World Cups capture the imagination of the public like few other events. Even the most casual football observer can be swept up in the excitement of a national team when the tournament only comes around once every four years.
World Cup 2018 Golden Boot
The World Cup Golden Boot is one of the most prestigious individual honours in football, won by the player who is the top goalscorer at the biggest event in the world of football, the FIFA World Cup. It takes a great striker to win the award but it also takes a great team in order to give the best players a chance to win the award - by playing as many matches as possible and reaching the latter stages of the tournament.
What is the Golden Boot and How is the Golden Boot Decided?
The Golden Boot has only technically been around since 1982 when a prize was given for the first time to the top goalscorer at the tournament. Paolo Rossi was the first official winner, scoring six goals at the tournament in Spain. At the time, the prize was known as the Golden Shoe and was awarded under that name all the way until the 2010 tournament in South Africa, when the prize was officially retitled as the Golden Boot.
The award is decided simply by which player has scored the most goals at the tournament, and there is debate as to whether this award or the Golden Ball, which is given to the best player at the tournament, should garner more prestige in the world game.
With the tournament fairly short in nature (with a maximum of seven games played by any team) and international football generally quite low-scoring in comparison to the domestic game, we often see the Golden Boot being won by totals of as little as five or six goals. This also means that there are often ties between players, if not for the main award, then certainly for the runner-up or third place prizes: the Silver Boot and Bronze Boot, respectively.
In the case that we have a tie, which has happened on many occasions, then the current rules dictate that players with an equal number of goals are to be split based on the number of assists they have provided at the tournament, with the definition of an assist being decided by the FIFA Technical Study Group. If we still have a tie, then the player who scored their goals in the fewest minutes across the tournament will win the prize.
The 2010 World Cup saw a classic example of this, with four players all tied with five goals apiece. Thomas Mueller of Germany won the award having provided an impressive three goals for his teammates, with the other three players separated by the number of minutes played.
FIFA World Cup Golden Boot Winners
The Golden Boot (or Golden Shoe as it was at the time) wasn’t awarded until 1982, but there were some famous winners of the top goalscorer at the World Cup before that with some outstanding records, including such notable former players as Eusebio (1966), Gerd Mueller (1970) and Mario Kempes (1978). The record for goals scored at a World Cup is held by Just Fontaine, who scored an unbelievable 13 goals in Sweden in 1958. There have been some equally well-known players, past and present, to make it onto the FIFA World Cup Golden Boot winners list:
1982 – Paolo Rossi – Italy – 6 goals
Rossi was the first player in the history of the World Cup to walk away with the Golden Shoe in 1982, and he did so despite not scoring for the entire first round. His hat trick in the classic match against Brazil in the final game of the second group stage were his first goals in the tournament. He scored another two goals in the semi-final and a goal in the final in order to win the award, with his Italian side winning the tournament in the process.
1986 - Gary Lineker – England – 6 goals
The only English winner of the award in World Cup history was Gary Lineker, who helped the team reach the quarter-finals, where they lost to Argentina in the game made famous by Maradona's two famous goals : the Hand of God and the Goal of the Century (our vote for the greatest World Cup goal!). Lineker scored six of England's seven goals at the tournament, including a hat trick in the decisive group stage win over Poland. Remarkably, all of Lineker’s goals came from within or just past the six-yard box.
1990 – Salvatore Schillaci – Italy – 6 goals
Schillaci was the second Italian winner of the award, although this time his country had to settle for third place at their own tournament in 1990. Schillaci scored in all but one of Italy's games in the tournament, including the third-placed playoff, semi-final and quarterfinal, and Schillaci is remarkable in the history of the Golden Boot in that he didn't score more than a single goal in any individual game. His goal against Uruguay was one of the best goals of the 1990 World Cup.
1994 - Oleg Salenko/Hristo Stoichkov - Russia/Bulgaria - 6 goals
The only shared Golden Boot in World Cup history was in 1994, when both Oleg Salenko and Hristo Stoichkov scored six goals during the tournament. Both players also got one assist each, so they were both awarded the trophy, with the ‘minutes played’ tiebreaker yet to be introduced at that time. Salenko’s Russia were eliminated in the Group Stage, making his feat particularly impressive and unique.
1998 - Davor Suker - Croatia - 6 goals
Suker shot to prominence at the World Cup in France, when winning the Golden Boot despite playing for a side making their debut in the tournament. Suker scored in the quarterfinal, semi-final and third-placed playoff en route to the award, and scored in six of Croatia’s seven games over the tournament. His goals included a variety of efforts including some excellent examples of top-class control and finishing.
2002 - Ronaldo - Brazil - 8 goals
After winning the Golden Ball in 1998, as the best player in the tournament, Ronaldo got the Golden Boot in 2002 with an emphatic 8 goals including the winning goal in the semi-final and both goals in the final against Germany. It remains the most goals scored by an individual at a World Cup since the Golden Boot award was introduced.
