Tuesday, 5 June 2012
Golden Boot Contenders
So many of the world's greatest strikers will be on display, but who will be the one to claim the glory and bragging rights of being the highest scorer at the Euros? A review of www.paddypower.com shows no surprises with the usual contenders at the top of the list. Mario Gomez and Robin Van Persie lead the way at 8/1 and 9/1 respectively, closely followed by Christiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema at 14/1.
However I usually prefer to take a punt on those strikers where you get a bit of value. You don't have to look too far for this with Miroslav Klose at 16/1. Although Klose missed the last 5 weeks of the season with a thigh injury he is now fully fit and ready to play in his 6th consecutive international tournament. He is also only 5 goals short of Gerd Muller's record of 68 international goals for Germany (he already shares with Muller the privilege of being the second highest World Cup scorer of all time on 14 goals). Klose is never talked about as one of the greatest strikers of the past 20 years but there are few better in tournament football. This could be his chance to break yet another record in what has been the most hyped up German team for years.
Further out in the odds is the man the Dutch like to call "The Hunter". The rest of us just call him Klaas Jan Huntelaar and he is priced 18/1. Huntelaar was top scorer throughout the qualifying campaign by a a country mile with 12 goals. He's on fire at the minute having finished as top scorer in the Bundesliga with 29 goals from 34 games, an incredible return. If Holland can get through the group of death, Huntelaar will surely be there or thereabouts at the end.
Others who should be given serious consideration are Fernando Llorente of Spain at 16/1. Llorente is likely to start given Fernando Torres' patchy form and racked up 17 league goals for Athletic Bilbao last season. Or what about Robert Lewandowski of Poland at 22/1? He scored 22 league goals for Borussia Dortmund last season you know, and the home crowd could easily help Poland get through their group. Mario Balotelli for Italy at 25/1 is a great price if he can get his head right. The problem is that he could easily score a hat-trick against Spain and then headbutt the ref against Croatia. Then again, in Euro 2008 it only took David Villa 4 goals to be crowned top scorer.
Further out there are a few worth mentioning, namely Wayne Rooney at 40/1 (Andy Carroll is the same price by the way!). This could be a great year for England as long as they don't get any more injuries. Detailed preparation isn't always a prerequisite for tournament success, just look at what Denmark did in 1992. Zlatan at 50/1 isn't bad either but I think he may end up flicking his fringe for most of the tournament, disappointed with the mere mortals who by a strange twist of fate happen to be his team mates.