The 2022 FIFA World Cup officially began in Qatar on Sunday as the host nation struggled against Ecuador, losing 2-0 to the South American nation.
Qatar became the first host to lose the opening match of the World Cup and missed out on a big opportunity to gain three points in an otherwise winnable match.
Enner Valencia scored both goals for Ecuador and had a third called back due to a controversial VAR review that determined he was slightly offside.
Valencia is the only goal scorer of the tournament through the first day of the group stage, but don’t expect the 33-year-old Fenerbahçe S.K forward to win the Golden Ball as the top scorer.
Here’s a look at four contenders to score the most goals at Qatar 2022 so you can make your bets against the FIFA World Cup Odds.
Golden Ball Contenders Picks to Bet On | FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
With a talented field of players, including Neymar, Messi, and Ronaldo, Harry Kane is the betting favorite to win the Golden Ball in Qatar. The English striker has the same betting odds (+700) as French player Kylian Mbappe. Kane scored six goals in six matches at the 2018 World Cup in Russia and has the best goal ratio of all players this year with at least five career World Cup appearances.
More impressively, Kane has just as many World Cup goals as Messi in 13 fewer games. He has 51 career goals in 75 appearances for the English national team and is just two back of Wayne Rooney’s all-time record. He could tie the record as early as England’s first match on Monday against Iran.
PSG forward Mbappe established himself as one of the best young football players in the world at the 2018 World Cup and could cement himself as the best striker in the world in Qatar. The 23-year-old Frenchman, named the Globe Soccer Best Player of the Year in 2021, is a four-time top scorer in Ligue 1.
Mbappe was just 18 years old when he made his World Cup debut in 2018 and was France’s second-leading goalscorer. He won FIFA World Cup Best Young Player and was only the second teenager, after Pelé, to find the back of the net in a World Cup Final.
Kevin De Bruyne
Kevin De Bruyne, a Manchester City midfielder, is among the best players in the world. He’s not only a capable goalscorer but a well-rounded player who controls the play from the midfield position.
De Bruyne has 25 goals in more than 90 international caps for Belgium and was named to the FIFA World Cup Dream Team in 2018 after helping Belgium to a third-place finish.
He does, however, have just two goals in two World Cups. Still, he’s a candidate to win the Golden Ball based on the quality of competition in Belgium’s group: Canada, Morocco, and Croatia.
Messi is a +1000 favorite to win the Golden Ball behind Mbappe and Kane, but he will be motivated to put his best foot forward in what is his last World Cup. Messi has six goals in 19 World Cup matches.
Argentina opens its World Cup on Tuesday with a match against Saudi Arabia and then plays Mexico and Poland. It should have little trouble advancing out of Group C, giving Messi at least four more World Cup matches.