In approximately 12 months’ time, the best nations in international soccer will gather in Qatar to duke it out for title of world champion. While the tournament will crown team victors, it will also apportion individual accolades for those who outshine their counterparts.
The most prestigious of these individual awards is the Golden Boot, which recognizes the top scorer across the competition. Since the first World Cup in 1930, there have been 30 different winners of the prize, with several players sharing the accolade on more than one occasion. But who will come out on top at the Soccer World Cup 2022? Here’s a rundown of the main candidates.
As the top scorer in Russia in 2018, Harry Kane is vying to become the first man to win the trophy on more than one occasion. But while unprecedented, the phenomenon is certainly not impossible and not even unlikely. That’s because England are just emerging from a narrow loss on penalties in the European Championships’ Final to Italy, while Kane seems to be finally finding his feet for club team Tottenham Hotspur this season.
Given that Brazil are always in the conversation for winning honours at any major tournament, their most influential players must be considered for the top prizes. Talisman Neymar has endured some torrid luck at recent World Cups; in 2014, an injury against Colombia in the quarter finals ruled him out of the rest of the competition, with Brazil losing 1-7 against Germany in their next game. Four years later, he cried on the pitch after his team were knocked out in the quarters by Belgium. Will 2022 be the year that Neymar and Brazil reach their full potential?
France are another powerhouse of world soccer and at the present time, their squad is arguably the strongest on the planet. There is significant depth in every position and with a front three of Kylian Mbappé, Karim Benzema and Antoine Griezmann firing on full cylinders, there are few teams who could withstand a French onslaught. Indeed, any of those attackers could be touted for the Golden Boot, but it is the youthful Mbappé’s blistering pace and unerring eye for goal which makes him a top pick.
The Netherlands is certainly an outside bet to lift the trophy in Qatar, though they have shown remarkable improvement since failing to qualify for the 2018 edition of the competition in Russia. Key to that development has been the form of forward Memphis Depay, who is as adept at scoring free kicks and beating the keeper one-on-one as he is at making incisive runs and dribbling past his man. The Dutch have a tall order on their hands to win the tournament, but if Depay finishes as top scorer, who knows what could happen.
With 32 teams competing in the World Cup in Qatar, plenty of strikers will fancy their chances of outscoring the rest – but these four talented individuals represent our picks for the Golden Boot.