Who will win the World Cup's Golden Boot?

Sports Mole picks out five players that we believe have a chance of winning the World Cup's Golden Boot in Brazil.

While punters will be preparing to part with their hard-earned cash to back which country they believe will be celebrating a World Cup triumph in July, the Golden Boot market is also a popular one.

What makes this gamble often more attractive is the fact that the winner does not always come from the team that lifts the trophy, meaning that if a nation is knocked out, it does not necessarily end the bet.

Here, Sports Mole has picked out five players that we believe could be worth a punt, with varying degrees of value.


THE SURE THING

Neymar (Brazil)

Barcelona striker Neymar celebrates scoring for Brazil on October 13, 2012.© Getty Images

In 47 international appearances, Neymar has found the net a highly impressive 30 times. What's more, aged just 22, there is every chance that the Barcelona attacker will end his career as Brazil's leading goalscorer of all time - he's currently 47 goals short of Pele. While his clinical instincts may have eluded him during the second part of the campaign at the Camp Nou, he's been in fine form in a yellow shirt. His four goals helped Brazil to win the Confederations Cup last year, while he also hit a hat-trick against South Africa in March.

At Barca, Neymar is made to play as second fiddle to Lionel Messi, but he is Luiz Felipe Scolari's main man as far as the national side is concerned. Group opponents Croatia, Mexico and Cameroon may prove tricky customers, but you'd fancy the hosts to prosper. If that's to be the case, it's highly likely that Neymar will be a key figure.

Odds: 12/1


MID-RANGE BETS

Gonzalo Higuain (Argentina)

Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain celebrates scoring for Argentina on August 14, 2013.© Getty Images

In a side that contains both Messi and Sergio Aguero, it would perhaps be surprising that there is room for Higuain in the Argentine frontline. Such is the regard, though, that he is held in by head coach Alejandro Sabella, more often than not the Napoli frontman slots in as part of a three-pronged attack. In a season that ended in Coppa Italia glory for Napoli, Higuain weighed in with a respectable 24 goals from his 44 appearances in all competitions.

His form of late for La Albiceleste has also been positive, having scored nine goals (including a hat-trick against Chile) during the qualification phase for this World Cup. In Nigeria, Bosnia and Iran, Argentina have been dealt a favourable group and with Messi and Aguero likely to drop slightly deeper to get involved with the build-up play, it will leave Higuain to play the role as poacher in and around the penalty area.

Odds: 22/1


Romelu Lukaku (Belgium)

Romelu Lukaku in action for Belgium against Wales on October 13, 2013.© Getty Images

At the age of just 21, Lukaku has 74 club goals to his name, 33 of which have been scored over the last two campaigns in the Premier League. Having been sent out on loan by Chelsea since 2012, his future at Stamford Bridge is currently uncertain and the next month or so in Brazil could well act as a shop window for the young Belgian.

With Christian Benteke sidelined through an Achilles injury, Lukaku will lead his nation's attack, fitness permitting. Standing at 6'3" and boasting a physical presence, the centre-forward showed for Everton last term that he is capable of scoring all manner of goals. Dark horses Belgium will fancy their chances of progressing through a group that contains Russia, South Korea and Algeria, particularly with the likes of Eden Hazard, Adnan Januzaj and Kevin Mirallas loading the bullets for Lukaku. He's certainly in fine fettle following his hat-trick against Luxembourg at the weekend.

Odds: 25/1


Thomas Muller (Germany)

Germany's Thomas Muller in action against the Republic of Ireland on October 12, 2012.© Getty Images

Twenty-six goals last season for a player that did not always operate as a striker is an impressive return. The owner of that record is Bayern Munich's Muller, who saw his goals help Pep Guardiola's side to retain the Bundesliga title and DFB-Pokal, although they did fall short as far as the Champions League was concerned.

The 24-year-old's record at international level (16 goals in 47 outings) with Germany is not what you would define as breathtaking, but it's worth remembering that in South Africa four years ago, Muller was the joint leading goalscorer with five alongside David Villa and Wesley Sneijder. The Germans are expected to ease through a group that contains Portugal, USA and Ghana and go way beyond that as well. If they are to fulfil that potential, it could well be down to another impressive World Cup showing from Muller.

Odds: 33/1


THE LONG SHOT

Olivier Giroud (France)

Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud celebrates scoring for France against Norway on May 27, 2014.© Getty Images

His performances for Arsenal may have split opinion, but scoring 22 goals as a lone frontman for the majority of the season is no easy feat. Although not a centre-forward that is overly skillful or pacey, Giroud tends to thrive inside the penalty area, where his physicality comes to the fore.

There is every chance that France head coach Didier Deschamps is planning to use Karim Benzema as his main striker in Brazil, but Giroud's performance against Norway last night may well have given his manager food for thought. He scored two goals - one an impressive volley and the other a looping header - which earned him the plaudits in what was a 4-0 win. Even if Benzema is given the nod come the start of the tournament, there is every chance that Giroud will be given an opportunity to shine in a group that contains relative minnows in Switzerland, Ecuador and Honduras.

Odds: 66/1


Who will be the 2014 World Cup's leading goalscorer?

Neymar
Gonzalo Higuain
Romelu Lukaku
Thomas Muller
Olivier Giroud
Other
Neymar
18.7%
Gonzalo Higuain
10.1%
Romelu Lukaku
6.5%
Thomas Muller
2.9%
Olivier Giroud
5.8%
Other
56.1%
Pele, when playing for Santos, smiles at the camera ahead of a friendly match on June 13, 1965
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