Teams have entered the knockout phase of the World Cup in Qatar and players are not only competing to win the title for their country but also the prestigious Golden Boot trophy for themselves.
The Golden Boot is awarded to an individual player with the most goals scored in the tournament and in the case of a tie for goals scored, the number of assists by a player is then considered.
If players are tied on both counts, the winner is decided by who played the fewest minutes.
England captain Harry Kane took the trophy at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, where he scored six goals and led his team to the semi-finals.
Here is a snapshot of the top contenders for the Golden Boot at the 2022 World Cup:
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 spot in the knockouts.
He failed to find the net as Tunisia recorded a famous upset in their final group match, but he added two more goals to his tally in a 3-1 win against Poland on Sunday.
The Atletico Madrid marksman scored in all three of Spain’s Group E games, including one off the bench against 2014 champions Germany.
Morata, who was edged out of the starting lineup by Marco Asensio in his side’s first two World Cup games, set up Spain’s fifth goal in their 7-0 thrashing of Costa Rica before getting off the mark himself to round off a one-sided opener.
He put Luis Enrique’s team ahead in their final group game but the 2010 champions were beaten as Japan staged their second stunning turnaround of the tournament to surge into the last 16 in the top spot.
The England striker enjoyed a dream start to his World Cup campaign in Qatar.
Rashford’s place in the squad was uncertain a few months ago due to form and fitness, but the Manchester United forward has moved up the Golden Boot standings after he scored twice in England’s rout of a Gareth Bale-led Wales side.
Rashford’s teammates Phil Foden, Jack Grealish (both Manchester City), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Raheem Sterling (Chelsea) and Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund) also featured on the scoresheet during the group stage.
Rashford started on the bench in England’s 3-0 victory over Senegal in the last 16, coming on in the 65th minute to replace Saka but failing to score. Saka’s goal against Senegal drew him level with Rashford on three goals for the tournament.
The Dutch forward has managed to find the net regularly in Qatar so far, as the Netherlands progressed to the last 16 after finishing top of Group A.
However, Gakpo was unable to add to his tally in the Netherlands’ 3-1 win over the USA in the last 16.
The 23-year-old has been influential in his club PSV Eindhoven’s run to the Europa League knockout stages and has been the subject of transfer speculation with top European clubs said to be vying for his signature when next summer’s transfer window opens.
The Argentina great is playing in what he has said is probably his last World Cup.
The 35-year-old opened his account by burying a penalty kick in a shock Group C loss to Saudi Arabia, before scoring and assisting Enzo Fernandez in an emotionally charged win over Mexico.
Messi also 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.
The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner has enjoyed a trophy-laden career at the club level, and his fans around the world are hoping he can finally help deliver a World Cup for his country this time around.
Messi’s rival Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal became the first player to score in five World Cups when he netted against Ghana in their Group H opener.
Portugal’s run in the World Cup in Qatar has been clouded somewhat by the controversy surrounding Ronaldo and his acrimonious departure from Manchester United.
But his erstwhile club teammate 28-year-old Bruno Fernandes has stepped out of Ronaldo’s shadow by scoring twice against Uruguay after setting up two goals in Portugal’s 3-2 win against Ghana.
Player Team Goals Assists Games Minutes
Kylian Mbappe France 5 2 4 297
Alvaro Morata Spain 3 1 3 126
Lionel Messi Argentina 3 1 4 360
Marcus Rashford England 3 0 4 132
Bukayo Saka England 3 0 3 214
Cody Gakpo Netherlands 3 0 4 343
Olivier Giroud France 3 0 3 227
Bruno Fernandes Portugal 2 2 2 180
Cho Gue-sung South Korea 2 0 3 196
Andrej Kramaric Croatia 2 0 3 208
Ferran Torres Spain 2 0 3 144
Breel Embolo Switzerland 2 0 3 238
Julian Alvarez Argentina 2 0 4 208
Richarlison Brazil 2 0 2 152
* Stats as of December 4, 2022