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.
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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:
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.
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.
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.
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