World Cup top goalscorer predictions: Messi can push Mbappe all the way
- Mbappe odds-on for Golden Boot
- Richarlison playing catch-up despite Brazil's progress
- Messi at the heart of every Argentina attack
- Recommended bet: Back Lionel Messi to be top goalscorer
This year's World Cup heads into the quarter-final stage with France's Kylian Mbappe leading the race to finish as the tournament's top goalscorer, with his five goals putting him two clear of his nearest rival.
Nine players have three goals, and while Enner Valencia and Alvaro Morata will not add to their haul following the elimination of Ecuador and Spain, seven runners will still be looking to chase Mbappe down.
Kylian Mbappe (France)
With five goals from just three starts, Mbappe is understandably the punters' favourite.
He has failed to score in only two of his last ten matches for club and country, and one of those was against Tunisia. However, he only played 30 minutes, and a tally of 12 goals from that run suggests he will not be caught in Qatar.
Richarlison did not feature against Cameroon but has still racked up three goals in three World Cup appearances. In the last eight games in which he has played more than 20 minutes for Brazil, Richarlison has only once failed to find the net. He has netted three braces in that run to make it 10 goals in eight starts for his country.
Lionel Messi (Argentina)
While one of nine players with three goals, it is understandable that Messi is a shorter price than most, given how much of Argentina's play goes through him. The Paris Saint-Germain forward takes free-kicks and penalties and is involved in almost every attack.
Of the 14 shots taken by Argentina against Poland, Messi either took or assisted 11.
Having scored in three of four 2022 World Cup games, he will fancy his chances of netting against a defensively questionable Netherlands side.
Goncalo Ramos (Portugal)
Goncalo Ramos' first international start came in the round of 16 clash against Switzerland, and the 21-year-old took his chance in spectacular style, scoring a breath-taking hat-trick.
He must now be a nailed-on starter against Morocco, and while the Africans have a superb defensive record, the potential absence of centre-back pair Nayef Aguerd and Romain Saiss could again open the door for Ramos.
Olivier Giroud (France)
France's all-time record goalscorer has three goals in Qatar and will fancy his chances of netting against an England side who will be preoccupied with the presence of Mbappe.
A lethal penalty area striker with excellent aerial ability, Giroud will use all his experience to try to guide Les Bleus into the final four.
Cody Gakpo (Netherlands)
The Netherlands' rising star has not disappointed, scoring in all three group games. However, the return to fitness of Memphis Depay means that much of the Netherlands' attacking play is likely to go through their leading man, which undermines Gakpo's chances of netting against a tough Argentina defence.
Bukayo Saka (England)
Saka got his World Cup off to a flying start with two goals against Iran but didn't get a sniff against the USA and did not feature against Wales. He found the net again in the last 16 against Senegal, however, and is likely to start against France.
Marcus Rashford (England)
Rashford has done well to score three goals despite starting only one of England's four matches in Qatar. However, his role as a super-sub restricts his chances of scoring many more goals against increasingly challenging opponents.
Whoever wins the Golden Boot will have to score at least five goals to match Mbappe, who is 4/7 with LiveScore Bet to win the Golden Boot, and if France progress past England, as the market expects they will, the PSG attacker will have three more games in which to add to that tally.
Given he is scoring at a rate of more than a goal per game, that realistically puts him out of reach for the chasing pack. However, Messi could give Mbappe a run for his money, and he is an attractive price to win the Golden Boot at 10/1 with LiveScore Bet.
Almost all of Argentina's attacks go through Messi, and his team face a Dutch side who have not convinced defensively. The markets expect Argentina to progress past the Netherlands, meaning Messi should get three matches to claim the runner-up spot behind Mbappe.