Power Ranking James Rodriguez and Past World Cup Golden Boot Winners

Karl MatchettFeatured ColumnistJuly 16, 2014

Power Ranking James Rodriguez and Past World Cup Golden Boot Winners

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    Natacha Pisarenko/Associated Press

    James Rodriguez sealed the Golden Boot—or the adidas Golden Shoe, if you prefer—at the 2014 FIFA World Cup with a haul of six goals for Colombia, as his team exited at the quarter-final stage.

    The attacking midfielder becomes the seventh man in the last 10 World Cups to win the Golden Boot with that particular tally and is the first-ever Colombian to win the award.

    Here's how James' six stack up against previous winners of the Golden Boot. Winners are ranked according to their games:goals ratio, the quality of team they played in (relative to the era and their opponents) and, of course, the actual figure of goals scored by each player in question.

20. Six Players Jointly, 1962

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    Associated Press

    Players: Florian Albert, Valentin Ivanov, Drazan Jerkovic, Leonel Sanchez, Garrincha and Vava

    Goals: Four each

    Nation: Hungary (quarterfinals), Soviet Union (quarterfinals), Yugoslavia (fourth place), Chile (third place) and (latter two both) Brazil (winners)

     

    The 1962 World Cup was the only one to date where the top scorer netted less than five goals, and the only one where more than two players have shared the award.

    Brazilian forward Vava joined the group with a goal in the final over Czechoslovakia, while team-mate Garrincha hit all four of his between the quarters and semis.

19. Thomas Mueller, 2010

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    Matthias Schrader/Associated Press

    Player: Thomas Mueller

    Goals: Five

    Nation: Germany, third place

     

    Thomas Mueller shared the top scorer tally of five goals with David Villa, Wesley Sneijder and Diego Forlan, but was awarded the Golden Boot individually as a result of claiming more assists than his rivals.

    He helped Germany reach the semifinals with three goals during the knockouts and another in the third-place playoff. Now aged only 24, he has 10 World Cup goals to his name and must be a candidate to break the current record of 16.

18. Miroslav Klose, 2006

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    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    Player: Miroslav Klose

    Goals: Five

    Nation: Germany, third place

     

    Klose is now the World Cup record scorer of all time after hitting two more in the 2014 finals, but his five in 2006 were enough to claim him the Golden Boot.

    Added to the five he netted in the previous tournament, Klose here proved himself one of the most reliable goalscorers in the international game. He scored a late goal in the quarterfinals to keep Germany in the tournament, after earlier plundering several goals in the group stage.

17. Mario Kempes, 1978

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    Player: Mario Kempes

    Goals: Six

    Nation: Argentina, winners

     

    Mario Kempes was Argentina's big hero as he won both the best player and the top scorer award on home soil, helping his nation lift their first-ever World Cup title.

    Though Kempes didn't score in the first group phase, he scored twice each against Poland and Peru in the next phase, before another brace in the final won the trophy and all his individual awards.

16. Paolo Rossi, 1982

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    Player: Paolo Rossi

    Goals: Six

    Nation: Italy, winners

     

    Striker Paolo Rossi made a big comeback in time for the 1982 World Cup and proceeded to fire his nation to the title in Spain.

    He didn't score a single goal in Italy's opening four games, before plundering a hat-trick against Brazil to help the team finish top of the second group phase. Two more goals in the semifinal and one in the final itself against West Germany completed his haul.

15. Davor Suker, 1998

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    RICK BOWMER/Associated Press

    Player: Davor Suker

    Goals: Six

    Nation: Croatia, third place

     

    Croatia's legendary forward Davor Suker was always a terrific provider of goals and he proved that on the world stage in '98.

    His penalty sent Croatia through the second round, he scored against Germany in the quarters and France in the semis—though the latter wasn't enough to see off the hosts. Suker then scored the winner in the third-place playoff to take the award himself ahead of the likes of Gabriel Batistuta.

14. James Rodriguez, 2014

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    Julian Finney/Getty Images

    Player: James Rodriguez

    Goals: Six

    Nation: Colombia, quarter-finals

     

    James Rodriguez came into the most recent World Cup as a name, sure, but perhaps not a face for everybody, having been in Portugal and France over the past couple of seasons. He soon changed that with six goals in five games as Colombia made history by reaching the last eight.

    A last-minute goal in the opening group game was added to by strikes against Ivory Coast and Japan, before two stunning, but very different, goals in the round of 16 against Uruguay. Rodriguez then netted a consolation in a 2-1 defeat to Brazil in the quarter-finals.

13. Oleg Salenko and Hristo Stoichkov, 1994

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    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    Player: Oleg Salenko and Hristo Stoichkov

    Goals: Six each

    Nation: Russia (group stage) and Bulgaria (fourth place)

     

    USA '94 was the last tournament which saw a shared finish in the Golden Boot race.

    Oleg Salenko netted six goals in just two-and-a-half group stage games for Russia, appearing as a non-scoring sub against Brazil, then scoring a penalty in a defeat to Sweden and finally hitting five against Cameroon—before never playing another international match again afterward.

    The legendary Hristo Stoichkov, meanwhile, scored in each knock-out stage match to help his side into the semifinals, where they lost to Roberto Baggio's Italy.

12. Salvatore Schillaci, 1990

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    Billy Stickland/Getty Images

    Player: Salvatore Schillaci

    Goals: Six

    Nation: Italy, third place

     

    Toto Schillaci wasn't even a starter for Italy going into the tournament, but impressive performances off the bench soon earned him a place in the XI.

    His crazy goal celebrations and the gratitude of the nation spurred him on, and he scored in each knock-out round, helping Italy continue their dream of winning on home soil. They lost on penalties in the semifinals though—and Schillaci wasn't chosen to take one.

