2022 World Cup tips: Best bets for the Golden Boot
Jack Green picks out five players to back to be the top goalscorer in Qatar, including a best bet, an each-way shout and three big-priced outsiders.
Argentina are second favourites to win the World Cup, largely thanks to the recent performances of their captain and talisman.
Messi has scored 22 goals in 23 games for PSG and Argentina this season – including 13 in his last 13 matches coming into the tournament – to arguably reclaim his title as the best player in the world.
The 35-year-old has bagged 10 goals in his last four matches for Argentina, including all five in a 5-0 win over Estonia in June. The quality of opposition in those games has, admittedly, been poor, but such numbers are a result of the more advanced role he plays in Lionel Scaloni’s current system.
Messi scored four goals when Argentina reached the final at World Cup 2014 and was the joint-highest scorer with four goals when they won the Copa America last year.
Given his form, and the fact the team around him haven’t lost in 36 games, it would be no surprise if he surpasses that total this time around, which makes him the best bet to top the scoring charts and go out in style in what will be the final World Cup of his career.
For years, Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani have been Uruguay’s de facto front two, but Nunez has broken up that partnership and now looks a certain starter in Qatar.
The 23-year-old has faced some criticism since joining Liverpool from Benfica in the summer, but his goalscoring record for the Reds has been impressive with nine in 18 matches in all competitions at an average of one every 105 minutes.
He’s in great form, with seven goals in his last 10, and also found the net in his last international game, a 2-0 friendly win over Canada in September.
Whether it’s from the left or down the middle, Nunez will play a key role for Uruguay, and they should go deep into the tournament having been drawn in a winnable group alongside Portugal, Ghana and South Korea.
A player priced at 100/1 or bigger has either won or tied for the Golden Boot in four of the last six World Cups, so it’s well worth backing at least a couple of outsiders at big prices.
Olivier Giroud is just three goals away from becoming France’s all-time leading goalscorer, and he could start their first group game against Australia as Karim Benzema recovers from a muscle injury.
Giroud has scored 10 goals in 21 games for club and country this season, and a strong start could see him keep his spot in the side for the entire tournament, as he did in France’s triumphant 2018 World Cup campaign.
Leroy Sane is set to start in a fluid front three for Germany alongside Serge Gnabry and Kai Havertz, and looks a great bet having scored 10 goals in 19 matches for Bayern this season.
Hansi Flick’s side don’t play with a recognised No. 9, so Sane should have plenty of opportunity to get into scoring positions for one of the tournament’s strongest sides.
Kasper Dolberg scored three goals in four games for Denmark at Euro 2020, and will again be their starting striker in Qatar.
The Sevilla striker hasn’t been in great form for his club, which explains his price, but he scored in a win over France in the Nations League in September and only needs a few goals against Tunisia and Australia in the group stage to be in contention.
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