Football / Preview / World Cup Golden Shoe Winner

World Cup: Golden Shoe Winner

Bettorlogic have analysed all of the leading contenders for the Golden Shoe at this year's World Cup and have come up with two firm recommendations.

2002 and 2006 Golden Shoe Winner Miroslav Klose



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Golden Shoe Winner

Since 1970 11 players have written themselves into World Cup folklore after topping the scoring charts. With 70% of the semi-finalists in the past 10 World Cups being top 10 ranked nations the Golden Shoe winner has generally been a key part of one of the major countries. Below we highlight some leading scorer stats based on the past 10 World Cups and then look more specifically at the leading contenders for this World Cup’s Golden Shoe, as well as highlighting a few outsiders.


Key Stats

  • In the last 10 World Cup’s back to 1970 there’s been only one tie for the Golden Shoe winner with that occurring in 1994 between Hristo Stoitchkov and Oleg Salenko.


  • 9/11 leading scorers in the last 10 World Cup’s have played for teams that finished in the top four and so played in either the 3/4 play-off or the final. The exceptions are Salenko who scored five in one group game and finished on six goals with Russia being knocked out in the groups, and Gary Lineker who scored six for England in 1986 when they were knocked out in the quarter-finals.


  • Also, all 20 runners-up in this time reached at least the quarter-finals, with 12 reaching the final four.


  • Since 1986 when the first knockout stage had 16 teams for the first time, 17 players have tied third for the Golden Shoe with nine playing for teams that lost in the last 16, while three lost in the quarter-finals and the other five made at least the semis.


  • All 11 top scorers were forwards and 10/12 were their nation’s main striker, with the exceptions being Salvatore Schillaci in 1990 and Salenko in 1994 who both made their debuts during the World Cup.


  • In 8/10 World Cups four goals have been enough to win the Bronze Shoe (three goals in 2006 and five goals in 1970) while five goals would have been enough for second place in nine.


  • Six goals have been enough to win the Golden Shoe in all of the past 10 World Cups, with five enough in the last one.


  • 5/10 leading scorers that played in the knock-out phase averaged more goals per game in the knock-out matches than the group games, with two players not scoring at all in the groups (Paolo Rossi in ’82 and Mario Kempes in ’78).


  • However, scoring in the groups is also important, as 9/11 top scorers found the net at least twice with 7/11 scoring three or more in their three group games.


  • No player has won two Golden Shoes – the only player already with one at this World Cup will be Miroslav Klose.


  • None of the 12 top scorers had played in more than one previous World Cup - although Ronaldo and Davor Suker were both at their third World Cups when they won, it was only the second tournament they’d actually played in. 6/12 were at their first World Cups.
  • 5/11 Golden Shoe winners scored at least one penalty with ’94 joint winners Stoitchkov and Salenko both scoring two.



Leading Contenders (Nation, Odds)

Luis Fabiano (Brazil, 13.0) has scored 25 goals in 36 internationals and in seven qualifying games where he started alongside Robinho he scored seven goals to Robinho’s none. This will be his first World Cup and he should be Brazil’s second choice penalty taker after Kaka. The Sevilla striker was restricted to 17 league appearances last season (only including matches where he started and played at least an hour) due to injuries but still scored 14 times with Sevilla’s average goals scored falling from 1.94 with him to 1.52 without.

David Villa (Spain, 9.00) won the Golden Boot at Euro 2008 and scored 12 international goals in both 2008 and 2009 – the Spanish record for most international goals in one year. He has 37 international goals in 56 caps and should be Spain’s penalty taker. This will be his second WC finals. Villa made 30 league appearances for Valencia last season and scored 23 goals, with Valencia’s average goals per game falling from 1.73 to 1.00 without him.

Fernando Torres (Spain, 15.0) is coming back from injury and during the Euro 2008 qualifiers and Championship and then the World Cup 2010 qualifiers he started and played an hour in just 13 of 28 Spain matches as Villa was preferred as the main striker. The Liverpool striker has 23 goals in 72 caps and this will be his second WC finals. Both Villa and Xabi Alonso are definitely ahead of him to take penalties. He made 21 league appearances for Liverpool last season and scored 18 goals, with Liverpool’s goals per game falling from 2.05 with him to 1.24 without.

Robin van Persie (Netherlands, 17.0) has 17 goals in 43 caps, including three in their last two friendlies. He was the top scorer for the Netherlands in Euro 2008 qualification, although he scored only one goal in the five qualifiers he played for this tournament which will be his second WC finals. Netherland’s penalty taker is between RVP and Arjen Robben, although RVP may also take free-kicks. Van Persie was injured for most of last season but scored 10 goals in his 14 league appearances for Arsenal with the Gunners goals per game falling from 2.93 to 1.75 without him.

Wayne Rooney (England, 12.0) scored nine goals in nine qualifiers and has 25 in 60 internationals, although Lampard is ahead of him for penalty duties. This will be his second World Cup. England were the leading scorers in the European qualifying section with 34 goals while Rooney scored 26 league goals in his 31 appearances for Man Utd last season, with United’s average goals per game dropping from 2.29 to 1.71 without him.

Miroslav Klose (Germany, 34.0) won the Silver Shoe in 2002 and the Golden Shoe in 2006 with this being his third World Cup. He has 48 goals for Germany in 95 games but made just nine league appearances for Bayern last season and scored only one goal with Bayern averaging just one goal per game with him. In contrast before the 2006 World Cup he made 24 league appearances for Werder Bremen and scored 25 goals.

