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World Cup 2018

Harry Kane wins World Cup 2018 top scorer: Golden Boot

The race to be the Golden Boot winner in Russia was always likely to throw up some surprises and as it concluded, England's main man took the accolade.
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Harry Kane wins World Cup 2018 top scorer: Golden Boot

The World Cup 2018 is over. France overcame an impressive Croatian team in the final to seal their second Fifa prize. But it wasn't Les Bleus' Antoinne Griezmann or Kylian Mbappé who picked up the individual award for top scorer. The Golden Boot winner 2018 went to England's Harry Kane.

The Tottenham Hotspur striker bowed out of the tournament after accumulating six goals. Five of the goals came in the group and a final one added against Colombia in the round of the last 16. There were three penalties, two deflected efforts and a header. Congratulations Harry!

A golden lining | England's coach Gareth Southgate talks to England's forward Harry Kane, the World Cup Golden Boot winner.
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A golden lining | England's coach Gareth Southgate talks to England's forward Harry Kane, the World Cup Golden Boot winner.PAUL ELLISAFP

Golden Boot World Cup 2018


Harry Kane (England)


Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Romelu Lukaku (Belgium), Denis Cheryshev (Russia), Antoine Griezmann (France), Kylian Mbappé (France)


Edinson Cavani (Uruguay), Diego Costa (Spain), Artem Dzyuba (Russia), Yerry Mina (Colombia), Eden Hazard (Belgium), Mario Mandzukic (Croatia), Ivan Perisic (Croatia)


Luka Modric (Croatia), Philippe Coutinho (Brazil), Ahmed Musa (Nigeria), John Stones (England), Luis Suárez (Uruguay), Andreas Granqvist (Sweden), Son Heung-min (South Korea), Sergio Agüero (Argentina), Neymar Jr (Brazil), Takashi Inui (Japan), Thomas Meunier (Belgium)


Yuri Gazinskiy (Russia), Ante Rebic (Croatia), Ivan Rakitic (Croatia), Aleksandr Golovin (Russia), José Gimenez (Uruguay), Nacho (Spain), Mile Jedinak (Australia), Alfred Finnbogason (Iceland), Yussuf Poulsen (Denmark), Aleksandar Kolarov (Serbia), Hirving Lozano (Mexico), Steven Zuber (Switzerland), Dries Mertens (Belgium), Ferjani Sassi (Tunisia), Shinji Kagawa (Japan), Juan Quintero (Colombia), Yuya Osako (Japan), M'Baye Niang (Senegal), Grzegorz Krychowiak (Poland), Aleksandar Mitrovic (Serbia), Granit Xhaka (Switzerland), Xherdan Shaqiri (Switzerland), Javier 'Chicharito' Hernández (Mexico), Carlos Vela (Mexico), Ola Toivonen (Sweden), Marco Reus (Germany), Toni Kroos (Germany), Jesse Lingard (England), Felipe Baloy (Panama), Sadio Mané (Senegal), Moussa Wagué (SeFnegal), Keisuke Honda (Japan), Radamel Falcao (Colombia), Juan Cuadrado (Colombia), Khalid Boutaib (Morocco), Ricardo Quaresma (Portugal), Isco (Spain), Karim Ansarifard  (Iran), André Carrillo (Peru), Paolo Guerrero (Peru), Lionel Messi (Argentina), Victor Moses (Nigeria), Marcos Rojo (Argentina), Gylfi Sigurdsson (Iceland), Milan Badelj (Croatia), Ludwig Augustinsson (Sweden), Blerim Dzemaili (Switzerland), Josip Drmic (Switzerland), Kendall Waston (Costa Rica), Thiago Silva (Brazil), Paulinho (Brazil), Jan Bednarek (Poland), Adnan Januzaj (Belgium), Ben Youseff (Tunisia), Wahbi Khazri (Tunisia), Benjamin Pavard (France), Ángel di María (Argentina), Gabriel Mercado (Argentina), Pepe (Portugal), Mathias Joergensen (Denmark), Roberto Firmino (Brazil), Genki Haraguchi (Japan), Jan Vertonghen (Belgium), Marouane Fellaini (Belgium), Nacer Chadli (Belgium), Emil Forsberg (Sweden), Raphael Varane (France), Kevin de Bruyne (Belgium), Renato Augusto (Brazil), Andrej Kramaric (Croatia), Domagoj Vida (Croatia), Mário Fernandes (Russia), Harry Maguire (England), Dele Alli (England), Samuel Umtiti (France), Kieran Trippier (England), Paul Pogba (France)

