How is the World Cup Golden Boot winner decided if two players score the same amount of goals?

Close-up view of the World Cup 2018 Golden Boot awarded to Harry Kane of England before the UEFA Nations League A group four match between England and Spain at Wembley Stadium on September 8, 2018 in London, United Kingdom.
(Image credit: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

As Argentina and France prepare to play each other in the World Cup 2022 final in a bid to lift the Jules Rimet Trophy, there will be another battle happening on the pitch: the race for the Golden Boot.

Olivier Giroud and Julian Alvarez are still in contention to take home the Golden Boot, with both scoring four goals so far. However, Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe have both scored the same amount of goals in Qatar, the two stars grabbing five each. 

Despite being level on goals, though, it is Messi who sits atop the standings in the scoring charts. But why?

Well, if two or more players finish the tournament with the same amount of goals, the player with more assists wins the award. The FIFA Technical Study Group decides whether or not something is counted as an assist.

Currently, Messi has three assists compared to Mbappe's two, meaning he is just ahead in the charts.

If, after the assists are counted, players are still tied, then the Golden boot is decided by minutes played in the tournament - the player with fewer minutes is ranked first, with their minutes-to-goal and -assist ratio better.

Since the Golden Boot (or shoe, as it used to be called) was first handed out at the 1982 World Cup, only twice has it been decided by assists, and on no occasion has the amount of minutes played been used, perhaps because this metric was only introduced in 2006.

Indeed, Oleg Salenko and Hristo Stoichkov shared the Golden Boot at the 1994 World Cup, with both grabbing six goals each and an assist, too. With minutes played at the tournament not used to determine a winner, the pair shared the award.

Meanwhile, at the 2010 World Cup, Thomas Muller, David Villa, Wesley Sneijder and Diego Forlan all tied with five goals. However, Muller won by virtue of having more assists - three - than the other players, who all had one each. 

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