World Cup: 10 Who Could Win Golden Boot

June 11, 2014 | Ethan Stewart

World Cup: 10 Who Could Win Golden Boot

The 2014 World Cup will finally be kicking tomorrow with the opening match featuring a clash between Brazil and Croatia on ESPN at 3 PM.  Let’s take a look at 10 players who have a chance at winning the Golden Boot (top goal scorer) during this year’s highly anticipated World Cup.

1. Neymar (Brazil)

-The odds on favorite to win the Golden Boot this year.  Everyone anticipates that will make a deep run in the tournament this year and it’s expected that Neymar will shine in front of the home crowd.  Neymar performs at his best when he is his team’s number 1 option and he will certainly be heavily relied upon to create scoring chances and to put the ball in the back of the net.

2. Lionel Messi (Argentina)

-Messi, a 4-time Ballon D’Or winner, has experienced a bit of fall from grace during the 2013-2014 club season with Barcelona.  Well maybe a fall from grace from his exceedingly high standards.  He still managed to bag 28 goals last season despite dealing with some lingering injuries.  Messi should be able to lead Argentina out of the group stage with ease.

3.Edin Dzeko (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

-If it weren’t for Luis Suarez’s immaculate season with Liverpool, Edin Dzeko would have had a strong case at being named BPL player of the year.  Especially in the second half of last season Dzeko was a phenomenal goal scorer and was the key to Manchester City winning the premier league title.  Although his country of Bosnia-Herzegovina may be hard for many to identify on a map, they are an up-and-coming team that will surprise many and I predict that despite this being their first ever World Cup, they will advance past the group stage along with Argentina.

4. Luis Suarez (Uruguay)

-Speaking of the devil, if Suarez were fully healthy he would have been the favorite to win the Golden Boot.  However, despite positive reports, I’m skeptical as to whether Suarez will be fit enough to play after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery.  When in-form he’s the best pure striker in the world and he just may be healthy enough to perform up to his standards for Uruguay during this World Cup.

5. Jackson Martinez (Columbia)

– Martinez is probably the most unrecognizable name on this list.  He plays for FC Porto of the Portuguese League and scored 20 times for his club.  It was not anticipated that Martinez would play a huge role in this World Cup as his fellow countryman Radamel Falcao had been one of the most lethal strikers in recent memory.  However, Falcao suffered a major knee injury earlier this season and despite his best efforts has not been able to get himself into the fitness necessary to perform at a high level.  Martinez will step in and provide the attacking prowess needed to advance Columbia at least past the group stage and possibly further.

6. Mario Balotelli (Italy)

-“Super Mario” Balotelli is one of the most polarizing characters in the soccer world to say the least.  The Italian striker is known for his love of setting off fireworks in hotels rooms as much as he’s known for his love of scoring goals.  Balotelli will surely be looking to perform well for his country as he may be looking for a transfer away from AC Milan this year.

7. Thomas Müller (Germany)

-Müller is more of a winger than a pure striker, but that doesn’t stop him from scoring goals in high-pressure situations.  Müller actually won the golden boot in the 2010 World Cup at the age of 20 as he scored 5 goals along with 3 assists.  Müller is part of a talented and deep German midfield, however, he will still be relied upon to be a major scoring force for Joachim Löw’s squad since only 1 striker was actually brought to Brazil.

8. Daniel Sturridge (England)

-Sturridge was the other half of Liverpool’s lethal striker tandem this past season along with Luis Suarez.  England will need the pacey Brit to take on the role of primary goalscorer if they are to have a chance at advancing past their difficult group consisting of Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica.  His speed and ability to finish with his left foot will certainly make Sturridge a force to be reckoned with in the tournament.

9. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)

-If Ronaldo is truly healthy as the reports have suggested the reigning Ballon D’Or will be an absolute nightmare for all who attempt to defend him.  He had a phenomenal end to his season with Real Madrid as he managed to lead them to a UEFA Champions League Title.  It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest to see the best player in the world walk away with the Golden Boot.

10.Jozy Altidore (United States)

-Crazier things have happened, right?  Coming into the 3 warm-up friendlies for the USA Altidore may have been the least in form player on the entire squad.  After making a move to the English Premier League Altidore struggled mightily with Sunderland and only managed to bag 2 goals all season long.  Despite the disappointing season with his club, United States manager Jürgen Klinsmann stuck with Altidore as his first-choice striker and the decision appears to be a promising one as Altidore was able to score twice in the final friendly against Nigeria.  Altidore will be looking to build upon that momentum in the United States’ first match against Ghana on June 16 (ESPN 6 PM).