One of the most talked about and exciting of these markets is always the race for the Golden Boot. With this in mind, we consider the form and prospects of three of the favourites for that title.
With just over a week to go until the start of the World Cup, fans of football betting will be looking for Betfair markets that can offer real value and maintain interest throughout the tournament.
First, Cristiano Ronaldo. At 29, the Portugal captain is at the peak of his powers and will never head in to another World Cup in better shape. Up until the pre-World Cup friendlies, Ronaldo boasts 49 goals in 110 international appearances and is his country’s leading goalscorer of all time.
Despite this, Ronaldo has previously failed to deliver goals in the World Cup- scoring just one in each of the last two tournaments. Ronaldo will be desperate to make a mark on the biggest stage having been all-conquering at club level, but he will be hampered by the overall quality of his team. With Portugal facing a tough group and needing to overcome the USA and Germany to make it into the last 16, Ronaldo’s opportunities for goals could be limited and he may not be in the tournament for as long as some of his major rivals.
Ronaldo’s long-time sparring partner at club level has been Lionel Messi who became his country’s youngest world cup goalscorer when coming off the bench against Serbia and Montenegro in 2006. At international level, Messi unbelievably boasts the same goals per game ratio as Ronaldo (0.45) having scored 37 goals in 83 appearances, but his record at the World Cup is more disappointing- with the goal against Serbia and Montenegro being his only contribution in two tournaments.
Unlike Ronaldo, Messi is only 26 and is likely to still be in his prime the next time the World Cup comes around. Despite this, he will be desperate to impress in Brazil and Betfair punters will know that his Argentina team are in with a real chance of making it to the closing stages- this could give him the games he needs to claim the golden boot.
Despite often playing second-fiddle to Messi at Barcelona, my pick to be the World Cup’s golden boot is Neymar of Brazil. At 22, this will be Neymar’s first World Cup so he will enter the tournament with less pressure and expectation than Messi and Ronaldo.
Neymar will also enter the tournament with the support of his nation behind him and with an incredible record of 30 goals in just 47 games (0.63 goals per game). With Brazil expected to perform well in the tournament and having been drawn in a favourable group alongside Croatia, Mexico and Cameroon, Neymar should be given plenty of chances to open his World Cup account. With supreme talent and confidence, if Neymar can score early in the campaign then he will only go from strength to strength and with the eyes of the world on Ronaldo and Messi he could be a great bet to finish top scorer in 2014.