With three weeks to go until the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil kicks off, it is time for Playing The Long Ball to cease looking at the tournament’s truly exotic markets and turn its attention to the most popular futures – the Golden Boot, the winners of the eight groups and the winner of the final.
The first thing worth noting about the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Golden Boot competition is that bookmakers and FIFA may not come up with the same winner. That is because while bookmakers will not employ a count-back system in the event of two or more players have scored the same number of goals, FIFA will. FIFA awarded the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Golden Boot to Thomas Muller because he had more assists than David Villa, Wesley Sneijder and Diego Forlan, with FIFA ranking Villa, Sneijder and Forlan second, third and fourth respectively based on their total minutes played.
The second thing worth noting about the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Golden Boot is that one should not bet on a player from a team that one does not think will reach the last four, at least not without a good reason. Gary Lineker and Oleg Salenko are the only two players in the last 12 FIFA World Cups to have either won or shared the Golden Boot having not taken part in the semi-finals. Lineker notched six goals for 1986 FIFA World Cup Mexico quarter-finalist England, while Salenko bagged half a dozen goals for 1994 FIFA World Cup United States of America first-round flop Russia. One really ought to concentrate on players from sides that one believes will be among the last four.
According to 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil bookmakers, there are four sides that almost twice as likely as every other team to make the semi-finals – Brazil, Argentina, Germany and Spain. So it makes sense to run the rule over players representing these countries before looking a bit wider.
Lionel Messi deserves to be the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Golden Boot favourite at odds of 9.00 with many bookmakers, including BetVictor, Boylesports and Youwin. Argentina was the big winner from the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil draw, finding itself in Group F alongside Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nigeria and Iran. If everything goes according to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil betting, Argentina will top Group F, play Switzerland in the round of 16 and meet Belgium in the quarter-finals. Argentina could score heavily against those five sides and Messi is its most dangerous forward. Messi scored 10 goals in the 14 games that he played for Argentina during its 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil qualifying campaign.
Thomas Muller will have his 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Golden Boot fans at odds of 34.00 with several bookmakers, including Ladbrokes, Paddy Power and Winner. Germany has a kind 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil draw in which it will play Ghana, Portugal and the United States of America in Group G and, if it reaches the round of 16, tackle Algeria, Belgium, Russia or South Korea in it. However, Germany does share its goals around so Muller may not be his team’s top scorer, let alone the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Golden Boot winner.
Perhaps the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Golden Boot value outside of Messi is Fred, who is available at odds of 23.00 with quite a few bookmakers, including 888sport, Paddy Power and SkyBet. Fred does not boast the profile of Neymar but he is likely to be Brazil’s main striker and, with the home side drawn in a weak 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil group, he could get off to a flying start. The problem with backing a Brazil or Spain player is that it is possible that the sides will meet in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil round of 16.
It is only natural that 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Golden Boot punters will look at the market and find reasons to back players other than the favourite. But one thinks that Messi represents more than acceptable value at odds of 9.00.