Griezmann, Mbappé, Pogba involved in six-goal thriller

In an entertaining World Cup Final, six goals were scored with France beating Croatia by four goals to two. The first half saw a controversial Mandzukic own-goal and Griezmann penalty giving Les Bleus a slim advantage, with a sweet strike from Perisic in between. The second 45 gave Paul Pogba a chance to get his first of the tournament, Mbappé became the second youngest scorer in a World Cup final and even a blooper from Lloris, gifting Mandzukic a second for his side didn't suggest Croatia would make a late comeback.

Devilish Hazard and Meunier clinch Belgian bronze

England tasted their second defeat of the tournament at the hands of Belgium who were a class above their European rivals. After departing the same group in different direction until finally losing in the semi-finals to France and Croatia respectively, the tougher route to the third-place play-off did not impact on Roberto Martinez' side. It could have been more convincing on the scoreboard but a perfectly timed run by the Belgian right back to meet a cross from the left and a clinical near post finish from the winger ensured the Red Devils could return home to a true heroes welcome.

France to face Croatia in final as Umtiti, Mandzukic the heroes

Samuel Umtiti popped up with his first goal of the 2018 World Cup in Tuesday's semi-final between France and Belgium, the Barcelona defender's 51st-minute header proving the difference between the teams and sending Les Bleus into Sunday's final in Moscow. Didier Deschamps' men will face Croatia, who saw off England on Wednesday as Mario Mandzukic's extra-time winner completed a come-from-behind win in the Russian capital. Kieran Trippier had given the Three Lions an early lead with a sweetly-struck free-kick that opened his World Cup account, before Ivan Perisic and Mandzukic turned the scoreboard on its head. They both move on to two goals at Russia 2018. Meanwhile, Harry Kane remains clear at the top of the scoring charts despite drawing a blank against Croatia, and could still add to his haul of six in Saturday's third-place play-off against Belgium.  

Cheryshev scores again as hosts Russia bow out

Denis Cheryshev was on target yet again for Russia on Saturday, thumping in a wonderful effort to put the hosts ahead in their quarter-final clash with Croatia. However, his fourth goal of the World Cup was cancelled out by Andrej Kramaric's first at the tournament, before Domagoj Vida likewise got off the mark in Russia, nodding the Croats into an extra-time lead. Though Mário Fernandes forced penalties late on (in the process also opening his account at the finals), the Croats triumphed 4-3 in the shoot-out to reach the semis, where they will face England.

Earlier in the day, the Three Lions booked a first last-four spot in 28 years by beating Sweden 2-0 courtesy of headers by Harry Maguire and Dele Alli, whose maiden World Cup strikes took Gareth Southgate's side to 11 in total in this summer's competition - more than any other English team has managed.

Muslera gaffe gifts Griezmann goal, De Bruyne opens account

The first of the 2018 World Cup's quarter-final ties saw Raphael Varane and Antoine Griezmann get the goals (the latter with no little help from goalkeeper Fernando Muslera) as France comfortably beat Uruguay on Friday. After Varane had headed Les Bleus into the lead shortly before half time in Nizhny Novgorod, Uruguay's Muslera let Griezmann's 61st-minute shot slip between his fingers and into the net. That fortunate strike - his first from open play at the tournament - left the forward on three goals so far in Russia.