2006 - Miroslav Klose - Germany - 5 goals
Klose was a popular Golden Boot winner, with the award coming in Germany’s home World Cup in 2006. Four of Klose’s five goals came in the group stage of the competition, despite Germany reaching the semi-finals of the tournament and hence playing four knockout games. The 2006 tournament saw some of the lowest individual goal tallies, with the Silver Boot and Bronze Boot being won with only three goals scored by Hernan Crespo and Ronaldo.
2010 - Thomas Mueller - Germany - 5 goals
A German player won the award for the second consecutive World Cup in 2010, with this being the first tournament in which the prize was officially called the Golden Boot. Four players tied with five goals scored, with Mueller taking the crown thanks to his three assists. Mueller was also given the award of Best Young Player at the tournament, having scored in the last 16, quarterfinal, and third-placed playoff.
2014 - James Rodriguez - Colombia - 6 goals
One of the more surprising winners, James Rodriguez starred for an exciting and attacking Colombia side in Brazil and scored one of the outstanding goals in World Cup history in the last 16 versus Uruguay. He took the award ahead of Thomas Mueller and Neymar despite his team going out in the quarterfinals, with his performances rewarded by a big money move to Real Madrid after the tournament.
World Cup Golden Boot Betting
The Golden Boot is always one of the biggest talking points of the World Cup and, outside of the outright winner, is the one market at the tournament that will get the most interest. You will find odds for the winner of the Golden Boot with all of the UK's sports betting sites, and with so many star strikers going to Russia 2018, there is sure to be a huge debate as to who the Golden Boot best bets are this time around. It’s important to compare the best sports bookmakers and find the one with great odds on your preferred bet.
The only previous Golden Boot winners that are still playing and will be competing at Russia are Thomas Mueller, who won in 2010 and has a total of ten World Cup goals, and James Rodriguez, who will take less momentum into this tournament after having to join Bayern Munich on loan in order to get first-team football after his Real Madrid career began to stall.
Whoever wins the Golden Boot, they are bound to go down in history as one of the legends in the game thanks to the huge prestige that comes with winning the award and the focus it gets with the World Cup being the pinnacle of the game of football and the biggest sporting spectacle in the world.
World Cup Golden Boot Odds and Predictions for Russia 2018
The majority of the World Cup Golden Boot football betting will focus around the biggest three names in the world of football at the moment, with Neymar and Lionel Messi the favourites ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo, in the most part because they play for two of the favourites to win the title.
Neymar is the current favourite in the 2018 World Cup Golden Boot betting at a current price of around 11/1. He is helped by the fact he plays for the favourites for the tournament, but the group stages don’t give him too many easy chances except for Costa Rica. With Brazil renowned for having struggled in World Cups in Europe, and with Russia particularly cold, he could be a player to avoid for the Golden Boot, especially with other goalscorers like Gabriel Jesus in the team around him.
Lionel Messi, Argentina
Argentina are another side expected to go far in the tournament, and Messi will be helped by the attacking style and qualities of his team. However, despite being at the top of the game for the last decade and appearing in three World Cups, Messi has never come close to the award. He is probably, therefore, another player to avoid in the Golden Boot betting.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal
After leading Portugal to success in the Euros in 2016, Ronaldo is 16/1 to win the Golden Boot in Russia. He is the absolute focal point for Portugal, and his team are dark horses to challenge for the latter stages of the tournament, so Ronaldo could be a savvy bet at his current price. Unfortunately, his chances might be hampered by his coach’s well-known attritional style of play, as well as a tough group including the stout defences of Iran, Morocco and of course Spain.
Harry Kane, England
English hopes for only a second Golden Boot winner after Lineker in 1986 rest with Harry Kane, who has been one of the most consistent goal scorers in Europe over the past couple of years. Kane might be hampered by his team, with England not having reached the semi-finals of a World Cup since 1990, but there is hope that the attacking qualities of this young England team can bring him chances and goals. An easy matchup (on paper) in the group stages against Panama could see Kane in with a chance at 20/1.
As well as these main favourites, there are several other contenders, and we can see from past tournaments that the FIFA World Cup Golden Boot winners list has thrown up some unexpected names such as Davor Suker, Thomas Mueller and James Rodriguez.
It tends to be won by poachers, with Ronaldo, Gary Lineker, Salvatore Schillaci, Miroslav Klose, Paolo Rossi and Davor Suker all fitting into this category. It is not always easy to win with your football betting, but a good World Cup Golden Boot betting tip is to look for the poachers who play for decent teams with an attacking philosophy. This could include the likes of Romelu Lukaku of Belgium (25/1), Robert Lewandowski of Poland (33/1) or Radamel Falcao of Colombia (66/1).
Whoever you fancy, whether one of the favourites of an outsider, make sure to choose your bets with the best football betting sites using the extensive bookmaker reviews and exclusive betting offers at Top 10 Sports Betting Sites.