World Cup: Race for the Golden Boot

World Cup: Race for the Golden Boot

words_Nick Engvall

For the first time since FIFA began awarding the Golden Boot Award to the top goal scorer of the World Cup tournament in 1930, a player has the chance to win the Golden Boot in consecutive tournaments but the competition for this year’s Golden Boot is fierce. With just a few matches remaining in the tournament, the winner is up in the air, especially considering the players that are still in it, and their abilities. If it comes down to a tie, FIFA uses assists as the deciding factor in rewarding the top scorer of the tournament.

Miroslav Klose of GermanyMiroslav Klose – Germany’s Miroslav Klose won the Golden Boot in his home country in 2006 with five goals, one more than his current total for this year’s tournament. However, Germany still has two matches to play, today’s semi-final and either the championship match or the runner-up match. What makes Klose’s run for the Golden Boot even more interesting is that he is just one goal shy of Ronaldo for the all-time top goal scorer in World Cup history. If Klose can overtake Ronaldo as the all-time top goal scorer and in the process become the first player in World Cup history to win back-to-back Golden Boot awards, it would be hard to argue Miroslav’s position as one of the greatest to ever play the game.

Shot at Gold: Klose has the advantage of experience in high stress matches. The Germans have been one of the top four teams in the tournament in the last two World Cup tournaments. Klose was there, he has proven he knows how to get it done. For this reason Klose has about as good a chance as any to take home this year’s award.

David VillaDavid Villa – Spain’s David Villa is currently the top scorer of the tournament with five goals. Villa, like Klose, also has two matches remaining. The first of which is against one of the toughest defenses in the tournament, Germans. Villa is the not only the leader of the tournament, but the leader of his team. Shouldering an entire team through the tournament by scoring in each match thus far, including two 1-0 victories in which Villa was the only player on the field to score, Villa is under more pressure than most. This kind of pressure can take its toll, but Villa hasn’t faltered yet so he is still at the top of the list of probable winners of this year’s Golden Boot award. Spain doesn’t play high scoring matches, Germany does, which ultimately hurts Villa’s shot at gold.

Shot at Gold: Villa’s has handled the pressure well so far, however being the only scorer on the team can be tough, since Spain hasn’t been to the semi-finals since 1950, the pressure will only get worse. Villa is more than capable, but even with a one goal advantage he might have the toughest road the Golden Boot. The German defense shut down Lionel Messi and Argentina’s offense completely, if they come into today’s match with that kind of dominant defense, Villa may have a difficult time finding a way to score no matter how well he seems to be able to use the side posts.

Wesley Sneijder of NetherlandsWesley Sneijder – Sneijder may be the funnest player to watch out of the list. The Dutch mid-fielder has been a key in the incredible unbeaten streak that has led Netherlands into the final match against the winner of today’s Germany versus Spain match. Sneijder plays with an excitement level that seems to be above all others, as well as his play on the field. Netherlands current win streak has them just one victory away from going undefeated through both qualifying and the tournament. Only Pele and the 1970 Brazil team have accomplished that, ironically Sneijder scored two goals in an incredible comeback against Brazil earlier in the tournament.

Shot at Gold: Sneijder is no Pele, he is however the future of Dutch soccer and that future is bright. Sneijder currently with five goals and one match remaining might seem to be at a disadvantage, but what other player score two goals against a team like Brazil? Don’t rule out the future of the Flying Dutchmen just yet.

Diego ForlanDiego Forlan – This year’s long shot is Diego Forlan of Uruguay. Currently with four goals, Diego has been one of the few players that have shown to have power and precision at his disposal this year. Forlan added his fourth goal yesterday, but with only one match remaining for the Uruguayan, he’d need to have an incredibly dominant performance in his last match, and a lot of defensive help from other teams to land the Golden Boot for himself this year.

Shot at Gold: If finding the needle in a haystack is difficult, how about trying to find one in a field full of haystacks? Sorry, not going to happen.

Noteworthy – Thomas Mueller of Germany would have had a good shot at the Golden Boot, however sitting out against Spain will likely keep his goal total at four. He’ll have a shot in the Championship match or runner-up match, but with all the talent still battling for the Golden Boot, Thomas’ chances would be about as good as Diego Forlan’s, only finding the needle in the field of haystacks would need to be done blindfolded.

Bottom line, today’s match will likely decide the Golden Boot winner, Germany’s Miroslav Klose, or Spain’s David Villa. Who is your pick?

images via yahoo