Who Will Win the Golden Ball and Golden Boot?

The race for the two most coveted personal trophies is on, and with Portugal eliminated yesterday the field has narrowed a bit, with England's Harry Kane leading all goal scorers.

For the individual, no accolade ranks higher than winning the World Cup. But if you don't play for that elite clique of World Cup winning nations then you know the likelihood of getting your hands on the Lima trophy is tiny.

The next reasonable target in your quest for fame and glory on the world's biggest stage is likely to be one of the two most coveted personal trophies - the Golden Ball and the Golden Boot. They are awarded to the best player and top scorer at each tournament.

Golden Boot and Golden Ball previewPrevious winners in are legends and their names are etched into history forever, but how are both awards determined and who is likely to get their hands on them?

The Golden Ball shortlist is drawn up by the FIFA technical committee and the winner is subsequently chosen by media representatives.

Previous winners include Lionel Messi (2014), Diego Forlan (2010), Zinedine Zidane (2006), Oliver Kahn (2002), Ronaldo (1998), Romario (1994), Salvatore Schillaci (1990) and Diego Maradona (1986).

The Golden Boot award is presented to the top scorer of the tournament. If the amount of goals are level, then it's awarded to the player without the penalty goal. If still level, then the player with the higher number of assists wins. Minutes per goal is the final determinant.

Previous winners include James Rodriguez (2014), Thomas Muller (2010), Miroslav Klose (2006), Ronaldo (2002) and Davor Šuker (1998).

The current standings for the race for the Golden Boot are as follows:

Harry Kane, England - 5 goals, 0 assists, 31 minutes per goal
Romelu Lukaku, Belgium - 4 goals, 0 assists, 37 minutes per goal
Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal -  4 goals, 0 assists, 68 minutes per goal
Denis Cheryshev, Russia - 3 goals, 0 assists, 59 minutes per goal
Diego Costa, Spain - 3 goals, 0 assists, 80 minutes per goal
Edinson Cavani, Uruguay, 3 goals
Artem Dzyuba, Russia, 3 goals
Kylian Mbappe, France, 3 goals

While the Golden Boot is based on hard numbers, the Golden Ball winner is less statistical based, allowing room for opinion. A goalkeeper won the award as recently as 2002 and those in the running are usually flair players, playmakers and goal-scorers that you might use words like silky or wavy to describe.

So far at the 2018 World Cup, Luka Modric has wowed pundits and fans alike for his performances in Group D, which saw Croatia win every game in style. The Real Madrid #10 has been the heartbeat of his side with his control and passing, leading team-mate Dejan Lovren to say he would "probably win the Balon D'or if he was German or Spanish."

Cristiano Ronaldo stole the show early on with a hat-trick against Spain and predictably made the tournament about himself. He added another goal against Morocco and is currently favorite to win the Golden Ball for player of the tournament at 9/2.

Meanwhile, Harry Kane is currently the top scorer at the tournament. However, he will not find solace in the fact the last time the Golden Ball winner was the top scorer was all the way back in 1990.

At the end of the group stages, the top goalscorer betting has Kane, Lukaku, Ronaldo at 6/4, 4/1 and 9/2 respectively. The Tottenham and Manchester United center-forwards sat out their final group game, allowing Ronaldo to stay hot on their heels.

Kane might currently be out on top, but history is not kind to those who lead the scoring charts after the group stages. Since France ’98, only Germany’s Miroslav Klose has claimed the prize having led the standings entering the knock-out rounds.

Ronaldo has no shot at the Golden Boot after an early exit by Portugal. Lukaku might then be a better top goal-scorer bet since he faces a more navigable last-16 assignment against Japan.

N.B - The Top Goal-Scorer market is NOT the FIFA Golden Boot - if players finish level on goals, then dead heat rules mentioned prior apply.

Bet on the World Cup Golden Boot and Golden Ball winners at Elite-Rated William HIll


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