The 2012 European Championship was a remarkable one as far as the Golden Boot was concerned. No fewer than half a dozen players were tied on three goals, with Mario Balotelli, Fernando Torres, and Cristiano Ronaldo among them.
In three of the previous four renewals, the highest scorer finished on five goals and we should expect that many to be notched by the leading player at Euro 2016, especially as the format of the competition has changed.
More games being played at Euro 2016
UEFA’s decision to expand the tournament to include twenty-four teams ultimately means that more games will be played. Six groups of four teams compete for a place in the last sixteen before four knockout stages and that means that four sides will play seven matches.
While there’s the possibility that leading teams will rest players along the way (especially for the third group game if they’re already qualified), there seems ample opportunity for the best attacking players to come out on top at Euro 2016.
Who are the Golden Boot favourites?
888SPORT have installed Thomas Muller at odds of 7/1 and the Bayern Munich forward is the market leader at the time of writing. Muller has been a mainstay of the Germany attack during one of the most successful eras for the country, with the 26-year-old managing 31 goals from 70 appearances.
Muller scored five goals at the 2014 World Cup, finishing second behind James Rodriguez, although it’s worth noting that he scored a hat-trick against Portugal during the opening match and therefore just two more all the way to the final.
Nevertheless, Muller continues to plunder goals for Bayern Munich and recently passed the thirty-goal mark for the Bavarian side this season, with Die Mannschaft sure to be among the goals in France.
At a slightly bigger price of 8/1, we have the inimitable Cristiano Ronaldo and it’s easy to see why the world’s second best player has been chalked up at these particular odds.
Ronaldo was one of the tied leaders at Euro 2012 and he has a very creditable 56 goals in 123 performances for Portugal, although it should be noted that his scoring record for Real Madrid is far superior.
Nevertheless, Ronaldo’s prowess from the penalty spot and his enviable free-kick skills mean that he’s a constant menace for his national team. He is a special sort of player who can win games singlehandedly.
It could be Griez lightning for Antoine
The third player in the Euro 2016 Golden Boot betting odds was Karim Benzema, although Ronaldo’s club team-mate is not going to be appearing at the Championships unless you count his attendance in the stands to cheer on Les Bleus.
Benzema’s off-the-field indiscretions mean that Didier Deschamps’ hands are tied and that could open up the possibility of Antoine Griezmann becoming the leading scorer, not only for France but at the tournament overall.
Griezmann has been in and around the French squad since making his debut in 2014, with the forward making the squad for the World Cup that year although he was played on the left side rather than his preferred central role.
Two years further down the line, the 25-year-old is ready to lead the line for Les Bleus and he will come into the tournament in amazing form after a memorable season for Atletico that has seen the Madrid side challenge hard for La Liga title and the Champions League.
Indeed, it was Griezmann’s two goals that effectively knocked out Barcelona at the last eight stage of the Champions League and it’s something that won’t have gone unnoticed by Deschamps. While Anthony Martial and Kingsley Coman are both outrageously talented players, the manager will only have one nailed-on forward in his team and that man is Griezmann.
The former Real Sociedad striker can take a mean penalty and it should be noted that he’s been racking up goals for an Atletico team who don’t have a possession-based game compared to counterparts Real Madrid and Barcelona.
At odds of 11/1, he is worthy of strong consideration and that price could contract fairly sharply if the forward manages to get off the mark against Romania in his opening match. With Albania and Switzerland waiting in the wings, it’s hard to imagine Griezmann not scoring during the group stage.
Will Robert wave Le Wand for Poland?
Cristiano Ronaldo and Thomas Muller are two of the best attacking players in Europe, although when you’re talking about the finest centre-forward on the continent, you can’t look much further than Robert Lewandowski.
The Poland striker announced himself on the international scene four years ago when scoring for his country during their Euro 2012 opener against Greece, although his meteoric rise has continued since then and he’s developed into an absolute predator for Bayern Munich since completing the move from Borussia Dortmund.
Lewandowski pretty much guarantees goals every time he sets foot on the pitch and bwin offer the 27-year-old at odds of 16/1, which could pique the interest of many a betting customer.
The Warsaw-born forward has notched 34 goals in 75 appearances for Poland and it’s worth noting that his nation are in a tough-looking group that also includes Germany, Ukraine and Northern Ireland. While you might expect the Poles to qualify, finishing ahead of the Germans looks a tall order.
It means that Lewandowski needs to score against a higher class of opposition than the likes of Griezmann, although you are still talking about someone who is going to top the forty-goal mark for Bayern Munich this season. He’s capable of wreaking havoc against any opponent including world champions Germany.
Can Spain produce another David Villa?
La Roja had a World Cup campaign to forget two years ago, with Spain fraying at the edges when facing the Netherlands and never recovering from that 5-1 demolition. Diego Costa was the chosen front man for the Spanish and seemed to struggle fitting into the team ethos that demanded quick passing and close control.
