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World Cup 2018 Golden Boot Standings: Top Goalscorers Headed into Week 2

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistJune 18, 2018

TOPSHOT - Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo attends a training session at the team's base in Kratovo, outside Moscow, on June 17, 2018, during the Russia 2018 World Cup football tournament. (Photo by Francisco LEONG / AFP)        (Photo credit should read FRANCISCO LEONG/AFP/Getty Images)
FRANCISCO LEONG/Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo leads the way in the race for the Golden Boot at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia after his hat-trick in Portugal's Group B opener against Spain.

Diego Costa also scored twice for La Roja in the 3-3 draw against Ronaldo and Co. Costa and Russia's attacking midfielder Denis Cheryshev are the closest to keeping pace with Ronaldo, per WhoScored.com:

     

1. Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal: 3

2. Denis Cheryshev, Russia: 2

3. Diego Costa, Spain: 2

4. Artem Dzyuba, Russia: 1

5. Yury Gazinsky, Russia: 1

6. Aleksandr Golovin, Russia: 1

7. Mile Jedinak, Australia: 1

8. Luka Modric, Croatia: 1

9. Nacho, Spain: 1

10. Antoine Griezmann, France: 1

      

Ronaldo Primed for Golden Boot

He's only played one game, but Ronaldo has already laid down a marker in the race to become the tournament's top scorer. His hat-trick on Friday showed he's primed to finally dominate a World Cup.

Ronaldo struck a penalty, a long-range shot and a free-kick past David De Gea, who is arguably the best goalkeeper in the game. The goals were enough to earn UEFA Euro 2016's winners a point and also help Ronaldo overshadow his great rival Argentina's Lionel Messi, who saw a penalty saved against Iceland on Saturday.

Messi's off day wasn't for the want of trying, but Ronaldo proved he's currently the more efficient attacking talisman:

OptaJoe @OptaJoe

7 - Lionel Messi (11) attempted seven shots more than Cristiano Ronaldo (4) on the opening matchday of the 2018 World Cup, but the Portuguese forward scored three goals compared to Messi's none. Rivals. #ARGISL #ARG #POR #WorldCup https://t.co/Tjp8KkGkAG

Being ruthless with fewer chances gives Ronaldo an obvious advantage over his competitors in the golden boot race. If the 33-year-old remains this unerring, nobody will score more goals at this World Cup.

        

Costa and Cheryshev's Fast Starts Can Continue

Like Ronaldo, Costa didn't waste chances when they came his way:

Squawka Football @Squawka

Diego Costa has scored from his first two shots on target at a #WorldCup. What. A. Game. https://t.co/GtLCXSIn24

It's a far cry from Costa's last foray at this level. He failed to score in two starts at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, but his scoring run in Russia should continue.

For one thing, Costa won't be short of chances at the tip of a Spanish forward line supplied by a platoon of classy playmakers. Isco was superb against Portugal, as were pass-masters Andres Iniesta and David Silva.

This gifted trio, along with Marco Asensio and Koke, will ensure Costa has many more opportunities to score at this World Cup. With matches against Iran and Morocco to follow, expect Costa to stay in the goals during the remainder of the group stage.

Similarly, Cheryshev can continue finding the net for the host nation. The 27-year-old former Real Madrid man is a skilled and versatile left-sided midfielder perfectly suited to the fluid brand of football coach Stanislav Cherchesov has Russia playing.

Cheryshev is Russia's main scoring threat.
Cheryshev is Russia's main scoring threat.Matthias Schrader/Associated Press

Cherchesov has built his squad around like-minded, forward-thinking midfielders such as Alan Dzagoev and Aleksandr Golovin. The latter scored and assisted twice during the 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia.

Golovin and Dzagoev have the vision and technique to release Cheryshev for more goals. Remaining Group A opponents Egypt and Uruguay are both solid defensively, but Cheryshev will still score again for the hosts.

       

More Big Names Set to Join the List

Messi couldn't get on the scoresheet against Iceland, but he's a good bet to puncture the defences of both Croatia and Nigeria. The Vatreni are first up on Thursday, meaning Messi can test himself against error-prone Liverpool centre-back Dejan Lovren.

England's Harry Kane should have gotten off the mark before Week 2. He's a good bet to score when the Three Lions open their Group G campaign against Tunisia.

Tottenham Hotspur striker Kane is already targeting Ronaldo's fast start:

Darren Lewis @MirrorDarren

Harry Kane on Cristiano Ronaldo’s start to the World Cup: “Hopefully I can score a hat-trick tomorrow and we’ll both be level!”

As a player who scores in streaks, Kane can be a strong contender for top goalscorer if he gets into an early rhythm.

With Poland's Robert Lewandowski, Colombia's Radamel Falcao and Senegal's Sadio Mane still to play, the list will feature more familiar names for the tournament's second week.

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