Who’s likely to get the most assists at the World Cup is a tightly contested market – after all there were multiple winners in 2010 when it took just three setups to claim a share in the non-existent prize, shared between five players.
Ozil, Kuyt, Schwieinstiger, Iniesta and Kaka took a share of the prize, suggesting that this competition runs a lot like the Golden Boot – tournament winners and semi finalists will produce the main contenders and there seems to be few better places to start than Angel Di Maria, who had 22 assists for Real Madrid in La Liga and the Champions League, playing for three of the most clinical finishers in the tournament in Argentina with a fair run to the quarter finals at least.
His team mate Lionel Messi provides almost as many assists as he does goals these days and seems worth adding to the portfolio, along with Thomas Muller, who is likely to be pivotal to German chances following injuries in the squad.
Spain have the potential to score more goals than in their three previous tournaments and Andres Iniesta (left) who assisted three times in 2010, seems very big at 50’s. For Brazil, Neymar seems an obvious candidate with an easy enough group to start with and a challenge expected to go all the way.
The same group of players are well worth considering for player of the tournament – usually given the outstanding player in the winning team. Neymar and Messi are lamentably short for this award, but Iniesta is a fair price at 25’s, Di Maria at 33’s, and maybe Andrea Pirlo is at 45’s. Pirlo has been the centrepiece of Italy’s remodelling under Cesare Prandelli and if shining, is likely to draw media focus and attention which has proven crucial in the destination of the award.
For the young player award, there looks to be little value with Ross Barkley interesting at 22’s but not a definite to get the chances he needs to shine with England’s group a hellish one. Paul Pogba should go well as favourite with France set for a big tournament if they stick together as a group but at 5/2 best price he makes little appeal and Raphael Varane could be the one of those two at 12/1, although I’ll steer clear.
The golden glove award offers better opportunity, with the winner having taken the trophy in 3 of the last 5 tournaments – the other being runner up. Julio Cesare doesn’t make a whole lot of appeal, but Iker Casillas looks to be a superb shout to go well again with a top class defence helping and Gianluigi Buffon is likely to be a key part of Italy’s challenge, so at 12’s, makes a lot of appeal. Last but not least, France’s Hugo Lloris cannot be ignored at 18/1. If Les Bleus are to go all the way then it looks likely that the Tottenham man will be at the head of affairs and that makes him a runner if France can progress.
Advice – Most Assists
1 pt each/way Angel Di Maria (16/1 Boylesports)
1 pt each/way Lionel Messi (16/1 Boylesports)
1 pt each/way Neymar (20/1 Boylesports)
1 pt each/way Andres Iniesta (50/1 Boylesports)
Advice – Player of the tournament
1 pt Angel Di Maria (33/1 general)
1 pt Andres Iniesta (25/1 general)
1 pt Andrea Pirlo (45/1 888Sport)
Advice – Golden Glove
1 pt Iker Casillas (6/1 general)
1 pt Gianuligi Buffon (12/1 Ladbrokes)
1 pt Hugo Lloris (18/1 Paddy Power)