By Antony Jordan
Outside of lifting the trophy for winning the European Championships, the one title that each and every player in the 23 man squads for each of the 24 nations competing at this summer’s tournament in France wants to get their hands on is the Golden Boot. This is awarded to the player who scores the most goals and with a field packed with attacking talent there is plenty of value in the betting market for this trophy.
We are taking a look at some of the big favourites and a few outside shots in the running to win the Golden Boot with online sportsbook Bet365.com to provide our best Euro 2016 Top Goalscorer picks.
Thomas Muller – Germany (8.00): The favourite to score the most goals in France this summer is the man leading the line for the world champions. The 26 year old Bayern Munich striker has an excellent record at international level with almost one goal per two games for Germany with 32 in 71 appearances, including five goals at both the 2010 and 2014 World Cups. He bagged nine goals in qualifying for this summer’s European Championships and scored 32 in 49 games in all competitions for Bayern this season, so Muller brings some excellent form, both recently and historically, into this competition.
Add this to Germany having an excellent squad and the ability to go all the way and Muller has the opportunity to play plenty of matches in this competition so everything combined sees him deserve to be amongst the front runners to win the Golden Boot.
Cristiano Ronaldo – Portugal (9.00): One of the all-time greats, Cristiano Ronaldo brings a fantastic season to France with him as he netted 51 goals in 48 matches in the Spanish league and cup as well as the Champions League, which he and Real Madrid lifted. He is by far and away the biggest star of the Portuguese side and he has found the back of the net on 56 occasions in 125 appearances for the side, so will be their leading man in France this summer.
He scored six goals at three European Championship tournaments and three goals at a trio of World Cup competitions, so is not the most prolific of players at these out of season events. With him not having appeared in any warm up games due to fatigue from a long season the big question for the striker is ‘Is he fully fit to play?’ Portugal believe so and with them playing Austria, Iceland and Hungary in Group F should Ronaldo be at his best he can certainly be in with a shout to secure the Golden Boot after this trio of matches alone.
Antoine Griezmann – France (9.00): Griezmann makes this list so close to the top thanks to a wonderful season with Atlético Madrid that saw them challenge Barcelona and Real Madrid all the way to the final day for the title and reach the Champions League Final, only to lose to Real on penalties. Throughout all of this Griezmann was the star man of the side with his creativity, vision and precise finishing as he found the net on 32 occasions this season and he’ll bring a lot of confidence to his homeland for this summer’s competition.
He has, however, scored just seven times in 27 appearances for Les Bleus and five of these goals came in 2014. His performances this season suggest he’ll be able to add to these goals this summer and with the array of creative talent in the French midfield there will be plenty of chances for him to find the net in front of his own fans. We will not be surprised to see Griezmann score multiple goals, but will he score enough to take this title?
Olivier Giroud – France (15.00): The first man to appear on the betting market from the Premier League is Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud and with him most likely to be the central striker for France this summer we feel that he offers more value than Griezmann in this market. The Arsenal man has scored three of the six goals in France’s two warm up matches and is in fine form the national side after finding the net 24 times as The Gunners finished second to Leicester in the Premier League this season. His form in the pair of friendly matches against Cameroon and Scotland follows on from him breaking a four month goal drought in the EPL by scoring four against Man City and Aston Villa and he’ll now be confident for a tournament in which France are sure to go far. With just one World Cup goal and none in either the European Championships or their qualifiers will Giroud be up for the task of leading the line for the French?
Harry Kane – England (15.00): Despite so few caps for his country Harry Kane, the Tottenham Hotspur striker, has an outstanding goalscoring rate with five goals in 12 appearances for England and the 22 year old is expected to challenge at the top of the goalscoring charts in France this summer. Since breaking into the Tottenham team two seasons ago the young striker has been prolific in the goalscoring charts with him netting 59 goals in 101 appearances over these two seasons for Spurs and with a number of his club team-mates in the England side there will be an understanding of the way each plays and a chance for Kane to add to his five goals.
On top of this England have a winnable group with Wales, Russia and Slovakia joining them in Group B, so if Kane can bag at least a couple of goals in the group to see England into the last 16 stage where he can add more he’ll definitely be worth a punt each way (as Bet365 are paying out on the top four players each way). Are England good enough to progress though or will they once again flatter to deceive?
Robert Lewandowski – Poland (17.00): Even though he is behind a number of players on this list Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski must still be considered as one of the biggest contenders to take the Golden Boot in France this summer as the Polish striker is one of the most lethal forwards in Europe right now. He scored 42 goals for Bayern this season and he comes into the Euros as the top scorer in qualifying as the only man to finish with more goals than matches as he netted 13 times during his ten matches.
He did score against Germany when they met in qualifying and although they must face the Germans again they do take on Ukraine and Northern Ireland as well so there is certainly opportunity for Lewandowski to upset the odds and perhaps bring in a 17.00 winner.
