With 12 goals each during the qualification rounds for the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup, England’s Harry Kane and Holland’s Memphis Depay both top scored as their teams booked their place in Qatar.
Kane was also the top scorer and golden boot winner at the previous finals in Russia back in 2018 as the Spurs striker fired England into the last four.
Four years ago, the 28 year old hit six goals across England’s six games (including the third and fourth play off) but what will it take to top the leader boards out in the desert this winter?
Golden Boot Vs Top Scorer
To begin with, we should point out that there is a difference between winning the world cup Golden Boot and top scoring in the tournament.
Essentially, what you need to know is that a World Cup can finish with shared top goal scorers but there can only be one recipient of the golden boot.
That recipient will be determined by other factors such as assists and playing time, or which footballer has accumulated less playing time while scoring the same amount of goals.
This Golden Boot criteria was introduced for the 2010 World Cup – which incidentally had four shared leading goal scorers – and was also utilised for the 2012 UEFA European Championships in Austria and Switzerland.
Reigning European and World champions at the time Spain would go on to win that tournament and their star striker Fernando Torres would go on to be awarded the Golden Boot.
Torres only scored three goals at those finals which is quite low to top the goal scoring charts at an event like this.
The Spaniard did so alongside Germany’s Mario Gómez, Russia’s Alan Dzagoev, Croatia’s Mario Mandzukic, Italy’s Mario Balotelli and Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal.
And while Torres and Gomez also matched each other with one assist each, Torres did so in 189 minutes compared to Gomez who played 2822 minutes in that tournament hence it was El Nino who picked up the trophy.
At the 1994 World Cup in the USA, before the goals to minutes rule had been introduced, the Golden Boot, then known as the Golden Shoe, had to be shared by two players.
These were Bulgaria’s Hristo Stoichkov and Russia’s Oleg Salenko, who scored five of his six goals that year in one match against Cameroon where his team ran out the 6-1 victors.
Sixteen years later in South Africa in 2010 four players matched each other’s leading goal scoring tally of five.
The four leading scorers that year were Thomas Müller of Germany, David Villa of Spain, Wesley Sneijder of the Netherlands and Uruguay’s Diego Forlán.
It was the German Müller though who was awarded the Golden Boot as he had also provided three assists for his team mates.
So, if you are planning a to place a bet on the 2026 World Cup Golden Boot winner be sure to pick a player that has a habit of setting up his team mates as well regularly finding the back of net.
Generally speaking, it has taken an average of 6.5 goals to finish a World Cup tournament as the leading goal scorer.
To be clear; if you bet on the golden boot and your player wins it you win your bet in full but only one player can win it, if you bet on top goalscorer and the position is tied then dead heat rules apply. For example, if you back a player with odds of 12/1 to be top goalscorer and they end up as TGS but share that position with two other players the odds are divided by the number of places, here 12/1 divided by 3, gives 4/1.
Top FIFA World Cup Goalscorers By Tournament
|YEAR||HOST||PLAYER||NATION||GOALS SCORED||MATCHES PLAYED|
|1962||Chile||Valentin Ivanov||Soviet Union||4||4|
|1962||Chile||Dražan Jerković||Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia||4||6|
|1970||Mexico||Gerd Müller||West Germany||10||6|
|1974||West Germany||Grzegorz Lato||Poland||7||7|
|2002||Japan and South Korea||Ronaldo||Brazil||8||7|
|2010||South Africa||Thomas Müller||Germany||5||6|
|2010||South Africa||Diego Forlán||Uruguay||5||7|
|2010||South Africa||David Villa||Spain||5||7|
|2010||South Africa||Wesley Sneijder||Netherlands||5||7|
Does The Winner Need To Reach The Final?
In a word no, it doesn’t seem to matter whether or not a player makes the final to be finish as the leading goal scorer, but it certainly doesn’t hurt his chances.
As we have seen, one player hit five goals in one match back in 1994 and only took to the field on three occasions, although this hasn’t happened before or since.
In the modern era, it looks to be a minimum of five games that it takes to hit more goals than the others.
That is the amount of game time James Rodriguez played in 2014 when he top scored with six goals.
So, it would be wise to pick a team that can make a deep run to at least the semi final stage and also plays for a team that likes to go on the attack.
Also, when the draw has been made in April, look for any mismatches where one opportunistic hit man might have a field day.
European Top Scorers World Cup 2022 Qualification
|Memphis Depay||Netherlands||12 (4)|
|Harry Kane||England||12 (4)|
|Robert Lewandowski||Poland||8 (0)|
|Aleksandar Mitrović||Serbia||8 (0)|
|Eran Zahavi||Israel||8 (0)|
|Cristiano Ronaldo||Portugal||6 (2)|
|Munas Dabbur||Israel||6 (1)|
|Antoine Griezmann||France||6 (1)|
|Teemu Pukki||Finland||6 (1)|
|Marko Arnautović||Austria||5 (2)|