Who could win the Golden Boot at the Qatar World Cup 2022?

The prestigious Golden Boot trophy will be awarded to the player with the most goals scored in the tournament.

The FIFA Soccer World Cup 2010 award Golden Boot
The FIFA Football World Cup 2010 Golden Boot trophy [Christof Stache/AFP]

It’s all come down to the final match of the World Cup in Qatar: On Sunday, France and Argentina will face off. And there’s stiff competition not just for the Cup, but among some of the world’s best football players over the prestigious Golden Boot trophy.

The Golden Boot is awarded to the individual player with the most goals scored in the tournament. In the case of a tie for goals scored, the number of assists by a player is then considered.

If players are tied on both counts, the winner is decided by who played the fewest minutes.

England captain Harry Kane took the trophy at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, where he scored six goals and led his team to the semifinals.

Here is a snapshot of the top contenders for the Golden Boot at the 2022 World Cup:

Lionel Messi

Argentina’s Lionel Messi scores their second goal against the Netherlands from the penalty spot [File: Molly Darlington/Reuters]

The Argentina great has already bagged five goals so far this World Cup, which he has said is probably his last.

The 35-year-old opened his account by burying a penalty kick in a shock Group C loss to Saudi Arabia, before scoring and assisting Enzo Fernandez in an emotionally charged win over Mexico.

Messi also scored in Argentina’s 2-1 win over Australia in the last 16, putting his side ahead after 35 minutes with a coolly taken low strike for his 94th international goal.

He was instrumental in the quarterfinal against the Netherlands and lashed home a second-half penalty in a dramatic game that ended 2-2 after extra time and was won by Argentina on penalties.

Messi’s inspirational display of talent booked the team a place in the World Cup final after they swatted aside Croatia 3-0. He opened the scoring from the penalty spot but saved his best for the third goal when he spun around Josko Gvardiol before jigging along the goal line and passing it off for Julian Alvarez to finish.

The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner has enjoyed a trophy-laden career at the club level, and his fans around the world are hoping he can finally help deliver a World Cup for his country.

Kylian Mbappe

mbappe celebrates
France’s Kylian Mbappe celebrates scoring their second goal against Denmark in the group stages of the World Cup [Peter Cziborra/Reuters]

The 23-year-old scored against Australia in his side’s opening Group D match and bagged a second-half double against Denmark as France booked their spot in the knockouts.

He failed to find the net as Tunisia recorded a famous upset in their final group match, but he added two more goals to his tally in a 3-1 win against Poland in the round of 16.

Julian Alvarez

Argentina's Julian Alvarez
Argentina’s Julian Alvarez scores his side’s second goal during the World Cup semifinal against Croatia [Thanassis Stavrakis/AP]

Alvarez has scored four goals in his first World Cup, becoming only the second player to score that many in a single edition of the tournament for the Albiceleste.

Messi called the 22-year-old “spectacular” and “extraordinary” after the double against Croatia booked them a place in the final. Alvarez is the youngest player since Pele to score twice in a World Cup semifinal.

The young striker also made an impression by scoring to help Argentina to a 2-1 victory over Australia and to a 2-0 victory over Poland.

Olivier Giroud

Olivier Giroud is France’s all-time top goalscorer [File: Hannah Mckay/Reuters]

Olivier Giroud hasn’t let France feel Ballon D’Or winner Karim Benzema’s absence at the World Cup. His second-half winner against England was his fourth of the tournament and he’s now scored in successive knockout games.

Giroud’s neat finish in the round of 16 game against Poland saw him overtake Thierry Henry as France’s all-time highest goalscorer. He has scored 53 times for his country since making his debut in 2011.

Player                       Team            Goals      Assists     Games    Minutes

Lionel Messi             Argentina           5             3               6           570

Kylian Mbappe          France              5              2              6            478

Julian Alvarez           Argentina           4             0               6           362

Olivier Giroud           France               4             0               5           379

Gonçalo Ramos     Portugal               3             1               2            179

Alvaro Morata           Spain                 3             1              4             206

Marcus Rashford     England              3             0              5             176

Enner Valencia        Ecuador              3             0              3             277

Bukayo Saka           England              3             0              5             313

Richarlison               Brazil                  3             0              5             257

Cody Gakpo            Netherlands        3             0              5             490

* Stats as of December 18, 2022

Source: Reuters