Although football is a team game, fans at both club and country level expect their number one goal threat to be the difference in any fixture, and in this year's World Cup, the stars on show are arguably the best there's ever been. Argentina's Lionel Messi, with potentially his last appearance at the World Cup, will be desperate to stamp his authority on the tournament after failing to impress on the biggest stage previously.
Messi has a team around him that is full of superstars, that will ensure the two-time winners will go deep into the tournament, and the Barcelona ace could get the opportunity to fulfil one of his last few remaining aims. Messi is the favourite to grab the top scorer award and looks a good bet at 11/1 with Betfair, if he has a good summer, so will his national side, for Argentina to win the tournament, and Messi to be top scorer is 33/1 with Betfred.
His nemesis Cristiano Ronaldo will be anxious to produce his best, at 33, this is undoubtedly his best and last chance of winning the World Cup. With his side, now filled with top flight stars who play at some of the biggest clubs in Europe, including Bernando Silva at Manchester City, the pressure on the former Manchester United hitman is sure to be lessened.
The over reliance on Ronaldo at previous tournaments has been Portugal's downfall at the World Cup during his remarkable career. The stunning capture of the Euro 2016 crown, will leave the squad determined to carry on their good work, and with Ronaldo up front, anything can happen. Although many will see the side as clear outsiders, their Euro success proves they have the ability to mix it with the best of them and should not be discounted too quickly. Ronaldo is 16/1 to be top scorer, and if he has a blistering tournament, his side cannot be written off. For Ronaldo to be top scorer, and Portugal to win the tournament is 100/1 with Unibet.
It may however, be time for new superstars to write their names into footballing history, and with Antoine Griezmann, France look set to unleash one of the most exciting talents in Europe. Quick, athletic, with a predatory style of play, the Atletico Madrid star, who is rumoured to be signing for city rivals Real Madrid this summer, will be keen to help his side avenge the heartache of losing the final at their home stadium during Euro 2016 to Portugal.
With a side that is jam packed with world stars, Griezmann will be the ideal man to help the side achieve their goal of winning the World Cup for only the second time in their history. With the ability to play as a front man, and as a winger, he will get the opportunity to grab vital goals for his side. Antoine Griezmann to finish the tournament as top scorer is 12/1 with Coral. For Griezmann to win the golden boot, and France to win the tournament is 40/1 with Coral.
Brazil are looking like a side that has recovered from the humiliation of the 7-1 drubbing at the semi-final stage, against Germany during their home tournament four years ago. With the likes of Phillipe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino in the squad, the five times winners are many people's shout for the tournament. With Neymar however, they have a superstar who is anxious to put behind him his outlandish fee which took him to PSG, and could outshine them both if things go right for the former Barcelona hitman. Concerns regarding their defensive line may put wary punters off, but if the old adage of 'we will score more than you' fits your betting style, this team are clearly the side to go for. Neymar at 12/1 with Paddypower looks a good bet for the award, and for him to win the golden boot and Brazil to win the tournament is 25/1 with William Hill.
Current holders Germany always compete well at tournaments, and they never fail to ensure that they bring their A game to the party. With a squad so blessed that it cannot find room for Manchester City Superstar Leroy Sane, their teamwork and defensive solidarity always helps the side have a good tournament and I expect nothing else in Russia. With Thomas Muller, their usual go to man playing a deeper role recently, it could be left to new boy Timo Werner.
The 22-year-old, who plays for RB Leipzig has been in sensational form for club and country this season, and a strong German side, who could go far into the competition could allow the youngster to force major clubs around Europe to snap him up. For Timo Werner to grab the golden boot is 16/1 with Betfair, and for him to grab the award and Germany to win the World Cup is 40/1 with Coral, and looks very good value for money.
Another sensational season for Harry Kane has left him and his England squad confident of a good showing at this year's World Cup, although many doubters believe England simply do not have the quality within the squad to make any impact. Yet the Spurs frontman is regarded as one of the game's deadliest finishers. With Tunisia and Panama in their group games, there could be opportunity to grab a few goals early on, and if the side can grow in confidence, Kane will be vital to the side's chances of making the tournament a successful one.
With the squad young and unscarred by previous battles, the national side could progress well within the tournament if they can hold their nerve. For Harry Kane to finish the competition as top scorer is 16/1 with Unibet, and for him to finish as leading scorer and England to win is 323/1 with Coral, outlandish, but if feeling patriotic, may not be a bad bet.
Other worthwhile bets include Luis Suarez, his Uruguay side are seen as underdogs for the tournament, and the former Liverpool man always gives it his all, controlling his temper maybe key to getting the best out of him, and looks a tasty bet at 25/1 with Unibet.
Romelu Lukaku could put a frustrating season at Manchester United behind him as he looks to impress with a Belgium squad packed with world class stars. With the side often surrounded by controversy, the distraction may cause the talented side to take their eyes of the ball. The former West Brom and Everton target man has looked good for his side in the warm up games and is a 18/1 with William Hill to grab the prestigious top goal scorer award.
Howtobetforfree's best bet is Neymar to be top scorer, with Germany retaining the trophy is 71/1 with Paddypower.