In what as been a relatively low scoring tournament for some of football’s biggest international stars the race for the Golden Boot remains wide open heading into the quarter-finals.
Currently leading the scoring standings with three goals (and a tie-breaking assist to his name) is Wales forward Gareth Bale.
The Welshman has been in impressive form for his country and has looked particularly dangerous when afforded space to run at defences. The Real Madrid star has also proved lethal off free kicks.
Joining the Bale on three strikes is French striker Antoine Griezmann. Full of pace and trickery the Atletico Madrid star was the hero in the comeback win against the Republic of Ireland last round, while his lethal finishing and impressive aerial ability have caused problems.
Sitting just one goal back is Cristiano Ronaldo. The superstar forward, has been particularly dangerous from inside the box, has yet to hit his best form in the tournament thus far, but such is the potency of the player that it could take as little as one game for him to surge well clear in the scoring standings.
Romelu Lukaku has looked erratic at times since the tournament began but demonstrated his class with a brace against the Republic of Ireland. As Belgium’s key centre forward, the big Everton star is likely to benefit from his power to create more scoring chances in the coming games.
Germany veteran Mario Gomez is in with a good shout having netted twice in the tournament so far. The poacher will have his work cut out for him if he is to penetrate Italy’s sturdy defences next round, with the player’s propensity for popping up in the right place at the right time a hallmark of his scoring threat.
Another Frenchman with a chance of taking home the golden boot is France winger Dimitri Payet. The West Ham United playmaker was the hero of the group stage of the tournament has he netted twice late on to steer Les Blues to successive victories. The player’s free kicks and shots from distance are his primary source of goals.
Itlay’s forward Graziano Pelle is another of the players currently sitting on two strikes for the tournament. Pelle will have to be at his best when his side faces Germany next round, but should the Azzurri survive that encounter, Pelle could well pop up with enough goals to take the golden boot. An old-school striker, Pelle is dependent on his power.
Lastly, Portugal forward Nani also finds himself with a pair of goals to his name. Often operating in Ronaldo’s shadow, the Portuguese often capitalises from late runs into the box, while he is also capable of hitting firing in from distance.