6 Dark Horses for the World Cup 2014 Golden Boot
Josip Drmic (Bayer Leverkusen) – SWITZERLAND
After making the move to Nuremburg from Zurich in July 2013, this relatively unknown 21 year old enjoyed an impressive debut season in the Bundesliga – scoring 17 league goals in 33 matches. These stats are arguably more impressive considering that Nuremburg were relegated this season, finishing second from bottom and mustering a measly 37 goals all season; the worst tally in the league. In May he agreed to join Bayer Leverkusen on a 5 year deal. It won’t be easy for the young man in Brazil, but with a promising 3 goals in 7 appearances for the Swiss national team so far, he has hinted he can reproduce his goalscoring form on the international stage.
Edin Dzeko (Manchester City) – BOSNIA
Whilst beginning the season playing second fiddle to the likes of Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo, the Bosnian hitman was crucial in City’s charge to the Premier League title, scoring 12 of his 16 league goals in 2014. In World Cup qualifying he hit 10 goals in 10 games, second only in Europe to Robin Van Persie with 11. Prolific in the air, brilliant at finding space in the box and competent with both feet. If there is one thing the guy does, it’s score goals. With teams such as Iran and Nigeria in the same group, you’d expect Bosnia to progress. As his country’s main goal threat, Dzeko will be relishing the opportunity to enhance his reputation in Brazil.
Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool) – ENGLAND
Daniel Sturridge is widely expected to be the man who is going to lead the line for the three lions in Brazil. The Liverpool forward has been in great form all season. He has pace and skill in abundance and can score a goal with a piece of magic – as can be seen from his recent goal vs Peru. He comes into the tournament on the back of a year which saw him finish as the top English goalscorer with 21 goals. Whether he can become the second Englishman after Gary Lineker at Mexico 1986 to achieve such a feat remains to be seen, but if he can pick up where he left off for Liverpool this season then you’d never say never, especially as England are going all the way, right?!
Ciro Immobile (Borussia Dortmund) – ITALY
It would be safe to say Mario Balotelli is the most feared of the Italian forward line but Ciro Immobile may just be the surprise package. He joined Juventus in 2009 and has been farmed out on loan and co-ownership agreements since. This season, at Torino, he has come to the fore. Scoring 22 goals in the Italian top tier, he was crowned capocannoniere (Serie A top scorer) and finished 6th in this year’s Golden Shoe rankings; earning a move to Borussia Dortmund to help fill the rather large void being left by the departing Lewandowski. With a recent hat-trick in a warm up game against Fluminese, he has stated his claim for a starting berth and if Italy can negotiate their way out of a tough group then he is definitely one to watch.
Carlos Bacca (Sevilla) – COLOMBIA
The South American has seen his stock rise this season, causing him to have been recently linked to Everton and Spanish giants Barcelona. He bagged 14 goals in La Liga, along with 7 goals in Sevilla’s victorious Europa League run; notching in one of the quarter finals, semi finals and scoring his PK in the shoot out against fellow finalists Benfica. His record for Colombia is a respectable 3 in 10. Now it has been confirmed that Falcao will certainly be missing the World Cup through injury, Carlos Bacca will be looking to profit from his compatriot’s bad fortune and push his country to the latter stages of the tournament.
Alexis Sanchez (Barcelona) – CHILE
Last but not least we have the Chilean dynamo, Alexis Sanchez. He terrifies defences with his pace and power and will be at home in the South American conditions. Despite a prolific season with Barcelona, in which he finished with 19 goals, he is being touted for a move away this summer – which could give him added motivation to explode in Brazil. Although Chile have been stuck in a group with Spain and the Netherlands – both finalists in 2010 – they are a talented bunch and more than capable of escaping the group, which you would have thought they will need to do if Sanchez is to stand a chance. (Unless he can smash 5 past the Aussies, that is!)