Costa was probably the fall guy of that particular project, although the Chelsea forward is likely to be leading the line again, with Vicente Del Bosque hoping that the former Atletico Madrid player can make a bigger impact this time around.
It was eight years ago that David Villa spearheaded the attack that helped the then-Valencia player finish top of the scoring charts and Spain to an unprecedented European Championship victory in the process.
Costa is 22/1 with 888sport to finish top of the scoring charts at Euro 2016, with Spain facing the Czech Republic, Turkey and Croatia at the group stage. It’s hard to calculate whether this represents a generous draw or not.
If it’s not Costa that delivers the goods for Spain, then an interesting candidate is Paco Alcácer who has managed six goals in thirteen appearances for the senior international side after representing La Roja from Under-16 all the way through the youth ranks.
Alcácer has operated pretty well for a troubled Valencia side this season and could be one of the tournament’s dark horses at odds of 30/1.
England set to have a five-pronged attack at Euro 2016
It’s been a reasonably good draw for England who have been matched with Wales, Russia and Slovakia. Roy Hodgson guided a defensive-minded Three Lions team to the last eight of Euro 2012, although the manager has outstanding weaponry when it comes to attacking this time around.
Chief among the England strikers is Harry Kane who in 2014 was nowhere near the World Cup squad.
Fast forward to 2016 and the Tottenham striker has well and truly broken onto the international scene, and will demand to start when the opener against the Russians comes around.
Kane is a prodigious talent who has led the Premier League scoring charts for much of the season; the Spurs man is priced at 17.00 to continue making it a memorable 2016 by firing his way to the top of the scoring charts.
The 22-year-old has already scored four goals for England and should be on penalty duties for his country this summer, although Hodgson is also set to include Jamie Vardy and Wayne Rooney as part of his travelling party.
Goal scoring success for Vardy at Euro 2016 would continue this amazing story of a non-league football player who has been picked up by Championship club Leicester City for £1 million to eventually blossom into a world-class talent capable of taunting Europe’s best defences.
Vardy’s goals against Germany and the Netherlands are an illustration of how adaptable the Foxes forward has become, and 888sport’s odds of 40/1 reflect that he’s to be taken seriously at Euro 2016, especially if Hodgson finds a way of shoehorning him into the team.
Rooney is probably THE household name for England at this tournament, especially now that Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard have retired from international duty. The team captain will be knocking on the door to feature this summer, although Kane nails down the central striking role and it’s hard to see the Manchester United forward making a scoring impact from a deeper-lying role.
Daniel Sturridge was the main man for England at World Cup 2014, although the Liverpool forward will have to contend with being an attacking option off the bench, while Danny Welbeck might get more game time but his wide position means that several goals being scored looks unlikely.
What about some dark horses for the Golden Boot?
James Rodriguez proved at the 2014 World Cup that big price winners are a common occurrence when it comes to goal scoring markets. The Colombia midfielder was a sensation in Brazil and we should also note that 150/1 shot Alan Dzagoev was tied at the top at Euro 2012.
Kevin De Bruyne is priced at 35/1 and the Belgium midfielder has had a strong season for Manchester City despite suffering a relatively serious injury that sidelined the playmaker for a couple of months.
De Bruyne has an excellent eye for goal and forms part of a Belgian side that looks lively in attack, although the goals could be equally shared between him, Romelu Lukaku, Divock Origi and Eden Hazard.
Gareth Bale is a 40/1 shot and the Wales forward is pretty much vital to the hopes of the Reds qualifying through the group stages of the competition and then going deep at the knockout phase.
The Real Madrid player is one of the best in the world and appears to be hitting some end-of-season form domestically, which bodes well for Chris Coleman and his team, although England and Russia could be tough opponents.
You can’t keep a good man down and Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be appearing at what is likely to be his final major tournament this summer, with the Swedish striker available at odds of 34/1 to finish off in style by winning the Golden Boot.
Zlatan is similar to Ronaldo in the sense that he often carries the can for a modest international side bereft of attacking quality, although the Paris Saint-Germain star is capable of scoring as a target man or with either foot.
Choose more than one player for Golden Boot bets
With regard to the Golden Boot market, we recommend small bets on several players in order to have a strong interest throughout the competition. It also gives you a better chance of picking out the winner in what is an unpredictable market that can often come down to individual performance in one particular game.
You effectively want to choose a player who represents a team that is likely to reach the later stages of the competition. That is why someone like Griezmann should be good for several games and therefore multiple bites of the cherry for what looks like a strong team on paper.
If you take Griezmann, Kane and potentially an outsider such as Bale, then you should get a good run for your money. There will also be the chance to back a particular player to top score for their country and it is definitely worth analysing these markets to see if some value can be found.