As we head towards the end of the year, excitement for 2018’s World Cup in Russia intensifies. There is a little over six months until the big kick-off. If it’s anything like Brazil 2014, we can expect goals galore and exciting games.
32 teams will have varying levels of expectations. The big hitters will be hoping to taste glory, while smaller nations will see it as a chance to lay down a marker and write their name into World Cup folklore.
It’s not just about the teams, however. The World Cup is a chance for players to shine – especially strikers. If you’re unable to win the tournament with your nation, being crowned the victor of the Golden Boot is the next best thing.
But who is most likely to finish as the top scorer in Russia next summer?
England doesn’t usually fare too well at international tournaments, but with Harry Kane, England have their best out-and-out striker since Alan Shearer. The Englishman is scoring goals for fun, and will be many’s top choice to finish with the Golden Boot. In fact, he’s amongst the bookies’ favourite to finish top scorer at 16/1. If you’re looking for practical advice to improve your betting, bet on what you know with a player many of us see on a week-in, week-out basis.
Brazil suffered a humiliating defeat to Germany in the semi-final of the last World Cup. They would like nothing more than revenge in Russia. With Gabriel Jesus in the team, their chances of going one step further to the final will greatly improve. He often keeps Sergio Aguero out of the Manchester City starting 11.
While Gabriel Jesus is a top-class striker, the real star of the show for Brazil is Neymar. The world’s most expensive player will carry the burden of the nation on his shoulders next summer. He already has 15 goals in 18 appearances for PSG this season. You wouldn’t bet against him finishing top goal scorer at the World Cup.
Neymar’s former Barcelona teammate, Luis Suarez, is one of the world’s most prolific strikers. Uruguay will be hoping that Suarez and Cavani fire on all cylinders next summer if they’re to have a good World Cup run. Man aspects about Suarez might be unpredictable, but you know his goalscoring is always consistent.
Mr Barcelona and Mr Argentina, Messi is arguably the best player in the world. La Albiceleste will hope that he can lead his team to glory and go one further than their final appearance at the 2014 World Cup.
Morata is an outside bet, but he certainly has the quality to finish the 2018 World Cup as top goalscorer. The Spanish star has performed well for Chelsea this season and will hope to carry that form into the World Cup next summer.
The current flavour of football, Kylian Mbappe’s rise has been nothing short of sensational. The PSG star will expect to light up the World Cup with his top-draw finishing, rapid pace and intelligence that goes way beyond his 18 years of age.
The Bayern Munich striker is arguably the best number 9 in the world. While Poland might not be considered favourites to win the World Cup, they have more than half a chance at performing above expectations with Lewandowski in the team. A good run from Poland could see the 28-year-old pip the others to the Golden Boot.
Who could forget Ronaldo? He might be 33 now, but he’s still one of the best players in the world. If Portugual have any hope of doing well at the World Cup, they will look for Ronaldo’s goals. He could easily finish with the Golden Boot.
These are just a handful of the world-class players who will be on show at next year’s World Cup. One thing is for sure: it’s going to be an exciting tournament where the best of the best do battle. Anyone of these stars could take the glory, for both themselves and their country.