Later in the day, Kevin de Bruyne got off the mark at this year's World Cup, fizzing in a fine effort to score Belgium's second in Kazan as the Red Devils claimed a 2-1 win over pre-tournament favourites Brazil, and set up a semi-final showdown with the French in Saint Petersburg on Tuesday. A Fernandinho own goal had put the Belgians ahead, before De Bruyne's stunning finish was followed by Renato Augusto's late consolation for Brazil.

Forsberg sends Sweden through, Kane and Mina add to tallies

Emil Forsberg opened his account at the 2018 World Cup to give Sweden a 1-0 victory over Switzerland in Tuesday's first last-16 match, before England's clash with Colombia in the final tie of the round saw Harry Kane extend his lead at the top of the scoring charts, his penalty for the Three Lions moving him onto six goals in Russia. That strike looked to be enough to send Gareth Southgate's men into the quarter-finals, but in the 93rd minute Yerry Mina popped up with yet another headed goal - his third at the finals so far - to force extra time in Moscow. After a goalless addition half hour, it then came down to a penalty shoot-out - from which, for the first time ever, England emerged victorious.   

Neymar inches up scoring charts

The penultimate day of the last-16 stage saw Neymar - with his second of the tournament - and Roberto Firmino grab the goals as Brazil beat Mexico 2-0 to reach the quarter-finals, where the five-time winners will face Belgium. Having gone two down to Japan after fine efforts by Genko Haraguchi and Takashi Inui (who, like Neymar, doubled his Russia 2018 tally in the process), the Belgians turned the scoreboard on its head courtesy of strikes by Jan Vertonghen, Marouane Fellaini and - right at the death - Nacer Chadli. 

Host's hero Dzyuba onto three

Russia's Artem Dzyuba slotted home his side's 41st minute penalty to level at 1-1 with Spain after Piqué handled in the area, cancelling out Ignashevic's 12th minute own goal, and providing the platform for Russia to then defend all the way to the penalty shoot-out, where they would triumph over the 2010 champions. That means he's onto three for the tournament, along with Diego Costa, whose account is now closed.

In the other round of 16 match on Sunday, Denmark's Mathias Joergensen got his first of the tournament, stabbing home through a forest of legs with just a minute on the clock, before that was cancelled out a couple of minutes later when Croatia's Mario Mandzukic also bagged his opening goal of the 2018 World Cup, stabbing home after a ricochet off a defender's face. After two goals in the opening four minutes the expectation was that the Golden Boot race would see a deluge of net-busting, but alas that wasnt to be, and the match ended up finishing 1-1 and being decided on penalties. Croatia march on.

Cavani bags brace to knock out Portugal

Edinson Cavani was the man for Uruguay, scoring twice in their 2-1 win over Portugal, with two cracking goals. The first saw the PSG man send the ball out left to Suárez and make a superb run to the back post to meet the return ball and fire it home (with his face admittedly), while the second saw him curl a fine, fine finish past Rui Patricio after a long ball out of defence from Uruguay.

Pepe finished the tournament on one goal, grabbing Portugal's equaliser at 1-1, popping up behind decoy Cristiano Ronaldo to head home.

Mbappé shoots down Argentina

The France forward became the first teenager since Pelé to score twice in a World Cup game as his four-minute brace ended Argentina's hopes in Russia with Les Bleus edging a 4-3 rollercoaster in Kazan. Antoine Griezmann added his second of the tournament and Benjamin Pavard scored his first international goal with an incredible strike to see off Leo Messi's Albiceleste, who replied through Ángel di María, Gabriel Mercado and Sergio Agüero

Real Sociedad's Januzaj gets off the mark

Adnan Januzaj's beautifully executed goal was by far the highlight of a turgid game which neither England nor Belgium seemed particularly bothered to win - it was also his first for the national team. The Real Sociedad forward picked the ball up just outside the penalty area and sent a wonderful, curled shot past Pickford's outstretched arm on 51 minutes. It was a moment to savour for the 25-year-old who has only enjoyed a fringe role with Belgium's senior side after making his full international debut in June 2014 - curiously against the nation who they shared the same group with in Russia, Tunisia. Today's goal was also one for the family album. 

