World Cup 2022 Expert Picks: Golden Boot, Golden Ball and Young Player


You never know who will shine at the World Cup. Yes, you can bet that Lionel Messi and Neymar will put on a show, but it’s harder to predict who will be the next Diego Forlan and James Rodríguez.

Ahead of the tournament, we asked 12 FOX Sports soccer analysts to pick their favorites to win the most prestigious individual awards: the Golden Boot, Ballon d’Or and Young Player Award.

Here’s who they landed:

Young Player Award

1. Jude Bellingham (3)

2. Jamal Musiala (2)

3. Vinicius Junior (2)

Others receiving votes: Ansu Fati, Gavi, Pedri, Kylian Mbappe, Dušan Vlahović

Doug McIntyre: Peter The 19-year-old Spaniard is one of the brightest lights in the world game, and the heir apparent to former Barcelona forwards like Xavi, Andrés Iniesta and yes, Lionel Messi. Pedri has not yet finished breaking with Barça, and has only 14 games (and no goals) with Spain. I still think he’s capable of a breakout performance for a team that could make the playoffs or even win it all.

Martin Rogers: Kylian Mbappé Still young, and there is no one more electrifying than the French forward when he runs at pace.

Landon Donovan: Dušan Vlahović. Serbia are in an incredibly tough group but have the ability to progress if Vlahovic continues his hot form.

Serbian Dusan Vlahovic

Serbian Dusan Vlahovic

Vlahovic is known for his finishing, movement and aerial ability,

Carly Lloyd: I have three that I’m excited to see: 1. Gavi. At 18 years old, he is special. He is solid in defence, and in attack he is very good with the ball at his feet and can score goals. 2. Peter. He is versatile, wants the ball, is excellent at finding and creating space and has technical talent. 3. Phil Foden. I got to see him play and train when I played for Manchester City and I was told he would be special. His confidence has grown a lot. He has become clinical with his finishing ability and is able to unlock defences, putting players on their heels.

Aly Wagner: This is the most exciting question because there are so many! But it would have to go with Musiala. He just entertains: he’s tactical, he’s fearless, he takes risks. I like his style. He has the talent to go with the technique. It’s electric when it’s on. He can be an incredible breakout star at the World Cup.

Stu Holden: Jamal Musiala. With an incredible season for Bayern, the sky is the limit for Musiala. He can score, assist and has a complete game in a good German team.

Chad Johnson: Ansu Fati He has just turned 20 and is considered one of the most talented young footballers on the planet.

Kelly Smith: Vinicius Junior He has become an absolutely key element of the Real Madrid team and has the potential to ignite this World Cup. I’m also really excited to see Aurelien Tchouameni and Jude Bellingham, already two of the best central midfielders in the world.

Mauritius Edu: There are quite a few, but Jamal Musiala and Jude Bellingham. At just 19 years old, both players have shown that they are true stars in the making. The talent level and ceiling is incredibly high for these two players, and I’m excited to see them thrive on the biggest international stage.

Coby Jones: I’m glad the question was looking. It’s easy to say Vinicius Junior. It has been spectacular in Madrid. so obvious Then I would give another Brazilian to Antony, if he gets the playing time.

Vinicius Junior from Brazil

Vinicius Junior from Brazil

Vinicius Junior is known for his speed, technical ability and finishing.

Eniola Aluko: Jude Bellingham for England has been outstanding for Dortmund and England so far this season. He’s pretty much played himself into the starting line-up before the start of the World Cup. Without the likes of Haaland at the World Cup, I can’t see another young player having the level of stature and influence for his country that Jude Bellingham does for England.

Warren Barton: Bellingham. I think it’s getting a lot of attention. They talk about him as the next 100 million dollar man to come out [Borussia Dortmund]. And listen: Pep Guardiola said he’s the best 19-year-old he’s ever seen, I think that says a lot.

Golden Boot

1. Kylian Mbappe (4)

2. Lautaro Martinez (3)

3. Neymar (2)

Others receiving votes: Karim Benzema, Harry Kane, Richarlison

McIntyre: Lautaro Martinez Every World Cup features a breakout star, and the Argentina forward is poised to take on that role in Qatar. Martínez is a prolific goalscorer for Inter Milan in Italy’s super-defensive Serie A. He doesn’t need many opportunities, and playing alongside Lionel Messi for his country will open up a space he can exploit and provide service from one of the best players in the history of the sport.

Rogers: Harry Kane. Because you can expect a large percentage of the goals to come from a decent and upbeat England team.

Wagner: It’s hard not to say Kane as he is so incredibly consistent. And with their way, I think they can go the distance. Also, he takes his penalties. But it could land on Ricarlison.

Smith: This is so complicated: [Robert] Lewandowski plays for a Polish side that could struggle, while Kane’s link-up game means he can assist more than score. If France shoot, it should go for Kylian Mbappe.

[World Cup 2022 odds: Messi, Neymar, Mbappe lead Golden Ball futures lines]

Lloyd: It’s anyone’s guess that the games are getting harder and harder. I’m going to put Lautaro Martínez. Argentina are likely to go deeper into the tournament and provide more chances, and they have some potential matches to top the stats early on.

Aluko: I think this could go to Mbappé. France’s group is the one I see them dominating, and Mbappé is likely to pile up the goals in the group and continue his form into the knockout stages. He is a great player.

Barton: Neymar. I think the way they are playing, Brazil, and the chances he creates, the set pieces, the group they are in; I think they are off to a great start.

Gold ball

1. Lionel Messi (9)

Others receiving votes: Gavi, Neymar, Kylian Mbappé

McIntyre: Lionel Messi. If Argentina make a deep run, and I expect them to reach the semi-finals at the very least, and Messi brings his recent club form to Qatar, there’s no way the player most consider the greatest of all time won’t do it get the vote in his last appearance at the World Cup.

The miracle of Lionel Messi

The miracle of Lionel Messi

Kicking off #101 of the 101 most memorable moments in FIFA World Cup history, Jenny Taft breaks down Lionel Messi’s goal for Argentina against Nigeria at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Rogers: seagull An 18 year old? Really? Just consider this; if Spain goes deep it will be because Gavi and his young friend Pedri have led the midfield with the brilliance they are capable of.

Wagner: Let’s go Messi. Let’s give it some love.

Smith: Lionel Messi: This Argentina team looks great, with Messi being the key cog and still the best all-rounder in the world.

Jones: Lionel Messi. I think this could fall on Messi for several reasons. Maybe a little history. But Argentina will not rely solely on Messi for everything, so it will allow him to be more influential for others. He will create the game.

Aluko: Lionel Messi. As this is his last World Cup, and he has found his rhythm for PSG and Argentina, I think the World Cup could be an incredible last dance for Messi.

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