The Euro 2020 group stage is over, and some of the continent’s in-form strikers have taken their club form into the tournament.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Romelu Lukaku, and Ciro Immobile were among the top scorers in Serie A, and all three have made blistering starts to the tournament.

Harry Kane, who was the favorite to win the Golden Boot with some bookies, Betway inclusive before the tournament kicked off, wrapped up the top scorer award for the Premier League, with Bruno Fernandes finishing in third. However, both players are yet to hit the ground running after the group stages. Harry Kane has just one shot on target in 180 mins.

But, who will take the Golden Boot for the Euros come next month?

The Euro 2020 group stage is over, and some of the continent’s in-form strikers have taken their club form into the tournament.

The top goal scorers as it stands

RONALDO (PORTUGAL) 5 GOALS

LUKAKU 3(BELGIUM), SCHICK 3(CZECH REPUBLIC), IMMOBILE 3(ITALY),

FORSBERG 3(SWEDEN), WIJNALDUM 3(NETHERLANDS)

Ronaldo has consistently scored goals everywhere and anywhere, and it’s no surprise he is leading the way for the much-coveted No 9 award in the ongoing Euros. He has equaled the most international goals in European competitions, and he is just three goals shy of breaking Ali Daei’s record of 109 international goals. The extent to which he wants to achieve that is evident, and he looks sharper and determined to do that before the end of the Euros. Being on penalty duties has indeed helped his course scoring three penalties so far in the tournament.

Kane topped the scoring charts in qualifying with 12 goals from his 22 shots, boasting an impressive 55% goal conversion rate. Cristiano Ronaldo (11 goals), Teemu Pukki (10), Artem Dzyuba (nine), Raheem Sterling, Georginio Wijnaldum, and Serge Gnabry (all eight) were also among those to qualify for the finals with an impressive scoring rate.

Naturally, the further a team progresses in the tournament, the greater the chance their goal scorers have of clinching the Golden Boot. That puts the likes of Lukaku right among the favorites, with Belgium expected to make a deep run at a tournament, which is scheduled to conclude in London.

The European Championships were expanded to accommodate 24 teams in 2016, and UEFA is sticking with that format this time around. That means there will again be a knockout fixture before the quarter-finals, and the finalists will have to play seven matches in total. That is one more than in 2012 when a meager tally of three goals was enough to clinch the Golden Boot for Fernando Torres.

Yes, the last three Golden Boot winners made it to the final, but every side will play at least three matches in the group stages. Savo Milosevic, who shared the Golden Boot with Patrick Kluivert in 2000, only reached the quarter-finals with Yugoslavia that year, scoring four of his five goals before the knockout stages began.

The 2014 World cup is a testament as well, with James Rodriguez bowing out in the quarter-finals, but his six goals were enough to secure the golden boot award.

WHO WILL GO FURTHEST??

England was in uncharted territory heading into the tournament as joint-favorites to win the trophy. Gareth Southgate led the Three Lions to the World Cup semi-final three summers ago, and some of his raw youngsters from that run have since flourished with another two years of development now behind them. But, the initial excitement has just tempered slightly following two poor showings at Wembley. Harry Kane couldn’t provide a shot on target until their 3rd game, and they have scored just two goals against inferior teams with all due respect. This is football, though, and anything can happen, but I believe Harry is no more in the mix for the golden boot award.

Meanwhile, world champions France is perhaps being underestimated. Didier Deschamps still has bucket loads of talent at his disposal, but the fact they will not have home advantage at any point this summer could count against them.

The Netherlands are also fancied to put together a decent charge for silverware, with a crop of impressive stars behind their resurgence under Ronald Koeman and, more recently, Frank de Boer. The protracted wait for Euro 2020 could have worked in their favor, with an extra 12 months to continue building their momentum. And they’ve started with three wins on the bounce, ending Group C perfect.

Elsewhere, Belgium coach Roberto Martinez arguably has the best squad depth, and their ‘Golden Generation’ will be expected to challenge for the Euro 2020 crown after their run to the World Cup semi-final in 2018. Italy is also in impressive form under Roberto Mancini and has made a flawless start to Euro 2020.

In conclusion, Lukaku and Ronaldo seem overwhelmed favorites because the most predicted winner in Harry Kane is yet to register a goal yet and others like Patrick Schick, Ciro Immobile, and others who have three goals doesn’t seem to have the full capacity to challenge Belgium or France and France, on the other hand, does not have anyone close to 3 goals yet. Interestingly, both Lukaku and Ronaldo have been paired against each other in the knockout stages. Neither of the two is sure to exit the tournament as early as the Round of 16. Ronaldo’s tally of 5 could see him scoop this award even if he exits at this stage, but it does give the likes of Lukaku, Immobile, Wijnaldum, who have a much relatively good fixture, to go all the way. Ronaldo’s progress would put him in pole position as you wouldn’t bet against Ronaldo to score a couple more before exiting the tourney or retaining the trophy, maybe. The Sunday crunch fixture is going to have a tell in the race for the golden boot. However, it is to be noted that the run into the final for whoever progresses doesn’t get any easier as they are likely to face Italy, England or France, and Germany again.

In conclusion, my bet is on Ronaldo to clinch this ahead of Lukaku, irrespective of whatever happens in their match with Belgium. Lukaku looks good, though, especially when you have a playmaker of Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard; chances will come his way, and trust him to finish them off. I don’t think he will outscore Ronaldo if even he exits early because of some stern defenses he will come against progressing to the finals

Recent Golden Boot winners

Euro 1996: Alan Shearer (5 goals)

Euro 2000: Patrick Kluivert, Savo Milosevic (5 goals)

Euro 2004: Milan Baros (5 goals)

Euro 2008: David Villa (4 goals)

Euro 2012: Fernando Torres (3 goals)

Euro 2016: Antoine Griezmann (6 goals)

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