World Cup – Top Goalscorer
The World Cup top-scorer market is always one of the most popular markets in the run-up to, and during the tournament.
Unsurprisingly Lionel Messi heads the market at a best-priced 8/1, yet with his rather poor record in the World Cup, he looks little value. He has only managed to net once in eight appearances at the World Cup finals, often drifting out-wide as part of an attacking front-three, a classic ‘10’ or as an attacking midfielder, and this looks set to continue as we enter the 2014 renewal.
Argentina are blessed with an embarrassment of riches in the attacking department, and with Aguero, Higuain and Palacio all vying for the main striking role, Alejandro Sabella will be half-tempted to use Messi’s magnificent ability to transfer his skill-set to great effect as a ‘Number 10’, out-wide, or as an attacking midfielder. He is less likely to score many goals from these positions, however he is extremely likely to turn creator for the benefit of his striking partner.
This leads us on nicely to the first selection, of Sergio Aguero, at a very tempting 18/1. Aguero has been in fantastic form for Premier League Champions, Manchester City this season and will be hoping to continue this fine form in Brazil. He looks set to take the main striking role for La Albiceleste after recovering from a hamstring injury in time, and with the service he is going to be given, you would expect him to get on the score-sheet a whole host of times.
They have been drawn alongside Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iran and Nigeria and should be able to negotiate through their group safely, with Iran and Nigeria offering great opportunities for Aguero to emphasise his prolific nature in-front of goal and reward punters backing him for the top scorer crown. They are a fantastic side that should manage to reach the latter stages of the tournament, giving the 25-year-old plenty of chances to add to his tally during the knockout rounds, and the current price looks an extremely tempting proposition.
Staying with Group F and keeping on the Manchester City theme, Aguero’s strike-partner at the Citizens, Edin Dzeko of Bosnia and Herzegovina, provides an extremely interesting proposition at a three-figure price.
Bosnia and Herzegovina topped their qualifying group, winning eight out of ten games, and managed to score 30 goals along the way, conceding only six. Dzeko took centre-stage once more, netting ten goals in the campaign, including a hat-trick in an 8-1 win away at Liechtenstein. They are a side who have the ability to put their opponents to the sword with deadly counter-attacks, and Dzeko is the point at which the attacks are based. As with Aguero, he should have plenty of opportunities to put the defences of both Iran and Nigeria to the sword, and the desire to ensure that his side get as big a goal difference as possible, as it could be all important at the end of the group stage. The 100/1 looks massive given Dzeko clinical touch and tactical nous inside the box, and could well be worth a small each-way bet, with most bookmakers going ¼ the odds for the first four at the top of the table.
The final selection comes in the shape of Fred for Brazil, whose goal-scoring record is fairly impressive. He has netted 16 times in 31 games, including five in the Confederations Cup, where he finished joint top scorer. A brace in the final against Spain, helped secure a 3-0 victory and show Fred’s ability to mix it at the top level.
He left Lyon to go back and play in his native Brazil, where he has scored 62 goals in 92 times for Fluminese. He plays regularly in the climate and home advantage should be key for Brazil, who are the pre-tournament favourites across the board.
Neymar and Hulk are two massive assets for the Brazilians going forward, but are often pushed wide to accommodate a central striker to spearhead the attack, and it looks set to be between Fred and Jo to battle out who gets the nod to start as the stereotypical ‘number 9’. Fred’s form has been fantastic this year in Brazil and the speculation is that he will be given the starting berth, which suggests the current 28/1 is fantastic value.
He will receive brilliant service, and with Brazil’s group consisting of Croatia, Mexico and Cameroon, he should be able to notch a hatful during the opening exchanges. Brazil look set for a deep run in the tournament and if they are to progress through to the latter rounds, Fred will have plenty of chances to prove his worth in what looks set to be the 30 year olds final World Cup.
Sergio Aguero @ 18/1
Fred @ 28/1
Edin Dzeko @ 100/1