Messi the main man for Golden Boot as semi-finals approach

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In just three games time the world will know who the best football team on the planet is, with one player able to lace up a shiny new Golden Boot having been named the tournament’s top goalscorer.

Developments from the quarter-final matches means that Argentina’s Lionel Messi is the perfect betting choice to take that award, despite being two goals behind in the race.

Colombia’s James Rodriguez leads the goalscoring way with six strikes but is no longer participating at the World Cup having seen his side lose to Brazil in the last round.

The Monaco man is therefore the 4/6 favourite with Ladbrokes to claim the prize upon the tournament’s completion, with two men lurking just behind him in both the betting and the scoring stakes.

Germany’s Thomas Muller, like Messi, has four goals in the tournament so far but notched three of those in Die Mannschaft’s opening outing of the competition and is yet to ripple the onion bag in the knockout stages.

At 9/2 to claim Golden Boot honours, the Bayern Munich man should be avoided in favour of a punt on Messi, who is far better placed to overcome Rodriguez.

The miniature Barcelona star may not have scored for Argentina in two straight matches now, but the country’s heavy reliance on him to provide goalscoring inspiration means he’ll have plenty more chances of doing so as the tournament progresses.

Messi is the 3/1 second favourite for Golden Boot glory with Ladbrokes, a price that should be gobbled up considering Muller’s sharp decline and Argentina’s preference to let their star-man carry them.

With Argentina’s other bright spark, Angel Di Maria, now ruled out of the tournament through injury, there’s now an even greater onus on the former Ballon d’Or winner to drive them forward.

Dutch duo Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben are both able to take the crown, but with three goals each and just two potential matches in which to claw back the deficit, any flutter on their chances (rated 14/1 and 20/1 respectively) should be cautiously made.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.