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Why James Rodriguez could still be named Player of the World Cup

| 07.07.2014

His World Cup may have ended in tears – both metaphorical and literal – but James Rodriguez could soon be offered the consolation of the Golden Ball award.

The trophy, which is awarded to the Player of the Tournament, is often bestowed upon a player from the tournament’s final, but Uruguay’s Diego Forlan proved that doesn’t have to be the case with his win in 2010.

Argentina’s Lionel Messi is the current favourite at 7/4 but a look at the stats shows he could struggle to exceed what Colombia’s star man achieved before Los Cafeteros were sent packing.

So far, Messi has had 15 shots on goal, seven of which were on target and four of which were converted.

The Barca star also has one assist to his name but is going to have to up his game to outdo Rodriguez, who is priced at 7/2 to land the gong.

James had almost half of Messi’s opportunities with just eight shots on goal. However, each of them were on target and six of them were converted.

A further two assists mean Rodriguez is still in the frame for the Golden Boot and Messi has his work cut out to win either award.

Argentina have failed to score in three of their last five meetings with Holland, winning just one of the last eight, so if history is to be relied upon the Argie star is running out of time.

Holland’s Arjen Robben is next in the betting at 7/2 after starting at a blistering pace with three goals from his first two games of the tournament.

The Dutchman may have 90 per cent accuracy rating , with nine of his 10 attempts hitting the target, but the goals have dried up of late and with his diving antics hitting  the headlines he is best avoided in this market.

Next up is Brazil’s new hero David Luiz at 5/1. The former Chelsea man carries the hopes of a nation on his shoulders after Neymar’s injury.

The crazy-haired PSG man fired home a spectacular free-kick to ensure Brazil’s semi-final berth but no defender has been named best player since the inaugural competition in 1930.

As such, the value bet among the outsiders is Thomas Mueller at 10/1.

The Germany forward has four goals and an assist already and is potentially just three strikes away from becoming the first ever man to defend the Golden Boot.

With Germany beating Brazil 3-2 in their most recent meeting, there is plenty of reason to think the Bayern Munich man can net against Brazil and fire his side into the final.

From there he would take some stopping and surely no one could deny a two-time Golden Boot winner the accolade of best player – expect maybe Rodriguez who has already set out his stall!

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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James Curtis

After studying for a degree in journalism and gaining his NCTJ, James contributed to a wide range of papers, online publications and broadcasters including the South London Press, Press Association and Sky Sports News before joining the Ladbrokes News team.