Going into the semi-finals of UEFA Euro 2020, two players already eliminated from the tournament sit atop the goal charts. Even if you take the most casual interest in football, you will probably have heard of one of them. His name is Cristiano Ronaldo.
No man who has ever played the beautiful game has scored more international goals than Portugal’s living legend. Unfortunately, the defending champions went out to Belgium in the last 16 after Ronaldo scored five goals in four games.
The other joint favourite according to the UEFA Euro 2020 top scorer odds available on the exchanges is definitely less well known. The Czech Republic have carried home the Golden Boot from the European Championship back in 2004 when Milan Baros won it, but Patrick Schick has taken his international form to a new level.
🔝 EURO 2020 top scorers:
— UEFA EURO 2020 (@EURO2020) July 3, 2021
His second strike against Scotland in a 2-0 victory in the Czechs’ group stage opener at Hampden Park was a Goal of the Tournament contender. While Euro 2020 favourites England kept Schick at bay, he struck against Croatia, then sealed a 2-0 upset last 16 win over the Netherlands who were reduced to ten men and in a 2-1 quarter-final defeat by Denmark.
Anyone who saw Baros play for Liverpool almost 20 years ago will tell you that it is wise to be wary of players performing on international duty at major tournaments. However, Schick has put himself in the shop window for a transfer from German Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen following spells with RB Leipzig and in the Italian Serie A at Sampdoria and then Roma.
Prior to the final four facing off at the Euros, no active player has scored more than three goals. That means the likes of Denmark striker Kasper Dolberg, and England attacking duo Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling, must double their current tallies across the semis and final in order to stop Ronaldo and Schick from sharing the top goalscorer honours.
Three Lions national captain and star striker Kane has hit form in the knockout phase of this tournament, ending a barren run by sealing a satisfying 2-0 victory over old rivals Germany in the last 16. He also bagged a brace in the 4-0 quarter-final demolition of Ukraine.
Sterling, meanwhile, has three goals and an assist after netting England’s first three goals at the tournament. One of the subtle differences between the top goalscorer prize, which can be shared, and the Golden Boot is that assists may be used as a tiebreaker.
Spain and Italy had three and four players apiece on two goals ahead of their meeting in the first Euro semi-final. Names including Alvaro Morata of Juventus and Lazio’s Ciro Immobile must treble their tallies if they want to top the charts.
The betting suggests that it is unlikely the mark of five achieved by Ronaldo and Schick will be surpassed, without outstanding individual displays from still active players between now and the end of the tournament. Semi-finals and the Euro 2020 final itself may end up being cagey with so much at stake.