FIFA World Cup: Race for Golden Boot heats up

Lionel Messi and Julian Alavarez
Lionel Messi and Julian Alavarez have scored nine goals between them at Qatar 2022. File photo

The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar has entered the climactic stage, and one of the top honours players will be competing for is the Golden Boot, awarded to the player with the most goals in the tournament.

The number of assists by a player is considered in the case of a tie for goals scored. If players are tied on both counts, the winner is decided by who played the fewest minutes.

England captain Harry Kane bagged the prize at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, where he scored six goals and led his team to the semifinals. Below is an overview of contenders in the race for top scorer at Qatar 2022.

Kylian Mbappe

Kylian Mbappe
Fance's Kylian Mbappe has been on fire at Qatar 2022. File photo: Reuters/Hannah Mckay

The 23-year-old scored against Australia in his side's opening Group D match and bagged a second-half double against Denmark as France booked their knockout spot.  France's talisman failed to find the net as Tunisia recorded a famous upset in their final group match. He added two more goals to his tally in a 3-1 win against Poland in the last 16, but was unable to score in France's 2-1 quarterfinal win over England and their 2-0 win over Morocco in the semifinals.

Lionel Messi

The Argentina great is playing in what he has said is his last World Cup. The 35-year-old opened his account by burying a spot kick in a shock Group C loss to Saudi Arabia, before scoring and assisting Enzo Fernandez in an emotionally charged win over Mexico.

Messi scored in Argentina's 2-1 win over Australia in the last 16, putting his side ahead after 35 minutes with a coolly taken low strike for his 94th international goal. 

He also assisted a goal and scored in Argentina's quarterfinal win over the Netherlands.

Messi was heavily involved in Argentina's 3-0 semifinal victory over Croatia, scoring one and assisting on another for teammate Julian Alvarez, who scored twice.

Oliver Giroud

Oliver Giorud
Oliver Giorud has played a key role in France's run to the final. File photo: Reuters/Matthew Childs

Giroud, 36, surpassed Thierry Henry to become France's all-time top scorer when he netted his 52nd goal in 117 appearances for Les Bleus in their 3-1 World Cup last-16 win over Poland. 

He had drawn level with Henry on 51 after netting a double in France's 4-1 win over Australia in their opening Group D game.

Giroud also scored in France's 2-1 quarterfinal win over England, but failed to find the net in their 2-0 win over Morocco in the semifinals.

Golden Boot Standings (Read as player, team, goals, assists, games, minutes)

Lionel Messi, Argentina, 5, 3, 6, 571

Kylian Mbappe, France, 5, 2, 6, 477

Julian Alvarez, Argentina, 4, 0, 6, 364

Olivier Giroud, France, 4, 0, 5, 382

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