For the first time in over thirty years, an England international has a real chance of winning the Golden Boot at a World Cup finals.
Harry Kane’s brace against Tunisia didn’t just ensure an England victory, it got him off to a great start for one of the big personal accolades up for grabs in Russia. The Golden Boot is a much-coveted award that instantly writes the name of the winner into football history.
Six the magic number for World Cup Golden Boot
Few would ever have heard of Salvatore Schillaci before 1990; one decent season with Juventus after seven years with Messina hardly made him a household name. That all changed over the course of six weeks in his homeland as he finished top scorer at the 1990 competition.
Six goals is all it took, just as it had with England’s Gary Lineker in Mexico 86. Six seems to be the magic number as Davor Suker, Hristov Stoichkov, Oleg Salenko and James Rodriguez have all won it with the same amount. In 2010, Miroslav Klose only needed five goals to lift the award.
This World Cup seems set to shatter that threshold though, with the sublime Cristiano Ronaldo already on four after two games. That would have been enough to win him the 1962 Golden Boot already! He’s red-hot favourite to win the accolade this time out, priced at 13/8 in some places.
So, what will Kane achieve?
What of Harry Kane? He’s already got two and with Panama up next, the chance to add a few more surely looms. Panama are at their first World Cup and were soundly beaten by Belgium in the first game. Manchester United’s Lukaku grabbed a couple for himself in that game, pricing himself at 8/1 to lift the cherished trophy. Kane is slightly lower at 13/2, demonstrating the opportunity he has with the minnow next on the calendar.
Other candidates can be found by checking out Golden Boot betting odds, but is there a story emerging for the host nation, just as there was in 1990? Russia are unlikely to win the tournament, but after a swashbuckling start, they’ve got a candidate of their own; Denis Cheryshev.
Cheryshev is another unknown quantity, much like ‘Toto’ Schillaci was 28 years ago. He played much of his early football in Real Madrid’s B team and, although he’s primarily a left winger, he’s already scoring goals at this tournament too.
Will an easy World Cup path help?
However, it is Kane that England are turning to for hope; hope built up by not only a favourable group but also a possible path to the semi-finals that includes few of the world’s greats. Getting out of the group in second place means a game against any from Group G: Senegal, Japan, Colombia or Poland. With none of those teams looking particularly worrying, it is the potential quarterfinal game against the Group F winners that looked daunting.
That surely had to be Germany, but after their opening game loss, it could be Mexico that face Harry Kane and England in the last eight, should they progress. England could be on course to reach a World Cup semi-final without having to negotiate one of the world’s superpowers.
If that is the case, Kane might easily have surpassed Lineker’s record of six in 1986, cementing him as an England all-time great at the age of 24.