Race for the Golden Boot: Who’ll be top goal scorer at Women’s World Cup?

With all 32 nations having now played three times the group stage of the 2023 Women’s World Cup is over, leaving just 16 knockout phase clashes to go before a winner is crowned.

The World Cup group stage produced an impressive total of 126 goals scored in 48 matches, with only two teams failing to find the net during the opening phase: Haiti and Vietnam.

At the other end of the spectrum, Japan are the top-scoring nation at the tournament entering the knockout phase and are also the only side to have already reached double figures in Australia and New Zealand, registering 11 goals in their opening three fixtures.

Furthermore, Japan star Hinata Miyazawa is leading the Golden Boot race at the 2023 Women’s World Cup with four goals to her name so far. The 23-year-old midfielder is top of the goal-scoring charts after registering twice in her country’s opening 5-0 thrashing of Zambia and then repeating the feat with a brace in the 4-0 win over Spain in Japan’s final group stage outing.

Germany captain Alexandra Popp is level with Miyazawa after scoring her fourth goal of the tournament in Friday’s Group H match against South Korea. The Wolfsburg striker then thought she had scored her fifth to give her country a crucial 2-1 lead in Friday’s match, only to have it ruled out by a marginal VAR call. That condemned Germany to a shock group-stage exit, and denied Popp the opportunity to further enhance her bid for the Golden Boot.

However, no fewer than five players still active at the tournament have scored three goals. That quintet are all within striking distance of equalling Miyazawa and Popp’s tally as we head into the knockout rounds.

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How Golden Boot award is decided

As always, the Golden Boot award will be bestowed upon the individual player who scores the most goals at the 2023 Women’s World Cup. Should multiple players finish level at the top of the standings, the award will be decided using tie-breakers.

Should two or more players finish with the same number of goals scored, the Golden Boot will go to the player with the most assists. If that still isn’t enough to separate them then the award will go to the player with the lowest total minutes on the pitch (ergo, the highest goals-per-minute rate).

Any goals scored in penalty shootouts will not count towards the total.

The 2023 Golden Boot contenders

Miyazawa and Popp are top of the standings after three games, but six others are just one goal behind them: Brazil‘s Ary Borges, England‘s Lauren James, France‘s Kadidiatou Diani, NetherlandsJill Roord, Norway‘s Sophie Roman Haug and Sweden‘s Amanda Ilestedt.

Brazil winger Borges scored a fine hat trick against Panama but, like Popp, she will be unable to add to her total as the Selecao crashed out after failing to beat Jamaica in their final group game.

Nestled just below the aforementioned, there is a large group of 16 players who have two goals to their credit including Steph Catley and Hayley Raso of co-hosts Australia, Linda Caicedo of Colombia, Spain pair Jennifer Hermoso and Alba Redondo as well as United States duo Lindsey Horan and Sophia Smith.

Assists being the first tie-breaker is good news for James, who has three to her name so far. They all came in England’s 6-1 demolition of China, in which she also scored twice. The Chelsea forward is level in the assist charts with Mina Tanaka of Japan, who has also scored two goals.



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Marissa Lordanic and Mark Ogden react to England’s emphatic win over China in their final group stage game.

Women’s World Cup Golden Boot history

The Golden Boot was first awarded at the inaugural 1991 Women’s World Cup in China, where USWNT forward Michelle Akers scored 10 goals to take the plaudits with an impressive tally that has never been bettered at a Women’s World Cup.

Megan Rapinoe of the United States is the reigning Women’s World Cup Golden Boot winner after scoring six goals for her country as the USWNT emerged triumphant at the 2019 tournament in France. Her teammate Alex Morgan also scored six goals at the 2019 World Cup and also equalled Rapinoe’s assist count of three, so Rapinoe was ultimately awarded the Golden Boot due to the fact that she had spent less time on the pitch (428 minutes, to Morgan’s 490).

Rapinoe claiming the award also meant that the U.S. joined Brazil and Germany as the only nations to have had their players win Golden Boots at two different Women’s World Cups.

The only time the award has been shared was in 1999, when Brazil’s Sissi and China’s Sun Wen both scored seven times. Sun’s goals powered China to the final, and she scored in the penalty shootout after that match ended 0-0, but it was hosts the United States who emerged victorious.

Women’s World Cup player trophies

The 2023 Women’s World Cup Golden Boot trophy itself is a lifelike cast of a football boot in silver metal with a thin golden coating, affixed to a sturdy frosted glass base. There are also silver and bronze versions given to the second and third-highest scoring players at the tournament respectively.

As well as the Golden Boot, a number of other individual awards will be handed out at the conclusion of the 2023 World Cup.

The Golden Ball is awarded to the best overall player of the tournament, as decided by media representatives selecting from a shortlist drawn up by the FIFA technical committee, as well as the Silver and Bronze Ball for the second and third best players on show.

Rapinoe also took this prize home in 2019, with teammate Rose Lavelle coming third in the vote behind England’s Lucy Bronze. Unsurprisingly, Rapinoe ended the year by winning the Ballon d’Or, too.

The Golden Glove award is also awarded to the best overall goalkeeper at the tournament, and is decided by FIFA’s Technical Study Group. By winning this prize at both the 2011 and 2015 tournaments, former U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo is the only player to win twice in any individual award category at a Women’s World Cup.

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