Soccer World Cup: 5 strikers will set the competition ablaze

In the Corner Shop today: Five days to go and we are counting down by celebrating five fantastic kickers.

Who will win the Golden Boot award at Qatar? Fans will be hoping there will be plenty of goals this time round and their optimism should be rewarded, given how many forwards there are with dancing feet and powerful shots.

Not that midfielders are slouches when it comes to bulging the nets in the modern game, nor the giant fullbacks who will literally rise high to corners and dead ball crosses.

Such a pity that players of the calibre of Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah and Newcastle’s red-hot Miguel Almiron won’t be there as Egypt and Paraguay failed to qualify, along with other surprise failures like Italy and Sweden. Plus Russia, omitted for other reasons.

Of course, while one marksman might score the goal, it takes a team to make it happen and it’s all going to be about creating the most opportunities for the strikers.

With plenty to choose from, including some serial scorers, these are my selections to be in contention for the king of the goal-getters – that’s assuming injuries don’t get in the way.

  1. Robert Lewandowski

Big and strong, the Barcelona FC hitman has been leader of Poland for some time. He is already 34 years old, but is playing the best football of his life and the World Cup is one stage where experience counts for plenty. He has starred for both Dortmund and Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga and with over 130 international caps, the seasoned veteran certainly knows his way to the goalmouth.

  1. Edinson Cavani

A perennial top performer for La Liga club Valencia, Edinson is Uruguay’s top goal poacher. Also a seasoned player at age 35, he has been around the block for a while, plying his trade for the likes of Napoli, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United. Right now he is in top form, peaking at the right time. A strong suit is his ability to switch to either the left or right wing, as circumstances demand.

  1. Karim Benzema

The man who scores goals for fun in Real Madrid colours will probably be playing in his last World Cup as he tries to take France to consecutive wins. Interestingly, he is another 34-year-old, showing just how much experience needs to be gathered along the way to becoming a scorching sharpshooter. He has a mild injury, but is nursing it by limiting club appearances, much to the annoyance of many fans and former players. His greatest asset is the ability to feed off scraps. Any ball that bobbles in the box will be seized and dispatched into the net with gusto.

  1. Harry Kane

With a name that appropriately sounds like ‘hurricane’, the Tottenham and England forward has been a prolific goal scorer for the past five seasons. He was part of the Three Lions squad that reached the semis in Russia four years ago and is surely the first name coach Gareth Southgate pencilled in during his selection process – especially considering that Kane won the cup’s Golden Boot that year. Not only does citizen Kane bang in goals with both feet, but he is also a brilliant linkman and boasts one of the highest assist rates. Add to that his prodigious heading ability and his knack for being first to the ball at the other end of the pitch when doing defensive duties, and he is the complete footballer. A natural leader, he will literally steer from the front.

  1. Neymar

Not just a prolific goal-scorer, but also an influential playmaker, the Brazilian is clever and creative, capable of doing the unexpected to deceive his markers. Touted as the best dribbler on the planet, Neymar Jr stars for Paris Saint-Germain as a fan favourite and his undoubted abilities have allowed him to accumulate a net worth said to be in the region of 185 million Euros. Expect that value to rise if he claims the Golden Boot award in Qatar.

#TacklingQatar2022: Manned by soccer fundi Dave Savides, the Corner Shop is the place to be for Soccer World Cup news. Savides, the long-time editor of the Zululand Observer, is tackling the coverage of the world’s greatest footie extravaganza for Caxton Local Media.

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