Romelu Lukaku – Belgium (21.00):
Belgium are one of the favourites to win the European Championships outright despite the fact that they are missing their captain Vincent Kompany through injury and the reason for this is that they will have one of the best attacking lineups in France this summer and the pick of the bunch is Everton man Romelu Lukaku. The 23 year old has already come out and stated that he’s looking to leave the Merseyside club so he’ll be desperate to shine in this tournament to woo potential suitors and he has already started this with three goals in the trio of warm up matches they have played to warm up for this competition.
You can be sure that with the likes of Kevin de Bruyne and Eden Hazard around him creating chances there will be plenty of opportunity for Lukaku to find the net and add to the 25 goals he scored for Everton this season. He may have trouble scoring against a solid Italian defence, but he has the quality to get in behind both the Irish and Swedish backlines to find the net so there will be goals for the EPL star before Belgium move into the knockout rounds.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Sweden (34.00):
Zlatan is another player with something to prove as Euro 2016 will be his swansong in international football as the 34 year old striker is likely to call it quits after the competition for the nation for which he has been capped 113 times and scored 62 goals. He too faces Italy and Ireland, as well as Belgium, like Lukaku and if any player is capable of turning a game by himself at this competition it is the man who is believed to be heading to Old Trafford and the Premier League next season.
This season saw Zlatan help PSG to the domestic quadruple and the last eight stage of the Champions League as he scored 50 goals in 51 matches. He also found the net eight times during the qualifying campaign and he’ll be the focal point of all Swedish attacks in France. He has managed to score two goals at each of the last three European Championships, but at 34 can he up his game to challenge for the Golden Boot?
Marko Arnautovic – Austria (151.00): Austria are one of the dark horses for the tournament after they won their last nine qualification games in a row to secure just their second ever appearances at the European Championships and if they’re going to progress in France they’ll need goals. The big names in the side are generally defensive in nature, but although David Alaba and 32 year old Marc Janko are the biggest names in an attacking sense we feel that if anyone will find the net on multiple occasions it’ll be the Stoke City attacker Marko Arnautovic.
With 12 goals for Stoke this season in the EPL Arnautovic showed that he has the ability to create goals from nothing and that he has both deft touches and an ice cool demeanour for applying the finish to moves. This season was the best of his career so far and if he can bag three or four goals then he may stand a chance of being a good value each way bet and with group mates Portugal and Hungary not renowned for their defensive abilities there may be chances for Arnautovic.
Shane Long – Ireland (151.00): The Irishman is another player who has had the best season of his career this time around with 13 goals netted in the EPL with Southampton and with Robbie Keane past his best and Jon Walters contributing more through industry than goals it will be down the 29 year old to find the net for Ireland this summer. He does so very well under pressure with him scoring an injury time leveller against Poland in Dublin and the winner versus Germany also on home soil during the qualifying campaign, and he has continued this with goals in two friendly matches in the build-up the tournament.
However, if he is to challenge the others near the top of the top goalscorer chart he’ll need Ireland to qualify and to start quickly against the tough Italian and Belgian defences and score at least one against a leaky Swedish backline. It can be done though, especially with the confidence that he is showing right now.
Gylfi Sigurdsson – Iceland (201.00): Sigurdsson is another Premier League stalwart and the 26 year old Swansea City playmaker stands an excellent chance of getting goals to his name in France this summer. He is the designated penalty and free kick taker for the debutant nation and he is lethal at both of these. He has averaged one in three for Iceland but he has recently been scoring at a much higher rate with six in ten during the qualifiers and he netted nine times in the second half of the Premier League season to almost single-handedly drag Swansea away from the relegation zone. We are sure that he will be involved in goals in the group stage and, if they qualify for the last 16 stage, in the knockout stage too.
Apart from the 1984 European Championships where French superstar Michel Platini bagged an amazing nine goals in five matches, to become the goalscorer a player has needed to score at least four goals (as three has resulted in at least a four way split) so this means that players will need to find at least three goals to stand a chance at making the each way bets come in.
Who can top these charts? Of all of the players listed above Thomas Muller has proven time after time that he can find goals in the biggest of tournaments and with Germany expected to at least make the Semi Finals, if not the final or even win the tournament, he’ll certainly have ample opportunity to bag another five goals like he has done in his last two World Cup appearances. As a result we are backing him to be the outright top goalscorer at Euro 2016.
However, we are also having each way bets (one quarter odds to be in the top four goalscorers in the competition) on three other players as we can see them finding the net at least three, if not four, times and this will most likely see their large odds bring in a decent level of profit.
We like Lewandowski because of the way Poland play and his experience at the top levels as well as his 13 goals in the qualification campaign, Lukaku as Belgium are a great side and he has a point to prove this summer and Sigurdsson due to Iceland potentially being the surprise package of the tournament and him taking all of the set pieces.
Euro 2016 Top Goalscorer Picks:
Back Thomas Muller to score the most goals at Euro 2016 @ 8.00.
Back Robert Lewandowski each way at odds of 17.00 (each way part 5.00).
Back Romelu Lukaku each way @ 21.00 (each way part – 6.00) to become the top goalscorer this summer.
Back Gylfi Sigurdsson each way at odds of 201.00 (each way section @ 51.00).