

Given the potential of him being stuck out wide then he has to be taken on at the price he is and if I was backing a Brazilian to top score, I'd prefer to look at Gabriel Jesus.

The 26-year-old netted six goals in qualifying and four in the previous World Cup before picking up his injury. We all know the quality he has but over the position he is likely to start in means he is worth taking on.

The next trio in the betting are also worth taking on with Antoine Griezmann possibly starting in a wide of a front three, Cristiano Ronaldo playing in a Portugal side that are generally low-scoring then there is Harry Kane, who could challenge with him having eight goals in his last seven England appearances but it is more of a question of how far the Three Lions go.


My Picks:

The side with the easiest group to negotiate are Uruguay and if they get off to a strong start then their front duo are both likely to fire.

Edinson Cavani top-scored in South American qualifying with ten goals and the PSG frontman enjoyed a successful Ligue 1 campaign with 28 goals scored.

He was leading the line for a few matches in that qualifying campaign and they did take full advantage of home games in Montevideo with Cavani bagged seven of his goals on home soil.

The 31-year-old netted just once in the last World Cup, which came from the penalty spot in their opening group game against Costa Rica before they were knocked out at the Round of 16.

If facing Portugal in that phase this time around then you can see the Uruguay frontline enjoying themselves against an aging defence, so if Cavani can replicate his performances in qualifying and some for PSG, he has to be considered.

With him partnering Luis Suarez then it would be careless of me not giving the Barcelona forward the thumbs up too.

Suarez is the all-time Uruguayan top scorer and he did miss five qualifiers through injury or suspension, which makes his total of five look small compared to his teammate but the Barcelona forward is likely to take back penalty duties during this competition.

Saudi Arabia and Russia are two of the opponents in the group and they shouldn’t hold too many problems for this Uruguay side to see off, so you can foresee this pair finishing the group stages with a couple each.



I’ve gone with Spain as my outright pick but in terms of goalscoring, it’s a case of them sharing the goals around.

Diego Costa is the one that will lead the line and he could have a successful tournament given the expected chances that’ll get created for him with the likes of Iran and Morocco in the group.

It’ll be tough to break down a resolute Morocco side though and you’d imagine set-up similarly to what they did in their Euros success.

If Costa doesn’t fire then Isco might be the one to create a bit of individual brilliance. With a record of ten goals in 26 international appearances then he cannot be ignored.

The Real Madrid player proved his worth at international level when scoring a double in their all-important qualifying win against Italy. He’s got quick feet, which can cause defenders problems, plus he can be deadly from set-pieces around the box.

It wouldn’t surprise me if he also drifted into areas of space around the back and the ball fell his way from passes carved out by Andres Iniesta or David Silva. The general price of 50/1 looks about fair for his prospects.

Christian Eriksen scored eight of Denmark’s 20 goals in qualifying and the Spurs midfielder got three of them from the penalty spot.

With his set-piece prowess then he could bag from a free-kick on the edge of the area and Denmark should come through their group in second with Eriksen the most likely to guide them through.

Croatia finished second in their qualifying group netting just 15 goals but they came through a play-off game against Greece 4-1.

Putting four past Greece is some achievement with the island nation generally a solid unit to break down.

Things are changing for the Blazers under Zlatko Dalić, who took charge of the last three group matches and the two-legged play-off.

They have a Rolls-Royce midfield with the likes of Ivan Rakitić and Luka Modrić. Former Blackburn forward Nikola Kalinić will lead the line with Modrić in behind and Ivan Perišić and Mario Mandžukić on either side.

Mandžukić is the second top scorer in Croatian history behind Davor Šuker and the Juventus forward proved what a handful he can be in that dramatic Champions League Quarter-Final against Real Madrid.

The 32-year-old bagged two at the last World Cup, as did Perišić, and with his height, you can expect him being the target for a number of back post crosses.

We saw Croatia top their group at the Euros ahead of Spain and you feel that Mandžukić will play a key part in their success here, as will Inter Milan’s Perišić in-front of goal.



Edinson Cavani (25/1)
Luis Suarez (25/1)
Isco (50/1)


Offers: William Hill goes Bet £10 and get a free £5 bet every time your player scores.
Paddy Power are paying six places on all top goalscorer bets.

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