Messi vs Mbappe vs Giroud: Who will have bragging rights in Golden Boot race at FIFA World Cup 2022 semi-finals?
No player has ever won the Golden Boot twice in the history of the FIFA World Cup. Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Olivier Giroud are involved in a three-horse race for the prestigious Golden Boot award at the FIFA World Cup 2022.
France's blue-eyed boy Kylian Mbappe was forced to take the back seat in the quarter-finals as veteran forward Olivier Giroud netted the winning goal which dumped Harry Kane's England out of the FIFA World Cup 2022. Mbappe, who has already made his presence felt at the grandest stage multiple times, will be raring to go in the semi-finals where defending champions are tasked to avoid another massive upset at the hands of giant killers Morocco.
Before France's quarter-final meeting with Harry Kane-led England, Paris Saint Germain (PSG) superstar Mbappe stamped his authority against Poland by scoring his fifth goal of the Qatar World Cup. Mbappe's second goal against Robert Lewandowski's Poland was also the 250th strike of his professional career. Mbappe has netted 250 goals in 360 games. The former AS Monaco star achieved the special feat in 150 games less than goal machine Cristiano Ronaldo (510).
Who is leading Golden Boot race in Qatar?
Interestingly, Mbappe is also ahead of Argentina captain Lionel Messi as his PSG teammate completed 250 goals in 379 games. France's Mbappe is the current leading goalscorer at the Qatar World Cup. With five goals to his name, French forward Mbappe retained the top spot despite not finding the back of the net in the quarter-finals against England. Mbappe-starrer France will cross swords with Morocco in the second semi-final of the FIFA World Cup 2022 at the Education City Stadium on Thursday.
Can Mbappe emulate Fontaine's feat?
Legendary forward Just Fontaine was the first player from France to win the Golden Boot at the FIFA World Cup. Fontaine smashed 13 goals in the 1958 edition of the FIFA World Cup hosted by Sweden. Fontaine is the first and the only French player to win the special trophy at the FIFA World Cup. No player has ever won the Golden Boot twice in the history of the FIFA World Cup. No player has scored more goals than France's Fontaine in a single edition of the FIFA World Cup.
Giroud and Messi chasing Mbappe in semis
Mbappe's teammate Giroud climbed to the second spot by scoring his fourth goal of the Qatar World Cup against England. Earlier, the AC Milan forward became France's all-time leading goalscorer in the international arena at the Qatar World Cup. Often regarded as one of the most underrated strikers of his generation, Giroud has scored 53 goals for Les Bleus in his impressive international career. The 36-year-old has 15 headed goals for France, nine more than any other French player in the 21st century.
Argentina captain Messi is on level terms with French forward Giroud as the former FC Barcelona captain has scored four goals for La Albiceleste in the 2022 edition of the celebrated tournament. After guiding the two-time champions to the semi-finals of the Qatar event, Messi will rewrite history if the Argentina captain ends up scoring for the two-time champions against Croatia.
Outside chance for Kramaric and Alvarez
Messi-led Argentina will meet Luka Modric's Croatia in an epic semi-final showdown between the last two runners-up at the FIFA World Cup. Andrej Kramaric of Croatia and Argentina's Julian Alvarez have an outside chance of re-entering the Golden Boot race on Wednesday at the Lusail Stadium. Alvarez and Kramaric both have a brace of goals at the Qatar World Cup. Modric's Croatia famously hammered Argentina 3-0 at the FIFA World Cup back in 2018.