11. Gary Lineker, 1986

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    David Cannon/Getty Images

    Player: Gary Lineker

    Goals: Six

    Nation: England, quarterfinals

     

    Gary Lineker drew a blank in England's first two games at Mexico '86, but struck a hat-trick in the final group game to send his side through to the knockouts.

    Two in the round of 16 and one in the quarterfinals soon trebled his tally, but England were eliminated at the last-eight stage by a Maradona-inspired Argentina in the Azteca Stadium.

10. Oldrich Nejedly, 1934

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    Associated Press

    Player: Oldrich Nejedly

    Goals: Five

    Nation: Czechoslovakia

     

    Oldrich Nejedly's tally of five would be the lowest to win a World Cup Golden Boot for almost 30 years, but he achieved his total in just four matches in the short, knockout-phase only, 1934 World Cup.

    He scored the winner for Czechoslovakia in the round of 16 against Romania, then did the same against Switzerland in the quarterfinals. A hat-trick over Germany in the semifinals completed his scoring, as he failed to find the net in the final itself, where his side lost to Italy.

9. Ademir, 1950

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    Associated Press

    Player: Ademir

    Goals: Eight

    Nation: Brazil, runners-up

     

    The 1950 World Cup is most famous for the Maracanazo of course, but Ademir hit eight goals in only six matches at the tournament.

    He hit three in the first group phase, then four in one match against Sweden in the final group and another against Spain. He didn't find the net against Uruguay in the telling final match—which saw his nation finish second on their own turf.

8. Eusebio, 1966

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    Associated Press

    Player: Eusebio

    Goals: Nine

    Nation: Portugal, third place

     

    The great Eusebio was at his peak for the 1966 World Cup and hit nine goals for Portugal as they went as close to winning the tournament as they ever have.

    Three group stage goals were followed up with four more in the famous comeback win over North Korea in the quarterfinals. Penalties in the semifinal defeat and the third-place playoff completed his scoring.

7. Grzegorz Lato, 1974

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    Associated Press

    Player: Grzegorz Lato

    Goals: Seven

    Nation: Poland, third place

     

    Grzegorz Lato hit four goals in the group stage to help his side finish top and progress to the knockouts, with Poland going on to record their best ever position of third at the World Cup.

    From the second group phase to the third place game, he only failed to find the net against West Germany, who of course went on to win the competition. His seven strikes kept him two clear of his nearest rivals, including teammate Andrzej Szarmach.

6. Leonidas, 1938

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    Anonymous/Associated Press

    Player: Leonidas

    Goals: Seven

    Nation: Brazil, third place

     

    Brazil's Leonidas made a great start to the four-round 1938 World Cup with a hat-trick in the first round match against Poland, a true classic of the tournament which ended 6-5 after extra time.

    He then netted one in the quarterfinal draw against Czechoslovakia, followed by another in the replay. Brazil were defeated in the semis, where Leonidas failed to score, but he found another two goals in the play-off match to seal third place ahead of Sweden.

5. Guillermo Stabile, 1930

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    Anonymous/Associated Press

    Player: Guillermo Stabile

    Goals: Nine

    Nation: Argentina, runners-up

     

    The very first Golden Boot winner at the World Cup finals was Argentine Guillermo Stabile, who struck an impressive nine goals in just five matches.

    A hat-trick in the group stage against Mexico was a highlight, while Stabile also netted twice in a rampant semifinal win over USA. He even scored in the final itself to put Argentina 2-1 ahead before half-time—but they couldn't hold onto that lead, eventually succumbing to a 4-2 defeat to Uruguay.

4. Sandor Kocsis, 1954

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    Associated Press

    Player: Sandor Kocsis

    Goals: 11

    Nation: Hungary, runners-up

     

    The great Sandor Kocsis came close to firing Hungary to their first-ever World Cup title, falling just short as he didn't score in the final and saw his side surrender a two-goal lead to West Germany.

    A hat-trick against South Korea and four against West Germany in the group stage gave him an early lead for the award, with even those seven goals eventually proving enough to beat any other challenger. Two more braces against South American opposition, Hungary and Uruguay, significantly boosted that tally though.

3. Gerd Mueller, 1970

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    Helmuth Lohmann/Associated Press

    Player: Gerd Mueller

    Goals: 10

    Nation: West Germany, third place

     

    Gerd Mueller remains one of only three men to make double figures in a single World Cup finals, after he netted 10 in Mexico 1970.

    Undoubted highlights for the forward included an extra time winner over England in the quarterfinals and a brace against Italy in the semis—only for the latter to be trumped by a fourth Italian goal which knocked out Mueller's side. Mueller scored consecutive hat-tricks in the group stage against Bulgaria and Peru.

2. Ronaldo, 2002

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    Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images

    Player: Ronaldo

    Goals: Eight

    Nation: Brazil, winners

     

    The only man to breach the six-goal barrier at the World Cup in modern times—in almost the last half century, in fact—is the great figure of Ronaldo.

    The Brazilian striker, until recently the leading all-time scorer at the finals, hit eight in Japan/Korea 2002 to lead his side to glory, including both goals in the 2-0 win over Germany in the final.

    Four goals in three group games gave him a good start, with the No. 9 also finding the net in the round of 16 and the winner in the semi-final.

1. Just Fontaine, 1958

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    Uncredited/Associated Press

    Player: Just Fontaine

    Goals: 13

    Nation: France, third place

     

    The outright winner, of course, has to be French forward Just Fontaine; the record scorer at a single tournament and the top scorer by more than double his nearest challengers—which included a certain Pele as he starred in Brazil's first World Cup win.

    Fontaine scored six in three group games, including a hat-trick against Paraguay, and continued his record of scoring in every single match at the finals by notching in the quarters and semis—and four in the third-place playoff win over West Germany.