So there we have it, the Group Stages of the 2014 World Cup are over but what an incredible group stages they were! With 48 matches played were was a total of 136 goal, averaging 2.83 per game. The Netherlands and Colombia scored 10 and 9 goals respectively but what about the individuals? Who leads the race of the World Cup Golden Boot?
THOMAS MULLER (Germany) – 4 Goals
The German has been playing the infamous “false 9″ role over the course of the World Cup, it’s worked a treat though, 4 goals in 3 games, 262 minutes on the pitch. He scored a cracker too, the winner against USA being his best of the tournament. He can add an assist to his name too which officially puts him top of the table. Muller holds an incredible World Cup goal tally on 9 in 9 at the age of only 24!!
LIONEL MESSI (Argentina) – 4 Goals
Well everyone wondered which Messi would turn up and thank goodness it was the world beater! In a season baited by injuries Lionel Messi has come to Brazil and run riot for Argentina. With opinions across football demanding a good World Cup to put him among the greatest of all time he is not set to disappoint. He’s scored 4 in 243 minutes and each one was pretty special, his brace against Nigeria helped his country top their group.
NEYMAR (Brazil) – 4 Goals
Messi’s Barcelona teammate, Neymar has scored more goals than anyone in international football since the last World Cup. It’s easy to forget he’s still so young, at 22 years of age the talisman has scored 35 goals in 52 caps for Brazil and lit up the Confederations Cup in 2013. He made the high profile move to Barcelona last summer and despite a solid season was forced to play second fiddle to Messi when they both were in the starting XI. Many wondered if Neymar was worth the hype but his 4 goals in 249 minutes and leading of the Brazilian charge on home soil has proved many doubters wrong.
JAMES RODRIGUEZ (Colombia) – 3 goals
James Rodriguez has perhaps been the surprise package at this years World Cup. The Monaco man joined from Porto to link up with his Colombian compatriot Falcao in Ligue 1 last summer and had a decent season scoring 9 in 34 league games. When Falcao got injured though many wrote Colombia off as not having enough fire-power. However, the winger has stepped up to the plate and led his country to the Last 16 with some fantastic displays. He has 3 in 224 minutes as well 2 assists.
KARIM BENZEMA (FRANCE) – 3 goals
Karim Benzema has defined those who believed him not to be of world class quality with 3 goals and 2 assists in 270 minutes for France. The French stormed their group and the Real Madrid front man deserves a chunk of the credit. After a dreadful 2010 World Cup this has been quite the turnaround for the French but to make it any further they need Benzema firing!
ARJEN ROBBEN (Netherlands) – 3 goals
Many people’s player of the tournament so far, Arjen Robben has stunned some with fantastic performances playing as a striker. His pace and unbelievable left foot has seen him notch 3 and 1 assist in 270 minutes, most notably a brace in the 5-1 demolition of Spain in the opening game.
ROBIN VAN PERSIE (Netherlands) – 3 goals
The only Premier League representative on the list, Manchester United Robin Van Persie stole the show against Spain with his remarkable diving header. Van Persie missed out against Chile because of suspension so his 3 goals come in 2 games (166 minutes). Netherlands have Mexico in the Last 16 and as Van Persie returns he will be desperate to notch a couple more.
XHERDAN SHAQIRI (Switzerland) – 3 goals
Shaqiri of Bayern Munich has been heavily linked with a few Premier League teams this summer and his fabulous hat-trick against Honduras in the final group game puts him on 3 goals. Whilst he did not shine in the first 2 game of the World Cup he turned it on and pulled Switzerland into the Last 16. His 3 come in 267 minutes and he will need to be firing for Switzerland to progress against Argentina,
ENNER VALENCIA (Ecuador) – 3 goals
Not the Valencia we all know and love/loathe, this is Mexican, Pachuca based Enner Valencia. He scored 3 goals in 270 minutes to take his impressive international record to 7 in 13 caps. Unfortunately his mighty effort was not enough to see his nation progress and therefore won’t win the Golden Boot but we felt he deserved a mention nonetheless!
Who do you fancy to top the Golden Boot list come 13 July?