Euro 2016: Who Are the Contenders For the Golden Boot?

Dimitri Payet and Antoine Griezmann
Dimitri Payet, left, and Antoine Griezmann at Stade des Lumieres, Lyon, June 26. Both France's Payet and Griezmann are contenders for the golden boot. Lars Baron/Getty

With just four teams left in Euro 2016, and no outstanding leader in the scoring charts, there are a group of contenders battling for the golden boot.

Four years ago, the award was shared between six players who had scored three times during the tournament in Poland and Ukraine.

But this year has already seen an individual surpass that tally, with France's Antoine Griezmann leading the way with four goals. Here, Newsweek looks at the challengers for the prize.

Antoine Griezmann — 4

Having been dropped by France manager Didier Deschamps in the second game of the tournament, Griezmann has returned with a point to prove for the hosts.

With four goals and two assists —both coming in France's quarter-final win over Iceland on Sunday—the Atletico Madrid forward has been a pivotal part of Deschamps' team as it starts to hit form heading into the latter stages of the tournament.

Griezmann was sixth top scorer in La Liga last season but he has thrived playing off Olivier Giroud in the French attack. With Germany conceding just one goal in the tournament so far, though, Griezmann may find it hard to add to his tally on Thursday.

Gareth Bale — 3

His three goals in group B helped Wales topple England off the top, but the Welshman is yet to score in the knockout rounds.

Bale is the talisman for Chris Coleman's side, much the same as his Real Madrid team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo is for Portugal, Wales' opponents in Wednesday's semi-final.

With his threat from set pieces, power in the air, and electric burst of pace, Bale is expected to be behind any success Wales enjoys in the last week of the tournament.

Olivier Giroud — 3

A clinical edge has been lacking from the Arsenal striker in France's campaign this summer, and yet he remains a strong contender for the golden boot.

Giroud squandered a handful of chances in group A but a couple of goals in the 5-2 victory over Iceland on Sunday added to his strike against Romania in the opening game of the tournament.

A smart run and finish through the legs of Iceland's goalkeeper, Hannes Halldorsson, proved the 29-year-old can provide more than just an aerial threat.

Deschamps and France will need Giroud firing if the hosts are to advance to Sunday's final.

Dimitri Payet — 3

A contender for the Premier League's player of the season in the last campaign, Payet may well be in contention for Euro 2016's player of the tournament.

The West Ham man has been the leading protagonist in France's bid for glory. Having played a role in both France's goals against Romania, Payet set the tone for the host's bid.

Lethal on either foot, and capable of dazzling, the 29-year-old forward could have his hands on the golden boot if France goes all the way this week.

Cristiano Ronaldo — 2

It's been a miserably frustrating tournament for the Real Madrid superstar—in personal terms, anyway.

But with Portugal managing to reach the semi-finals despite finishing third in group F, there is no way anyone can write off Ronaldo finishing top scorer.

Without the 31-year-old's double in the dramatic 3-3 draw with Hungary in the final game of the group stages, Portugal would be home and Ronaldo probably topping up the tan.

Yet, as he aims to show his dominance over Madrid team-mate Bale on Wednesday, Ronaldo is also chasing Michel Platini's record as top scorer in European Championships, needing just one to equal his tally of nine goals.

Mario Gomez — 2

The German was among the six players who shared the title at Euro 2012.

As the focal point of Joachim Low's attack, Gomez will be a key figure for the three-time champions if it is to add a fourth title to the record.

At 30 years of age, this looks to be the Fiorentina striker's last Euros and he will be keen to make a lasting mark that would help propel Germany to the trophy.

Euro 2016: Who Are the Contenders For the Golden Boot? | Sports
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