The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar is just over 4 months away, which means for soccer fans, it’s like there are two Christmases this year. Obviously, we’re all hoping it will be a tournament of non-stop goalmouth action; high scoring games with sensational shots that stay in the memory for a long time. But who is likely to hit the back of the net more than anyone else?
In this FIFA Predictions article, Nexbetsports evaluate the chances of 10 players hoping to win the Golden Boot. Read on for more FIFA predictions.
FIFA PREDICTIONS- likely World Cup top scorers #1: Harry Kane (England)
The English captain should be one of the first names mentioned when you talk about likely winners of the Golden Boot World Cup. For starters, his team has every chance of going far in the tournament in Qatar – England has reached the semifinals in its last two major tournaments. And in 14 appearances at the World Cup and European finals, the Tottenham striker has scored 10 goals.
Harry Kane’s international scoring record stands at 50 goals in 73 games – he’s only three shots behind Wayne Rooney, who is currently the Three Lions’ all-time leading scorer. At just 28 years old, he has plenty of time to surpass the former Man Utd player.
Another factor that makes Harry Kane a favorite for the Golden Boot is his relentless form at club level. In 5 of his last 8 Premier League campaigns, the Spurs talisman has scored 20 or more goals. His average number of league goals per season over the same period is 22.5. And under head coach Antonio Conte, Harry Kane has looked sharper than ever.
England’s opponents in Group B – Iran, the United States and Wales – will have to play their A games to shut him out.
FIFA PREDICTIONS- likely World Cup top scorers #2: Romelu Lukaku (Belgium)
Now back at Internazionale after a torrid time at his parent club Chelsea, we should see a happier Romelu Lukaku turn up for Belgium come World Cup time.
The former Manchester United striker scored just 8 times in 26 Premier League appearances for the Blues last season – a paltry return, considering his £90 million transfer fee. But when he’s fit and raring to go, Romelu Lukaku can be unplayable.
In his previous stint at Milan, the powerful forward scored 24 goals in 36 appearances to help the Nerazzuri win the Serie A title. As strong in the air as he is on the ball, Romelu Lukaku has the ability to give defenders nightmares. And his international record is superb.
In June this year, he was Belgium’s top scorer with 68 goals in 102 appearances – 11 of those strikes came in major tournaments, including 5 in World Cups.
Don’t bet against him adding a significant number of goals to that total in Qatar.
FIFA PREDICTIONS- likely World Cup top scorers #3: Memphis Depay (Netherlands)
Memphis has come a long way since his unsuccessful stint at Manchester United between 2015 and 2017. Now plying his trade at Barcelona, the speedy striker has become an integral part of Louis van Gaal’s Dutch team – scoring 21 goals in as many appearances since the start of 2021.
Under van Gaal, Memphis Depay tends to play in the center of a forward trio, with Steven Berghuis and Steven Bergwijn on either side. It’s an effective system – in June, the Netherlands beat their Belgian neighbors 4-1 in the UEFA Nations League. Memphis Depay scored twice, while his strike buddies scored one goal each.
Moreover, the former Lyon striker is a set-piece specialist; he has scored 13 goals from direct free kicks so far in his club career. And with Ecuador and Qatar among his World Cup group opponents – let’s be honest, neither of them have a great tournament pedigree – you’d expect Memphis Depay to add to his 42 international goals in November.
FIFA PREDICTIONS- likely World Cup top scorers #4: Lionel Messi (Argentina)
Another of the most obvious candidates to end the World Cup as the Golden Boot winner is the mesmerizing Messi. Unsurprisingly, he’s far ahead in goals for Argentina; the former Barcelona ace has scored 86 in 162 appearances – 32 more than second place on the all-time list, Gabriel Batistuta.
And the current Argentine team is probably the best he has played in. Last year, Lionel Messi led the Albiceleste to its first Copa America since 1993 and finished as the tournament’s joint top scorer with 4 goals. Then last month he was named Man of the Match as Argentina beat Italy 3-0 in the “Finalissima” (the match between the South American and European champions).
Now 35 years old, Lionel Messi shows no signs of slowing down. And, given that this will likely be his last World Cup, one would expect him to want to sign off with a bang.
FIFA PREDICTIONS- likely World Cup top scorers #5: Saido Mane (Senegal)
Saido Mane had a full season in 2021-22. He was as prolific as ever for Liverpool, scoring 23 goals in all competitions and helping the Reds win a League Cup and FA Cup double, as well as finish runners-up in the UEFA Champions League and Premier League.
But perhaps his sweetest moment came in a Senegal shirt when he scored the winning kick to beat Egypt 4-2 on penalties and win his first ever Africa Cup of Nations. It showed how helpless Saido Mane is in high-pressure situations – and there will likely be more of that at this winter’s World Cup.
Saido Mane has scored 33 goals in 91 appearances for the Teranga Lions and is pretty much the embodiment of his country’s hopes at this year’s tournament. It will be interesting to see how he fares over the next few months after making a summer transfer to Bayern Munich, but there is no sign that his form will drop off. And if he arrives at the World Cup in good form, we could see a lot of goals from the sharpshooter.
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