Falcao heads the pre-draw value to be World Cup top scorer
Somewhat surprisingly, the 2014 World Cup in Brazil represents only the fifth time in history that the tournament will be hosted in South America and the first since 1978.
What isn’t so surprising is that on the four previous occasions that participating nations flocked to South America, it was a player from the continent who ended the World Cup as at least one of the joint top scorers.
This could be one of the reasons that of the 10 players to be priced at 25/1 or less in the World Cup betting to be the tournament’s top scorer this time, six represent South American nations.
Another non-surprise is that it is Lionel Messi that heads the betting at 10/1, even though he has only scored one goal across the last two World Cups.
Following him is Barcelona teammate Neymar at 14/1 and it was the Brazilian Ademir that lead the scoring charts in 1950, which was the last occasion that the nation hosted the tournament.
Furthermore, Neymar’s scoring ratio at international level far exceeds Messi and so he could be the better bet of this duo.
However, of the South American contingent, the biggest surprise of all is that Radamel Falcao doesn’t feature among the top-scorer favourites and instead finds himself shuffled down the betting at 33/1.
Falcao scored nine goals in just 13 appearances during qualifying to help Colombia secure their spot in Brazil, which was the third highest tally in this section behind Luis Suarez and Messi, and from one appearance less.
The Colombian also started the new season on fire at Monaco with eight goals in as many games and even though his impact has lessened slightly of late, club manager Claudio Ranieri has attributed this to an injury that has been carried for a few fixtures.
The problem that some may have in backing Falcao to top the World Cup scoring charts is the feeling that the nation are unlikely to progress to the latter stages of the finals, which would obviously rob him of pitch minutes.
But, the fact that Colombia are positioned in the lofty heights of fourth in the FIFA world rankings, means they are among the top seeds in Brazil, which also means they will avoid the likes of Spain, Germany and Italy in the group stages, alongside all of their fellow South American nations.
The Netherlands, France and England do linger among the possible group-stage opposition, but the way that Colombia have performed against top opposition in recent months suggest they can hold their own in any case.
Alongside draws with Argentina and the Netherlands since June, Colombia have beaten many people’s favourite outsiders Belgium.
In fact, Colombia have only lost one of their last nine internationals.
Meanwhile, although the Europa League is not Europe’s premier club competition, Falcao’s record in the tournament shows that he is capable of scoring hatfuls of goals in a format consisting of group stages and knockout rounds.
Falcao ended both the 2010/11 and 2011/12 seasons as the Europa League’s top scorer.