In Thursday evening's other game, Tunisia bowed out on a high nore by beating Panama 1-2 to finish in third. Ben Youseff hauled the North Africans back into contention after Yassine Meriah had turned the ball past his own keeper. Wahbi Khazri tucked in the winner on the hour to bring up his first goal at the tournament.

Yerry Mina sends Colombia through

Colombia were struggling against Senegal, with Golden Boot winner at 2014 James limping off injured, failing to take their chances and potentially going out of the World Cup at the group stage, when Yerry Mina soared in the box to fire a solid header home and the Cafeteros flying into the last 16.

Alas for Senegal the goal from Poland's Jan Bednarek against Japan in the other game in Group H wasn't enough to send them through, as although the African nation finished level on points, goal difference AND goals scored with Nishino's side, they went out on fair play rules, having picked up one yellow card fewer... such narrow margins.

Paulinho and Thiago join Samba strikes

It was all too easy for Brazil as they cruised into the last 16 at the expense of a disappointing Serbia side. A lob over the keeper from Paulinho five minutes before half-time set them on their way, and just as their opponents looked like they may be interested in getting back in the game, Thiago Silva headed home a Neymar corner on the 65th minute.

In the other Group E game, four goals were shared, with Switzerland joining Brazil in the next round and Costa Rica picking up their first goals and pointKendall Waston not only brought the South Americans level (after Blerim Dzemaili had put the Swiss ahead) but he also ensured that every one of the 32 teams in Russia had scored at least one goal. After Josip Drmic had returned the lead to the Europeans, Yann Sommer was the unfortunate goalkeeper who inadvertently deflected the ball into his own net after a Bryan Ruiz penalty came off the woodwork late in the game.

Sweden and South Korea add five goals

Three goals without reply from the Scandinavians (Ludwig Augustinsson, Andreas Granqvist, and another own goal) against Mexico saw both sides qualify for the last 16. This was due to South Korea shocking Germany thanks to strikes from Young-Gwon Kim and Heung Min Son.

Messi and Moses lead Group D goal-fest 

Two games, six goals, and confirmation in a rather unconvincing style that Argentina would join Croatia in the round of 16. Both matches ended 2-1 with goals from Messi and Rojo edging it over Moses strike for NigeriaGylfi Sigurdsson's penalty was not enough for the islanders with Perisic adding to Milan Badelj's earlier goal. All debut goals at this summer's tournament so no dent made in the race for the Golden Boot.

Carrillo grabs first goal for Peru in a long time

André Carrillo opened the scoring for already-eliminated Peru against Australia, and his rasping, diagonal volley put an end to a drought of 13,152 days without a goal for Peru at the World Cup finals. The last Peruvian to notch: La Rosa against Poland... in Peru's 5-1 defeat on 22 June 1982.

Paolo Guerrero, Peru's leader, also got on the scoresheet, swivelling early in the second half in the box to fire a bouncing ball past Mathew Ryan in the Australian goals.

Cristiano Ronaldo misses chance to go level with Kane

Portugal's star man saw his 52nd minute penalty saved by Beiranvand as Santos' side drew 1-1 with Iran, meaning the Real Madrid striker failed to go level with England's Harry Kane at the top of the goalscoring charts in Russia 2018.

It was Ricardo Quaresma who bagged Portugal's goal on the night, with an absolutely delightful outside-of-the-boot curling strike which gave Beiranvand no chance. Iran's late goal came from the penalty spot, after the VAR was consulted to confirm a handball from Soares in the box. Karim Ansarifard slotted home the spot-kick tidily, but won't have a chance to add to his tally, as Taremi missed a wonderful opportunity to put Iran into the last 16 at Portugal's expense, sending a last gasp shot into the side netting.

