The 50 games so far at the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2013 in Turkey have produced exactly 149 goals, some of them breathtakingly good. They have been scored by a total of 96 different players, yet only an elite handful remain in the running for a very special individual award, the traditional adidas Golden Boot for the top scorer at the tournament. But who will succeed Henrique, winner of the prestigious award in Colombia two years ago with five goals in seven games for Brazil, the absent holders of the U-20 crown?
In the current contest, which ends this Saturday when France meet Uruguay in the Istanbul final, three players are level at the top of the goalscoring chart on five goals. Portugal’s new attacking jewel Bruma is currently in first place because he only required 360 minutes on the field for his five goals. He is followed by Spain's Jese (429 minutes) and Ghana's Ebenezer Assifuah (496 minutes). However, the west African has a clear edge in the betting, because in contrast to the other two, his team are still in the tournament, with the Black Satellites primed to take on Iraq in the match for third place.
Sporting Lisbon prodigy Bruma is still only 18, but even before the tournament great things were predicted for the ruthless finisher. Nevertheless, the route to Turkey, where the Portuguese ultimately fell to Ghana in the last sixteen, was not particularly easy for him, as he recently revealed to FIFA.com: “The last few years have been important for my development. I didn’t have the right attitude to begin with, but I think I’ve improved in that respect. All I wanted to do was dribble with the ball, do nutmegs and flick the ball over people’s heads. Then I began to realise I had to take things more seriously." There is still a strong possibility of him coming away with a very big honour indeed, potential testimony to his perceptiveness and personal progress.
Assifuah could yet pip Bruma to the post. The 20-year-old, on the books with Liberty Professionals, is disappointed not to have reached the final with the 2009 champions, but is now hoping to make a winning contribution as the Ghanaians go for the consolation prize of third place. “My fellow countryman Dominic Adiyiah won the Golden Boot four years ago. I never expected to emulate that, but now I actually have the chance," he exclusively told FIFA.com, “I'm praying I can score again and win the award. Hopefully my team-mates will remember to think of me when we get near the opposing goal."
Assifuah is certainly a fair bet in the race for the accolade, but there are promising contenders outside the top three. Nicolas Lopez has four goals to his name and is hoping to build on that total, sealing team glory for Uruguay and the personal honour for himself. The same goes for France hitman Yaya Sanogo, who is level with Lopez on four goals. And further down the list, Iraq's Farhan Shakor and Sanogo's team-mate Florian Thauvin have both scored three times.
“If I won the Golden Boot, it would give me real joy and immense satisfaction. But it's not what I'm focusing on," the 20-year-old Sanogo told FIFA.com. “Scoring four goals at a World Cup already means a lot," the Auxerre man continued, “but it would be the icing on the cake if goals scored by me in the final meant France won the trophy."
Thauvin can afford to be far more relaxed about the race for the adidas Golden Boot, as the Bastia winger is not an out-and-out goalscorer. For all that, it was his brace that saw Les Bleuets past Ghana in the semi-finals and opened the door to possible glory. “But I'm not aiming for the individual award," he said, “the target is to win the World Cup. If I did happen to end as top scorer it would just be a bonus."
It remains to be seen who will go home with the prestgious adidas Golden Boot, following in the footsteps of the likes of Sergio Aguero (2007), Lionel Messi (2005) and Javier Saviola (2001). Tell us what you think and share your views with fans from all over the world. Simply add your comment at the bottom of the page.
And we’d also like you to take part in the FIFA.com poll for the best goal of the tournament. After the final, we'll present a shortlist of ten goals, and you can pick your favourite from that. So don't forget to come back to the official FIFA website and review the most spectacular goals from Turkey 2013.
To whet your appetite, why not take a look at our video of the all-time best goals in the history of the FIFA U-20 World Cup? Just follow the link in the right navigation and enjoy!