World Cup 2022: Five dark horses who could stake a claim for Golden Boot award

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Some of the greatest goalscoring talents in world football will be on show in the first ever winter World Cup finals.

The usual suspects are being discussed as potential Golden Boot winners at the World Cup Finals in Qatar.

Somewhat predictably, Harry Kane, Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi and Karim Benzema lead the odds, but there is some value in looking beyond the obvious when it comes to who may collect the Golden Boot at the end of next month.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Several forward players will hope to take the momentum built up from their impressive domestic form into the tournament and further enhance their reputations by hitting the net with regularity in Qatar. With the World Cup finals now just days away, 3 Added Minutes looks at five alternative options to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Gary Lineker, Ronaldo and Harry Kane by claiming the Golden Boot.

Vinicius Junior (Brazil) - 33/1

Vinicius Junior celebrates after scoring Real Madrid's foruth goal in the 5-1 win over Celtic at the Bernabeu. (Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images)Vinicius Junior celebrates after scoring Real Madrid's foruth goal in the 5-1 win over Celtic at the Bernabeu. (Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images)
Vinicius Junior celebrates after scoring Real Madrid's foruth goal in the 5-1 win over Celtic at the Bernabeu. (Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images)

Hardly a prolific goalscorer at international level, the Real Madrid forward has just one goal in 16 caps and that came earlier this year in a qualifying win over Chile. But there can be no doubt the 22-year-old is heading into the tournament in fine form after shining in La Liga and the Champions League throughout the opening four months of the season.

With six goals in 14 La Liga appearances and an impressive four in six Champions League group stage games, Vinicius could be one to watch for the Golden Boot as he takes his place in an eyewateringly impressive Brazil attacking lineup.

Robert Lewandowski (Poland) - 40/1

Another player in fine form, Lewandowski has settled into life in Spain by plundering his way to 18 goals in 19 games in competitions for Barcelona. Already a Poland legend, the striker has 76 goals in 134 caps for his country and will hope to make an impression in Qatar.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Although it seems unlikely they will go deep into the tournament, Poland will face Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Argentina in the group stages, meaning Lewandowski will have plenty of opportunities to get off the mark early and lay an early claim for an award that would round off an impressive career in fine style.

Cody Gakpo (Netherlands) - 50/1

Cody Gakpo celebrates scoring for Holland. Picture: JOHN THYS/AFP via Getty ImagesCody Gakpo celebrates scoring for Holland. Picture: JOHN THYS/AFP via Getty Images
Cody Gakpo celebrates scoring for Holland. Picture: JOHN THYS/AFP via Getty Images

Although not an immediate thought when considering the top goalscorer at the tournament, Gakpo could benefit from a very preferable group stage draw. The Dutch will face hosts Qatar, Ecuador and Senegal, and that could offer the PSV star a real opportunity to hit form in the early stages of the tournament.

Three goals in nine caps hardly screams ‘prolific forward’, but Gakpo has momentum ahead of the finals after scoring 13 goals and providing 17 assists in 24 appearances in all competitions for his club.

Thomas Müller (Germany) - 66/1

 Bayern Munich’s Thomas Muller has been linked with a move to Everton. Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images Bayern Munich’s Thomas Muller has been linked with a move to Everton. Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images
Bayern Munich’s Thomas Muller has been linked with a move to Everton. Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Clearly something of a nostalgic pick, Muller has form at World Cup Finals after scoring ten goals in his previous 16 appearances in the tournament. The Bayern Munich star is also a former Golden Boot winner after collecting the accolade in 2010 as the Germans were beaten in the semi-finals by eventual winners Spain.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The two sides will go head-to-head in the group stage in Qatar, meaning Muller will have to make the most of games against Japan and Costa Rica if he wants to go some way to matching his heroics in South Africa ten years ago.

Aleksander Mitrovic (Serbia) - 66/1

Aleksandar Mitrovic was in great form for Serbia on international duty, but was pictured wearing heavy strapping on his ankle (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images)Aleksandar Mitrovic was in great form for Serbia on international duty, but was pictured wearing heavy strapping on his ankle (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images)
Aleksandar Mitrovic was in great form for Serbia on international duty, but was pictured wearing heavy strapping on his ankle (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images)

There will be some derision to this pick but the Fulham striker ticks a number of boxes for a potential top goalscorer. Firstly, he is in impressive domestic form with nine goals in 12 Premier League appearances so far this season. Secondly, he just loves international football, and much like Lewandowski with Poland, Mitrovic is viewed as his country’s main threat ahead of the tournament after hitting a half-century of goals in 76 caps.

Finally, and perhaps most significantly, Serbia will fancy their chances of progressing into the knockout stages as they compete with Switzerland and Cameroon in a group that will surely be won by pre-tournament favourites Brazil.

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.