Meanwhile in the other game in Group B, Spain were shocked early on when striker Khalid Boutaib made the most of a mix-up between Ramos and Iniesta just outside the centre circle, striding away to pop the ball past De Gea. And he should have had a second soon after, but having been released again he came up against De Gea, who this time stopped him, recording his first save of the World Cup in the process.

Isco got the leveller for Spain seven minutes after Morocco's opener, after a delightful move with Iniesta, but despite continued pressure, it was Spain who went behind in the 80th minute, when En Nesryi towered at a corner and slammed a header past De Gea.

Iago Aspas though, subbed on in the 73rd minute, came up with a cute backheel (VAR reviewed for a hint of offside) with the 90 minutes up to grab the draw for Spain and send them through to the next round in first place, thanks too to the mayhem in the Portugal - Iran game. 

England's Kane leads the way after day 11 in Russia

Defender Felipe Baloy opened Panama's account at Russia 2018 with a late consolation goal against England on Sunday and, in doing so, became the oldest player to score at a World Cup finals. Baloy, aged 37 years and 120 days, takes the record previously held by Martín Palermo, who found the net in Argentina's 2-0 win over Greece at 2010 South Africa, aged 36 years and 227 days. Meanwhile, Harry Kane's hat-trick in the Three Lions' thrashing of Panama saw the Tottenham striker move to five goals in the tournament and go to the top of the Golden Boot standings, one ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo and Romelu Lukaku.

Later on Sunday, Sadio Mané was among four players who got their first goals of the World Cup as Senegal and Japan played out an entertaining 2-2 draw in Group H, before in the section's other fixture Yerry Mina, Radamel Falcao and Juan Cuadrado all got off the mark to lead Colombia to a vital 3-0 win over Poland, whose group-stage elimination was confirmed. 

Vela, Chicharito on target for Mexico, Kroos stunner rescues Germany

Carlos Vela and Javier 'Chicharito' Hernández opened their 2018 World Cup accounts on Saturday afternoon as Mexico claimed a 2-1 victory over South Korea - for whom Son Heung-min scored a fine late consolation - to make it six points from six in Russia, and take a giant step towards reaching the last 16. Later in the day, Germany and Sweden met in Group F's other fixture, in a game won by a stunning, 95th-minute free-kick by Toni Kroos that put the defending champions firmly back in the hunt for qualification for the knockout stages. Ola Toivonen had put the Swedes ahead to leave the defending champions facing an early exit from the tournament, before Marco Reus' equaliser was followed by Kroos' last-gasp winner.

Lukaku bags a brace as Belgium near last 16

Roberto Martínez's men practically ensured their place in the knock-out stages in Saturday's opening World Cup game, earning a 5-2 victory over Tunisia in the second round of Group G matches. Eden Hazard got the Red Devils rolling from the spot after six minutes and Romelu Lukaku added another before Dylan Bronn replied for Tunisia. The Manchester United forward hit the net again before the break and Hazard struck shortly after the restart to open up a 4-1 lead. Michy Batshuayi completed the rout in the 90th minute with Wahbi Khazri reducing the deficit in stoppage time. Lukaku's second brace of the tournament moved him level with Cristiano Ronaldo in the race for the Golden Boot

Mitrovic heads home but Xhaka and Shaqiri respond

Aleksander Mitrovic headed home a fine goal after just four minutes of the Group E match between Serbia and Switzerland to get himself off he mark in the tournament, but his effort would count for nothing by the end of the night, with Xhaka scoring a thunderous goal from outside the box to bring Serbia level after 51 minutes, and Shaqiri ensuring all three points for Switzerland with a neat finish after he'd been released in behind the Serbian defence. 

