Balotelli, RVP and Dzeko great bets to bag goals in Brazil
The World Cup this summer in Brazil is going to showcase the planet’s best footballers, and there will be heavy coverage in particular on the front men, who are all vying for the prestigious Golden Boot prize.
There will be some countries who will share the scoring pressure up front, for instance England with Wayne Rooney just behind Daniel Sturridge, but for others they will rely heavily on one star striker.
Italy, the Netherlands and World Cup debutants Bosnia and Herzegovina are all hoping Mario Balotelli, Robin van Persie and Edin Dzeko respectively fire in the goals to take them as far in the competition as possible.
Mario Balotelli – 33/1
AC Milan star Balotelli will be looking to take his scoring form, despite his club’s woeful Serie A season, into Brazil this summer. His 12 goals in 22 league appearances this term have been just about the only positives to happen to the Italian giants – who languish down in 12th place – of late.
Balotelli, 23, has a good record in international competitions in his short career so far, and his big-game mentality could be a crucial factor to his nation’s World Cup hopes. The former Manchester City player scored against Republic of Ireland and Germany at Euro 2012 to help Italy along the way to the final. Meanwhile, Mexico and Japan were victim to his lethal touch in the 2013 Confederations Cup.
Italy (25/1 World Cup chances) face England, Uruguay and Costa Rica in Group D, where they are favourites both to win (13/8) and qualify (4/9) for the knockout phase.
Robin van Persie – 25/1
If the Netherlands hope to reach their second consecutive World Cup final, they will need Van Persie to fire. Again, this Golden Boot hopeful is impressive in front of goal for a wounded club giant. His Manchester United side are down in seventh in the league, but the Dutchman’s 17 goals in 25 games in all competitions put him in good stead for Brazil.
The 30-year-old was top-scorer in World Cup Qualifying in the European section, netting an impressive 11 times in nine matches – including hitting a hat-trick against Hungary. Van Persie’s side demolished their Group D opponents, winning nine out of 10 (scoring 34 and conceding just five).
Louis van Gaal’s side (33/1 to win their first World Cup) face a tough finals pool, however, with holders Spain, Chile and Australia in their way. Coral price them as second-favourites to advance to the next stage at 1/2, or 9/4 to win Group B.
Edin Dzeko – 100/1
Although clearly the odds are against Dzeko to win the Golden Boot, here’s why the big Bosnian could be in with a good shout in his first major tournament for his country. His international record is fantastic, 33 goals in 58 appearances, with the likes of top nations Spain, Germany, France and Belgium (twice) being on the receiving end of the City striker’s finishing.
Dzeko managed five goals in World Cup Qualifiers, and scored seven in eight games in 2013. His 18 in 32 domestic competitions for his club this season prove that he is a man in form and ready to be unleashed on the world’s biggest international stage.
Bosnia are even fancied to get through Group F, odds-on to qualify at 8/11 and 5/1 to finish top – behind tournament second-favourites Argentina. Their overall World Cup hopes of 125/1 suggest that feat is too far out of reach for them, but Dzeko will fancy his chances netting in the goals in matches over other group opponents Nigeria and Iran – who the 28-year-old scored twice against in 2009.