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EURO 2016: RATING THE GOAL SCORERS

There are some seriously talented goalscorers vying for the Euro 2016 Golden Boot, so we thought we’d run our eye over this year’s crop to see if we can spot the likely goal machines.

The first thing to note is the inclusion of eight extra teams in this year’s tournament, rising from 16 to 24. This means there’ll be some comparatively weaker sides in the tournament and a round of sixteen for the first time ever. And you know what that means… more goals!

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At Euro 2012, Fernando Torres topped the charts with three goals (he won the award despite six other players also scoring three, by virtue of recording one assist and scoring all of his goals in just 189 minutes). At Euro 2008,  David Villa (also Spanish) took the Golden Boot out with four goals. So, as you can see it’s quite easy, just back the Spaniard! In reality what this suggests is that the more games a nation plays in the tournament, the more chances they have of scoring goals. You could do a lot worse than picking the Golden Boot winner from the team you think will win the tournament.

The other thing to look out for is the team’s mentality. Are they good going forward? Do they try and attack? Or, do they sit back, keep their shape and try and pinch one on the counter? Euro 2004 was taken out by Greece who won it largely due to an artful display of defensive discipline. Their top scorer, Angelos Charisteas, finished the tournament with three goals to his name, two behind Golden Boot winner Milan Barros.

So, which nations scored the most goals during Euro 2016 qualifying, satisfying the mentality criteria? Poland lead the way with 33 goals, an impressive tally considering they finished second behind Germany in their group. England were next with 31, while Belgium, Germany and Switzerland all scored 24. Reigning Champions Spain managed 23.

Of the teams mentioned above, Germany ($5.00), Spain ($6.50), England ($9.00) and Belgium ($12) all have odds that suggest they can win it. You can throw France ($4.33) in too as hosts and tournament favourites. That means there’s a big chance our Golden Boot winner will come from here. Let’s have a look at each side’s biggest goal threat.
 
Antoine Griezmann
Top Goalscorere odds – ($10)
Playing up front for the host nation and current title favourites will surely give him a great chance of being the top goal scorer, however, will he get the nod to play ahead of Giroud? It’s a close call. Will be looking to make amends after missing out on Champions League glory with Atletico Madrid (where he missed a penalty in the 2nd half). Has scored 7 goals in 26 appearances for his country.
Verdict: Seems to get pushed to the wing for France. A big chance if that changes.
 
Thomas Muller
Top Goalscorer odds – ($9.00)
The German scored 31 goals in 70 appearances for his country including nine in qualifying. The Bayern Munich player will be looking for more goals in the Euros. He has 10 goals at World Cups and was the Golden Boot winner in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Verdict: Massive chance.
 
Alvaro Morata
Top Goalscorer odds – ($17)
Could Morata be the third Spaniard in a row to take out the Golden Boot? He’s had a solid season for Juventus where he netted 12 goals in all competitions – but that doesn’t look like it’ll be enough in this company.
Verdict: Stick a fork in him.
 
Harry Kane
Top Goalscorer odds – ($15)
The EPL top scorer this season with 25 goals for Spurs, he’ll be looking to get a few on the board in a relatively easy group. Has scored five goals in 11 appearances for England, including in the recent friendly vs Turkey.
Verdict: Full of confidence, with a young English team in good attacking form. Only doubt is England’s ability to capitulate in tournaments.
 
Romelu Lukaku
Top Goalscorer odds – ($17)
The Belgian was in super form for Everton early in the season, though tapered off somewhat late on. Belgium are strong all over the park and should go far in the tournament, but Lukaku has only scored for them twice since the World Cup in Brazil.
Verdict: Solid Nope. Better off looking at Hazard ($34) who topped scored in qualifying or De Bruyne ($41) for some value.
 
 BEST OF THE REST
Cristiano Ronaldo
Top Goalscorer odds – ($7.50)
A worthy favourite, Ronaldo has scored 56 goals in 125 matches for his country. Despite only playing in six of his Portugal’s qualifying matches, he still scored five goals as Portugal qualified with ease, winning seven of their eight qualifying matches. Fresh from scoring the winning penalty in the Champions League final shootout for real Madrid (he also topped the Champions League goal scoring charts), he’ll be looking to replicate his domestic success with his country
Verdict: If Portugal go deep, it’s Ronaldo’s to lose. Problem is it’s hard to see them getting through the round of 16. Avoid
 
Robert Lewandowski
Top Goalscorer odds – ($17) 
Was the top goal scorer in qualifying with 13 goals in 10 matches, although six were against Gibraltar. The Bayern Munich striker has scored 34 goals in 75 appearances for Poland, who also scored the most of any nation in qualifying with 33 in total.
Verdict: Poland could well make the quarters. Is that enough games? He’ll be there or there abouts.

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