Europe’s leading marksmen can make the headlines on Day 12 of the World Cup
As the race for the World Cup Golden Boot gathers pace, four of European football’s most prolific goal-scorers will be expecting to find the net once again when Groups A and B reach their climax today.
They’ve shared nine goals between them thus far and whilst for one, the tournament journey ends at the first hurdle, each has an opportunity to remind the footballing world of their goal getting class.
Mohammed Salah’s pre-tournament injury has cast a shadow over Egypt’s first World Cup campaign since 1990, one that the African’s have been unable to shake off. The Liverpool man’s absence from their opener against Uruguay was a devastating blow. Despite making the starting lineup against Russia on match day two, the man dubbed the ‘Egyptian King’ was clearly still hampered by his shoulder problem and could only offer mere glimpses of the ability that has seen him become one of the most sought after men in the game.
The moment every Egypt supporter and footballing neutral was hoping for, arrived when Salah had the chance to open his World Cup account from the spot against Russia. He dispatched the penalty in the style that we have all become accustomed to and today, against a Saudi Arabia team that have conceded six in two defeats, Mo has the chance to sign off an incredible season in fitting style.
Back Salah to score two or more vs. Saudi Arabia – 19/4
At the other end of Group A, Russia and Uruguay meet to decide who will top the table. To the surprise of many, one suspects not least themselves, it is the hosts Russia who have lit up the early rounds, finding the net eight times and conceding just once. Their South Americans opponents meanwhile have been quietly efficient, with two 1-0 victories to their name.
Russia have had four different scorers already, but there is little doubting that it is Uruguay, in the form of Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez, who carry the greatest goal threat. The latter, who found the net 32 times for Barcelona last season, notched the winner against Saudi Arabia and is now intent on making more of the right tournament headlines this time round, after his infamous biting antics in 2014.
Luis Suarez to score first vs. Russia – 4/1
Whether they finish first or second in Group A, Suarez and Uruguay will face a tricky task in the Round of 16, in the form of either Portugal or Spain.
The Portuguese have once again been inspired by the one and only Cristiano Ronaldo. The Real Madrid man has netted all four of his country’s goals to this point, including a breathtaking hat-trick against Spain.
Fuelled by the success of Euro 2016, Ronaldo is on a one man mission to fire his nation to another triumph on this the biggest stage of them all. And while the defensive frailties of Fernando Santos’ team were exposed against Spain in their tournament opener, we have seen on countless occasions before, that any side boasting CR7 in their ranks has that winning component.
Cristiano Ronaldo to win the Golden Boot – 16/5
Portugal’s rivals for top spot in Group B are the Spanish, a nation whose status in world football has slipped in recent years. Those heady days of 2010 when they lifted the Jules Rimet trophy, either side of victorious European Championship campaigns, haven’t been matched since. But while their star may shine less brightly, in Diego Costa they have an ever present goal threat. The Atletico Madrid man has played a vital part so far with a brace in the 3-3 draw with Portugal and the winner, albeit fortuitously, against Iran.
Costa will be eyeing up Group B’s bottom side Morocco as the perfect opponents to further add to his goal tally.
Diego Costa to score anytime vs. Morocco – 21/20
With Harry Kane laying down a marker yesterday, the onus is on Ronaldo, Costa and co to respond. England’s captain tops the Golden Boot charts with five, but there’s every reason to suggest the Tottenham man may find his place at the summit under greater threat come close of play tonight.
Who do you think will win the 2018 World Cup Golden Boot?
Ronaldo, Costa, Suarez and Salah all to score in the World Cup today – 16/1