Musa brace has Super Eagles flying

After a disappointing first half, Nigeria came out in the second looking hungry. And they got their reward after just three minutes. No sooner had forward Ahmed Musa curled a beautiful effort off the bar than another opportunity presented itself. A cross from Moses was swung in from the right and Musa pulled it down well and drove his shot home. With confidence building, and just fifteen minutes remaining, Musa picked up the ball on the left, beat his chasing defender, side-stepped the keeper and then kept his head to slot home.

Coutinho and Neymar strike for Brazil

It was another tough day at the office for the Samba boys who were made to wait, until very late, to get the ball past Costa Rica's Keylor Navas. But as the clocked ticked into added on time, Philippe Coutinho arrived in the box to fire home. That was quickly followed by a controlled tap-in from headline-man Neymar Jr after good work from Douglas Costa.

Cristiano Ronaldo takes back top spot, Costa adds to tally

It took just four minutes for Portugal's number seven to move ahead of the goalscoring pack once again on Wednesday afternoon. A perfectly timed header from a Joao Moutinho cross - following a quick short corner - proved the only goal of the game in the Lions' second Group B match against Morocco. Later on, the group's other clash saw Spain's Diego Costa grab his third goal of the World Cup as La Roja edged past Iran in Kazan.

In between the day's two Group B games, Uruguay sealed their spot in the last 16 (and confirmed Russia's progess to the knockout stages, too) courtesy of Luis Suárez's first goal of the tournament, in a 1-0 victory over Saudi Arabia that brought the Barcelona striker's 100th international cap.

Denis Cheryshev grabs another

After the first round of fixtures at the World Cup, Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo was sitting pretty at the head of the Golden Boot ranking thanks to his hat-trick against Spain. However, Russia's 3-1 win over Egypt in the hosts' second Group A clash on Tuesday saw Denis Cheryshev add one more to his two-goal opening-day haul, and move alongside his former Real Madrid team-mate at the top of the scoring charts...for a few hours at least.

Niang makes sure for Senegal

Senegal star man M'Baye Niang scored a superb opportunistic goal, stealing a bad backwards pass off the feet of the Poland goalkeeper to make it 2-0 in the second game in Group H on Tuesday 19 June. A Thiago Cionek own goal had given Senegal the lead in the first half. Grzegorz Krychowiak scored a consolation goal for Poland in the 86th minute. 

Osako's header gives Japan all three points

The list of players on one goal increased by another three in Japan's 2-1 win over Colombia in the first game of Group H. Shinji Kagawa got an early goal from the penalty spot, after Carlos Sánchez was sent off for preventing a certain goal with his arm. Juan Quintero levelled for the Cafeteros, who took the game to Japan despite being a man down, but some poor defending and worse keeping from Ospina allowed Yuya Osako to nod home a corner and give Japan a famous win. 

Harry Kane gives England a winning start

Harry Kane was the hero for England in their 2-1 triumph over Tunisia in Volgograd, scoring both goals. The Spurs man was on target in the first half, reacting quickly to stab a rebound away after Hassen saved incredibly from Stones, only to see that effort cancelled out when Walker foolishly gave away a penalty, which was converted by Sassi. 

But it was Kane who appeared in time added on to give England the winner, neatly steering a header home at the back post to leave substitute keeper Farouk Ben Mustapha no chance and hand Southgate's side all three points. 

Lukaku on target against Panama

Belgian hit-man Romelu Lukaku grabbed two as Belgium beat Panama in the opening game of Group G. The Manchester Utd man nodded home a fine De Bruyne ball into the box to make it 2-0 after a superb Dries Mertens volley had put Belgium in front, and Lukaku got his second in the 75th when he was well released and chipped the ball over Penedo to make it 3-0.

Granqvist converts spot-on VAR spot-kick

In the first game of Monday's World Cup action, Granqvist's 64th penalty was the difference between Sweden and South Korea, with the defender slotting home from the spot after the VAR intervened to award the penalty after Kim Min-Woo fouled Viktor Claesson.