Lukas Podolski (Germany, 51.0) won the Silver Shoe at Euro 2008, scored six goals in qualifying and three goals in the last World Cup. He also stands a good chance of being Germany’s penalty taker in Michael Ballack’s absence. He has 38 goals in 72 caps but like Klose he has struggled for goals domestically with only three in 27 league appearances for Koln last season, as Koln averaged just 0.78 goals per game with him compared to 1.71 per game in the seven matches he missed. However, Podolski’s not been a prolific scorer at domestic level since the 2005/06 season and scored only four goals in 13 appearances for Bayern the season preceding Euro 2008.

Lionel Messi (Argentina, 11.0)
has scored 13 goals in 44 internationals but managed just four in 18 qualifiers as Argentina were only the fifth highest scorers in the South America qualifiers with just 23 goals in 18 matches. Messi is likely to be in charge of penalties and free-kicks. This is his second World Cup finals and the Barcelona attacker scored 30 goals in 29 league appearances last season, as Barca scored 2.66 gpg with him compared to just 2.00 without.

Thierry Henry (France, 67.0) is playing in his fourth World Cup and has 51 international goals in 119 caps, including four in 10 qualifiers. Penalties and free-kicks are likely to be shared between Henry and Franck Ribery. The French captain was out of favour at Barcelona last season as he made just 12 league appearances and scored only four goals, although Barca did score 3.25 goals per game with him compared to 2.15 without.

Alberto Gilardino (Italy, 51.0) has scored 16 goals in 39 internationals, including four in the qualification campaign and this is his second WC finals. However, Italy have scored just one goal in their three matches (all friendlies) since November. Fiorentina struggled last season but Gilardino still scored 15 league goals in 33 appearances as they averaged 1.22 gpg with him compared to just 0.80 without.

Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal, 21.0) failed to score in seven qualifiers but he’s still Portugal’s main goal threat and was the second highest scorer for any European team in qualification for the 2006 World Cup as well as being the second highest scorer in qualification for Euro 2008. Ronaldo carried his impressive scoring record for Man Utd over to Real Madrid last season as he found the net 25 times in 27 league appearances with Real averaging 2.89 gpg with him compared to 2.30 without. However, a strike rate of 22 goals in 71 caps and the fact he isn’t the main striker will count against him, although he will take Portugal’s penalties and free-kicks.



Luis Suarez (Uruguay, 101) scored 49 goals in all competitions for Ajax last season as he was named Dutch Footballer of the Year. Also, he scored six times in qualifying and benefits from Uruguay having a relatively easy group, although his strike partner Diego Forlan offers stiff competition to be the top scorer in the team, particularly given that Forlan also takes the penalties.

Theofanis Gekas (Greece, 151)
topped the European qualifiers for the World Cup with 10 goals, although six came in the two matches against Latvia, and this will be his first WC finals. Gekas should take Greece’s penalties. Greece has struggled in their recent friendlies as they failed to beat Senegal, North Korea and Paraguay. Gekas spent the second half of last season on loan at Hertha Berlin and in 15 appearances Hertha scored 20 goals including six for Gekas, while in their 19 matches without him last season they managed just 14 goals.

Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast, 34.0) was the Premier League’s Golden Boot winner last season and is the current African Footballer of the Year. He scored six goals in qualification and this is his second World Cup having scored against Argentina four years ago. Drogba will be in charge of the Ivorian’s penalties and free-kicks. Surprisingly, in Drogba’s 31 league appearances for Chelsea last season the Blues averaged 2.29 goals per game while in the seven he missed they scored 27 times (3.86 per game). Drogba is a major doubt for the tournament.

Humberto Suazo (Chile, 101)
was the leading scorer in South American qualifying with 10 goals and after moving to Real Zaragoza for the second half of last season he scored seven goals in 16 appearances to make himself their top scorer in the league last season. He will also be Chile’s penalty taker but may miss their first two matches.


Our View

Unlike the European Championships which have tended to throw up several surprise winners of the Golden Boot the World Cup has generally seen the best players top the scoring charts. With 33% semi-finalist nations at the last 10 World Cups being top-four ranked teams there is a big advantage to the strikers of Brazil, Spain, Netherlands and England. The rest of our current top 10 from 5th to 10th is Germany, Italy, Chile, France, Portugal and Argentina. These positions have provided 38% semi-finalists while 10 of the other 12 have come from teams ranked 11-20 and two from teams ranked 21-40.

Of these leading contenders both Ronaldo and Messi suffer from not being the main striker for their country or playing for a top-four ranked team and also neither was much of a goal threat in qualification. Meanwhile both Klose and Henry come into this tournament having not played (or scored) much for their club’s this season and they also fall foul of no Golden Shoe winner having played in two previous World Cups and their nations are both outside the top four.

This narrows our main shortlist to Fabiano, Villa, Torres, van Persie, Podolski, Rooney and Gilardino. Given Torres’ injury worries and Villa’s better scoring record in recent years for Spain, Villa looks the pick to be Spain’s top scorer. Meanwhile both Germany and Italy are outside the top four and look to be short of quality with the Italians struggling to score in recent matches and Germany losing at home to England, Norway and Argentina since November 2008.

Spain and Brazil are rightfully the strongest favourites to make the semis and with David Villa and Luis Fabiano likely to be their team’s leading scorers they should be shorter than the other Golden Boot contenders.

Given Spain’s easier group and the fact Brazil have a potential quarter-final against the Netherlands, Villa looks to be the best value, especially as he also has the advantage of taking penalties. Meanwhile Robin van Persie should be able to prosper from the Netherlands relatively easy group to get into the top scorer mix before the quarter-finals and looks worthy of each-way support at a longer price.



David Villa to be top scorer at 9.00, Coral

Robin van Persie to be top scorer at 17.0 E/W, Coral (1/4, 4 places)

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