Formally introduced at the 1982 World Cup in Spain, the Golden Boot was first scooped by Italy’s Paolo Rossi who netted six goals during the tournament including a solitary strike in the final which steered Azzuri to a convincing 3-1 win over West Germany.
It is awarded to the player who stands head and shoulders above the rest of the players at the end of the tournament for their goalscoring exploits. Should two or more players end up with the tie of having the same number of goals, it’s then decided by a tiebreaker based on who has scored the most non-penalty goals. If the non-penalty tie is still undecided, the player with the most goals and assists then gets to walk away with the award.
At this year’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar, the Golden Boot race got off to an impressive start as four different players scored three goals a piece in the group stages.
Here’s a look at the current 4 leading active goalscorers listed below:
4. Andrej Kramarić – 2 goals (Croatia)
After his side knocked out tournament favourites Brazil, Kramarić is still in the running for the Golden Boot crown. The 31-year-old TSG 1899 Hoffenheim forward netted a double when they dispatched Canada 4-1.
3. Olivier Giroud – 4 goals (France)
Just a few days after finally getting his historic goal in their 3-1 thrashing of Poland, to make him the outright top goal scorer in France football, Giroud added to his tally by scoring the winner as the defending world champions recorded a gutsy 2-1 victory over England to reach the semi-finals where they will take on ‘giant killers’ Morocco. The AC Milan forward’s other two goals were a brace in their opening group match humbling Australia 4-1.
2. Lionel Messi – 4 goals (Argentina)
The Argentinian captain opened his account at this year’s World Cup with a penalty against Saudi Arabia though he could not prevent his charges from a shock 2-1 defeat.
It’s been ‘smooth sailing’ since as he bagged another goal in their 2-0 win over Mexico. He also scored the opening goal in their last group stage match as they dispatched Australia 2-1.
Messi, who is most likely to be featuring in his last world cup, moved to within one goal shy of his PSG teammate Mbappé following their penalty shootout victory over the Netherlands at the weekend after the match had finished in a pulsating 2-2 draw.
- Kylian Mbappé – 5 goals (France)
At just 23, the French talisman is already eyeing his second world cup crown having been part of the Les Bleus team that swept aside Croatia in Russia four years ago to lift his country’s second overall WC title.
The Paris Saint-Germain striker scored once in France’s emphatic 4-1 thrashing of Australia before bagging braces in their narrow 2-1 win over Denmark and 3-1 humbling of Poland to take his tally to nine goals in 11 World Cup matches, propelling him to the top of the race for the Golden Boot honour.
With crunch semi-final ties up next, as Argentina take on Croatia in Tuesday’s first last-four berth and France entertaining Morocco on Wednesday, it will be interesting to see which player will add to their current tally and eventually emerges as the Golden Boot winner.