Zuber cancels out Coutinho stunner

Just 19 minutes into the game at the Rostov Arena and the Samba flow resulted in a goal for the Barça man. As the initial attack was cleared, Coutinho set himself and curled in a beauty with his right boot to give Brazil the lead. But despite Brazil never really looking in trouble, a corner swung in from the right was met in front of goal by the decisive head of Steven Zuber, who nudged Marinda in the back to gain an advantage.

Kolarov the difference for Serbia

Serbian left-back Aleksandar Kolarov scored a marvellous free-kick against Costa Rica to give his side a 1-0 win in the Group E match at the Samara Arena.

Meanwhile Hirving Lozano opened the scoring for Mexico in their game against current world champions Germany. The PSV striker took full advantage of a Mexico break in the 35th minute, taking the ball from Chicharito, cutting inside and beating Neuer at his near post.

Bad news for Pogba

Pogba had been given France’s second goal against Australia, but Fifa have now taken it away from him and awarded it as an own goal by Socceroos defender Aziz Behich. Which was the right decision, but not one enjoyed by Evra...

Messi misses and fails to get on the board

Leo Messi missed a penalty for Argentina in their 1-1 draw with Iceland and failed to find the back of the net, with teh Argentinean's goal coming from Kun Agüero, who scored a delightful goal, swivelling in the box and burying the ball. Finbogason grabbed Iceland's leveller just four minutes later, the former Real Sociedad man knocking it home from close range as the Argentinean defence disintegrated under the Icelandic pressure.

Yussuf Poulsen got his first goal of the World Cup against Peru, in Denmark's 1-0 win over the South Americans.

Modric converted Croatia's penalty to make it 2-0 against Nigeria, after Mandzukic was manhandled in the box as a corner came in.

Griezmann and Pogba score for France

Griezmann and Pogba got onto the scoring charts in the opening game of Group C, which saw France edge Australia 2-1, with veteran Jedinak getting the Aussie’s goal from the penalty spot. Griezmann’s goal came from the penalty spot, after he won a penalty that was originally not given, but then awarded by the VAR, the first video assisted penalty given at the World Cup. The Atleti man, who confirmed in a somewhat ludicrous video shown on TV this week in Spain that he’s staying in Madrid, fired the spot kick confidently home.

Pogba’s goal was also tech-assisted, with his strike hitting the cross-bar and coming down just on the right side of the line. (“Lampard's was further over” was overheard in the newsroom).

Cristiano Ronaldo opens with a hat-trick

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick in the Portugal - Spain match. The Real Madrid striker opened his account, slotting home a penalty he'd won (unfairly, according to our resident referee) in the fourth minute, and then made it 2-1 just before half-time when his shot from distance was fumbled by De Gea. He finally levelled for Portugal, making it 3-3, with a superb free-kick near the end of the match.

Diego Costa also bagged a brace, scoring a fine goal to bring Spain to 1-1 (though he fouled Pepe in the build-up, which wasn't given), and then making it 2-2, bundling home a Busquets knock down.

Nacho though scored the goal of the game, rifling home a superb hit from distance on the bounce, to make it 2-3 for Spain.

Gimenez bags Uruguay's first goal of World Cup 2018

Jose Gimenez, who just signed a new deal with Atlético Madrid, soared in the box to nod home Carlos Sánchez's cross and give Uruguay a 0-1 win over Egpyt. Edinson Cavani will be very, very frustrated not to have opened his account, as he hit the post with a free-kick and had a cracking volley saved by El Shenawy. The Egypt keeper also prevented Luis Suárez, with a brave dive at the striker's feet.

Meanwhile Iran beat Morocco 1-0 in the opening game of Group B, but the Golden Boot charts were unchanged, the goal coming courtesy of a header from Aziz Bouhaddouz into his own net.

