Golden Boot

PRIOR to Sunday’s World Cup Finals, it is appropriate that it’s a two-player show to who will win the ‘Golden Boot’.

France’s Kylian Mbappe and Argentina’s Lionel Messi lead the way in the race as both celebrities have scored five goals so far in Qatar and have one more chance to improve their tallies.

However, Mbappe’s team-mate Olivier Giroud and Messi’s compatriot Julian Alvarez are just one goal behind in the race to finish the tournament as top goalscorer, too, and collect one of football’s most coveted individual prizes.

There is a pack of seven players on three goals, but none of them are still in the tournament after the quarter-finals so they won’t have a chance to add to their tally. So it will be a straight shootout between the players from the final.

You may well ask, what’s the ‘Golden Boot’. 

It is the award given to the top goal-scorer at each edition of the World Cup. If at the conclusion of the tournament two or more players are tied at the top of the list with the same number of goals, the award will go to the player with the most non-penalty goals, and if they are still tied, it will go to the player with the most assists. 

The top 11 in Qatar:

1. Lionel Messi (Argentina) – 5 (leads the tiebreaker with 3 assists to Mbappe’s 2)
2. Kylian Mbappe (France) – 5
3. Olivier Giroud (France) – 4
4. Julian Alvarez (Argentina) – 4
5. Marcus Rashford (England) – 3
6. Alvaro Morata (Spain) – 3
7. Enner Valencia (Ecuador) – 3
8. Bukayo Saka (England) – 3
9. Richarlison (Brazil) – 3
10. Goncalo Ramos (Portugal) – 3
11. Cody Gakpo (Netherlands) – 3

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If you’re keen to know the past winners the past 40 years, here’s the proper list:

1982: Paolo Rossi (ITA) – 6

1986: Gary Lineker (GBR) – 6

1990: Salvatore Schillaci – 6

1994: Oleg Salenko (RUS) / Hristo Stoichkov (BUL) – 6

1998: Davor Suker (CRO) – 6

2002: Ronaldo (BRA) – 8

2006 – Miroslav Klose (GER) – 5

2010 – Thomas Muller (GER) – 5

2014 – James Rodriguez (COL) – 6

2018 – Harry Kane (GBR) – 6

For the fastest goal in Qatar, Alphonso Davies has been the most alert after the ref’s whistle, scoring after just one minute and eight seconds in Canada’s 4-1 defeat to Croatia.

The next fastest goal comes over two minutes later, a Hakim Ziyech 35-yard chip for Morocco against Canada on three minutes 31 seconds, while Theo Hernandez was also quick off the mark in France’s semi-final against Morocco, scoring within five minutes.

For the most clean sheets, Morocco lead the way here with four clean sheets but having now been knocked out by France, the dark horses could be matched in their achievements by Argentina, should Messi’s team keep a clean sheet in the final.

Other yellow and/or red cards records, South Korea’s Paulo Bento became the first coach ever shown a red card at a World Cup match, during his team’s clash with Uruguay.

Let’s focus on the ‘Golden Boot’ and keep fingers crossed, it goes to a worthy winner.

* Suresh Nair is an award-winning sports journalist who is also a qualified international coach and international referee instructor.

Here are more stories related to the FIFA World Cup.

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