With goals galore in Russia, the race to be the tournament’s top marksman is getting hotter by the game, writes DEAN WORKMAN.
Five men have started the tournament in red-hot form and have stolen the march over the other contenders.
Here are the five leaders in the race for the Golden Boot:
Harry Kane (England) – 5
England’s captain has sparked a belief in the Three Lions that has long been missing. Kane leads the Golden Boot race after he opened his World Cup with a brace, which included a 90th-minute winner, in a 2-1 win over Tunisia. He followed that up with a hat-trick in England’s 6-1 rout of Panama. His goals may not have been spectacular, but they have highlighted his predatory nature and with Kane in this sort of scoring form, English fans may just dare to dream.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) – 4
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner is no stranger to topping scoring charts no matter what competition he plays in. After flying high for Real Madrid all season, Ronaldo has carried that form to his national side. He opened his tournament with that stunning hat-trick against Spain which captured all the headlines and then followed that up with the only goal in a 1-0 win over Morocco. With Ronaldo’s drive to be considered the greatest, the Portuguese star will undoubtedly be looking to add a World Cup Golden Boot to his illustrious collection of individual awards.
Romelu Lukaku (Belgium) – 4
At 25, Lukaku is already Belgium’s all-time leading marksman and has been extending his record in fine fashion at the World Cup. The Manchester United man scored two second-half goals against Panama in Belgium’s opening game before he repeated that feat with a second brace against Tunisia in a 5-2 win. With the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Dries Mertens playing in behind him, Lukaku will certainly not be short of chances to add to his tally.
Denis Cheryshev (Russia) – 3
The surprise package in this race is the man who is fast turning into a Russian icon, Denis Cheryshev. The former Real Madrid man was on the bench for Russia’s opener against Saudi Arabia, but an early injury to Aleksandar Dragovic saw Cheryshev get his chance, which he grabbed with both hands, scoring a magical brace in a resounding 5-0 victory. Undoubtedly lifted by the home support, Cheryshev was again one of the stars as he got the home nation’s second goal in a 3-1 win over Egypt. He has now cemented his spot in the starting XI and will be hoping to add more goals to his tally.
Diego Costa (Spain) – 3
Having scored goals aplenty at club level, Diego Costa has arrived on the international stage. In typical Costa fashion, he bullied his way to a brace against Portugal before scoring a rather fortunate winner against Iran in his side’s 1-0 win. Similar to Lukaku, Costa plays in a team with some magical midfielders who will always create chances. Costa will be looking to feed off this and support his team into the latter stages of the tournament.
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