Messi v Muller v Robben v Van Persie - The four-way battle to beat James Rodriguez to the Golden Boot

With the Colombia star and Brazil ace Neymar out of the running, the quartet are ready to fight to the finish as their respective sides aim for World Cup glory

Colombia might have been eliminated from the World Cup already, but they could still end up winning - that is, if no one can overhaul James Rodriguez's six-goal tally in the race for the Golden Boot.

However, there is a potent attacking quartet hungry to overtake the attacking midfielder, as well as spearhead their respective sides to World Cup glory. Brazilian ace Neymar is second with four goals, but is already out of the tournament due to injury, leaving Netherlands duo Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie to duke it out with Argentina captain Lionel Messi and Germany's Thomas Muller.

Both Messi and Muller have four goals as well, while the other two have bagged three each. All four have started their campaign off strong, but it seems as if they have reached a scoring stalemate as their teams moved into the knockout stages, with none of them finding the net.

With the three teams still in contention for the final, these four players have possibly one last shot at winning this year's Golden Boot award as they look to lead their respective nations through in the upcoming semi-finals.


Argentina are one of the favourites to win this summer’s tournament and although their performances have been rather off-colour, they had Messi to pull them through. While he has repeatedly insisted that the team is not overly dependent on him, Argentina’s progress has been largely because of the pint-sized forward’s brilliance on the pitch.Messi struck a wonder goal against Bosnia-Herzegovina in Argentina's opening match - the winner in a 2-1 victory - before hitting an arguably even better strike to sink Iran 1-0. He then wrapped up his side’s group stage action by slotting home two more goals as they beat Nigeria 3-2.

La Albiceleste’s main man has remained an instrumental figure for Argentina, setting up a last minute assist for Angel Di Maria in the dying minutes of extra time against Switzerland. He was at the heart of his side’s attack in the quarter-finals against Belgium, but failed to find the back of the net himself.With 15 shots, Messi has registered the highest amount of attempts amongst the four. He only got seven of those on target, but still possesses the second-highest conversion rate with 27%. In contrast, Van Persie has the lowest rate despite testing the goalkeeper the most. Messi also took the least time amongst the four to find the net in between each goal, with an average of 113.3 minutes separating his four strikes.


Thomas Muller opened his World Cup campaign with a magnificent showing against Portugal, bagging a hat-trick as Germany won 4-0. He then continued his streak against USA, scoring the only goal in the final match of the group stage to help Die Mannschaft top their group.The German marksman is the defending Golden Boot winner, having won the title in 2010. Muller was tied at five goals with the likes of David Villa, Wesley Schneider, and Diego Forlan, but won by virtue of having more assists than the others.

Bayern Munich’s main forward has been rather quiet upfront in Germany’s games against Algeria and France, in particular against the African side. Muller missed a host of chances to add to his tally and with only 50% of his shots going on target - only Messi has a worse accuracy - he will need to be more clinical if he covets a second straight Golden Boot.Robben and Van Persie

The Dutch duo scored thrice each as the Oranje dominated their group stages, but have fired blanks since moving into the knockout rounds. While Robben has arguably continued to contribute, Van Persie seems to have faded away.Robben absolutely ripped Spain to shreds in their opening fixture and has played an increasingly influential role, despite the lack of goals. Although smeared by controversies surrounding his diving theatrics, he remains one of the side's most dangerous players with his breakneck-speed runs. The Bayern Munich star struck against Australia and won the match-winning penalty against Mexico, tormenting both the latter and Costa Rica throughout the games.

Van Persie’s diving header against Spain made headlines around the world and has since become an iconic image of this summer’s competition. It was the first of a brace and the Manchester United star also struck against the Socceroos, but that was about as good as it got for him.The forward was taken off after a lacklustre showing against Mexico, with replacement Klaas-Jan Huntelaar going on to set up the equaliser and score the winner. Against Costa Rica, Van Persie was guilty of poor finishing, missing a host of chances as the Dutch eventually edged through on penalties.


It might perhaps be noteworthy that Robben has created 15 chances so far and made one assist, with only Messi laying on more with 19 and one assist as well. Muller leads the way with two assists and 13 chances created; Van Persie is the only one not to have a single assist, while he has also created only a paltry two chances. This suggests that the first three names are the key figures for their countries, both in terms of goalscoring and creating opportunities.

The featured four will have at least one match more to boost their goalscoring tally, with the semi-finals looming. If any of them can fire themselves to the Golden Boot in the remainder of their tournament, it is more likely than not that they will shoot their team to World Cup glory at the same time.