Cheryshev finishes the opening day top of the chart

Yuri Gazinskiy goes down in the record books as the scorer of the opening goal at the World Cup 2018, nodding home after 12 minutes of the opening match between Russia and Saudi Arabia.But it was Cheryshev who raced to the top of the charts, with his brace. He grabbed Russia's second of the match with a lovely little flick over a defender and a blast into the top corner. And he then followed it up with an outrageous 90th minute outside-of-the-foot effort from distance, which made it 4-0 at the time.

Artem Dzyuba grabbed his goal with a neat header in the 71st minute, straight after coming on. And Aleksandr Golovin finished off the rout for Russia, blasting home a free-kick deep into time added on

Golden Boot Russia 2018

The race for this World Cup's Golden Boot is expected to be a close one, with the likes of Leo Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, Robert Lewandowski, Luis Suárez, Edinson Cavani, Mo Salah, Harry Kane, Antoine Griezmann, Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner all in fine scoring form.

The contenders

The bookies’ favourite for the Golden Boot is Neymar, with Brazil expected to go deep into the tournament but more so than other teams in Russia the goal-scoring burden is shared out among the Canarinha, with Gabriel Jesús, Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho all aware of the onion bag’s whereabouts. That is not the case with Salah, who is an outsider but worth a look – if passed fit for The Pharaoh’s opener - due to the dearth of quality in Group A: David Villa top-scored at Euro 2008 on the back of a hat-trick in Spain’s first game, against Russia.

Messi, Griezmann and Werner make up the top four with the bookmakers and the Germany striker is a decent shout after a solid Bundesliga season given that Germany are not likely to exit the tournament early.

Suárez and Cavani are prospective winners for the same reason as Salah and Uruguay have assumed their traditional place in the starting blocks as one of the tournament’s dark horse.

Cristiano Ronaldo, meanwhile, has participated in three World Cups but has only managed a single goal in each.

AS English predictions

Neymar is a solid bet, having scored 55 in 85 games for Brazil, while a couple of Messi moments make the Argentinean hard to rule out – although the Albiceleste are in the Group of Death. Griezmann top-scored at Euro 2016 with three more than any other player and France have the ability to reach the final again in Russia but Les Bleus’ squad depth means that unlike other strikers, the Atlético forward may find his number coming up fairly often as Didier Deschamps shuffles his enviable array of attacking options.

However, we fancy Werner to take the prize as Germany will at least make the semi-finals and could hand South Korea or Mexico’s leaky defences a hefty drubbing.

Previous Golden Boot winners

1930: Guillermo Stábile (Argentina), 8

1934: Oldrich Nejedly (Czechoslovakia), 5

1938: Leônidas (Brazil), 7

1950: Ademir (Brazil), 8

1954: Sandor Kocsis (Hungary), 11

1958: Just Fontaine (France), 13

1962: Garrincha (Brazil), Vavá (Brazil), Leonel Sánchez (Chile), Flórián Albert (Hungary), Valentin Ivanov (Soviet Union), Drazan Jerkovic (Yugoslavia), 4

1966: Eusébio (Portugal), 9

1970: Gerd Müller (West Germany), 10

1974: Grzegorz Lato (Poland), 7

1978: Mario Kempes (Argentina), 6

1982: Paolo Rossi (Italy), 6

1986: Gary Lineker (England), 6

1990: Salvatore Schillaci (Italy), 6

1994: Hristo Stoichkov (Bulgaria), Oleg Salenko (Russia), 6

1998: Davor Suker (Croatia), 6

2002: Ronaldo (Brazil), 8

2006: Miroslav Klose (Germany), 5

2010: Thomas Müller (Germany), David Villa (Spain), Wesley Sneijder (Netherlands), Diego Forlán (Uruguay), 5

2014: James Rodríguez (Colombia), 6

Notable records

Just Fontaine’s record of 13 goals at a single World Cup will take some beating, while only four players have won the Golden Boot and the Golden Ball at the same tournament: Kempes, Rossi, Schillaci and Forlán.


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