Soccer World Cup

2014 World Cup: 5 Candidates To Win Golden Boot

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5 Golden Boot Candidates

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The 2010 World Cup provided soccer fans some of the most memorable moments ever to happen in World Cup history. From the tail of the host nation South Africa, all the way to Spain winning the final against the Netherlands, story lines poured out by the hundreds.

It is safe to assume that this World Cup will be the mother of all World Cups, especially considering the players that are slated to be a part of it. For a third straight World Cup, fans will get to witness the two best players in the world in Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Will one of them finally claim the ultimate prize of World Cup champion?

There are several other topics that are already being talked about for this upcoming World Cup. Like who will be the surprise teams? Who will be the tournament disappointments? And who will score the most goals? All these and more have been at the forefront for discussion as the days continue to count down to the opening match on June 12 when Brazil takes on Croatia.

Brazil is clearly the heavy favorite to win it all, but are there teams who could throw them off their high horse? It would not shock me if a team like Italy, Germany or even Belgium were able to knock-off the Brazilians during the elimination round.

For a team to win games it is pretty simple, you have to score goals. Here now for your consideration, are my predictions for who the top five candidates will be for the Golden Boot award.

Baxter Colburn is a World Cup writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Baxstar20, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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5. Lionel Messi

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It may surprise many of you that I have Messi at No. 5. Personally, I feel this is very generous, considering how poorly his goal scoring performances have been the past two World Cups. Argentina has already been picked as one of the favorites to win the World Cup, and I do believe Messi will play an important role in their success. This will be the World Cup where Messi finally scores more than one goal. As a side note, Messi has played in eight World Cup games and only scored one goal in that time period.

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4. Cristiano Ronaldo

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Having the current Ballon d’Or winner at No. 4 may surprise several of you, but realistically, Portugal as a whole has slowly started to decline in recent years. Ronaldo scored only once last World Cup as part of the 7-0 white washing of North Korea. He did lead the team with 21 shots, but seeing as how only one of those actually went in, it is hard to see him scoring a bunch of goals this year. Especially considering that he already carries Portugal on his back.

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3. Mario Balotelli

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Here we have a player that embodies what it means to be a true striker in the world of soccer. Mario Balotelli has become one of the most dangerous forwards in soccer over the past two years. His goal scoring abilities were a large part of why Italy made it to the Euro finals back in 2012. Because of this being his first ever World Cup, it can be speculated that two different things will happen. One, he freezes and does not score a single goal. Two, he seizes this moment and unleashes his goal scoring talents all over teams in the group stage and knockout rounds. Personally, I believe the second option is more possible for Balotelli.

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2. Gonzalo Higuain

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This pick may surprise some of you out there, but think about it as a true soccer historian. Gonzalo Higuain knows what it is like to score goals in World Cup play. During the 2010 World Cup, Higuain scored four goals during the tournament. With every team game planning to shutdown Messi, Higuain will be left wide open and will not disappoint fans when given the ball. Argentina is a top pick for winning the whole tournament, so why not have one of their players go goal crazy?

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1. Neymar

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Was there really any question about who No. 1 was going to be? We all saw what Neymar did during the FIFA Confederations Cup when he scored four goals to help lead his country to victory. Once he made the move to Barcelona, it was really a no brainer in terms of how he would only improve as a player and develop into an even more deadly striker. Put the best, most talented, young player in the world on the World Cup stage--in his home country--and I smell a lot of goals being scored for this young lad.