Golden Boot: Can Manchester United man catch Messi and Neymar?

The Premier League's only realistic candidate to win the Golden Boot appears to be Robin van Persie.

The Manchester United striker has brought his most clinical form to Brazil, scoring three goals in just two appearances and needing only six shots on target to do so.

Aside from Van Persie, however, no other Premier League representatives lie within the top eight scorers of the tournament. And only two forwards - Brazil's Neymar and Argentina's Lionel Messi, both of Barcelona - have scored more than three.

  TeamPosGoalsShots on TargetAppsMins
Lionel Messi Argentina FW 4 5 3 243
Neymar Brazil FW 4 8 3 249
Karim Benzema France FW 3 8 2 180
Thomas Müller Germany FW 3 3 2 172
Arjen Robben Netherlands MF 3 7 3 270
James Rodríguez Colombia MF 3 5 3 225
Enner Valencia Ecuador FW 3 4 2 180
Robin van Persie Netherlands FW 3 6 2 166

As Opta stats show, only Van Persie has kept pace with the leading scorers at the World Cup, with Germany's Thomas Muller, Ecuador's Enner Valencia and Frenchman Karim Benzema all scoring the same number of goals in the same number of games.

There is still a long way to go at this summer's showpiece event, of course, with each forward's chances obviously dependent on their side's progression from hereon in. Van Persie, though, remains likeliest of any Premier League player to finish as the tournament's top scorer.

Even then, team-mate Arjen Robben could steal his thunder, while it is Messi and Neymar that have impressed the most to date.

Swansea City's Wilfried Bony scored two goals for the Ivory Coast but will not be taking any further part in the tournament after his side's dramatic group-stage exit.

Luis Suarez, meanwhile, has two goals to his name and could still make a move on the top scorers, though his future at the tournament is, of course, under question due to Fifa's investigation into his conduct against Italy.

Hope thus lies with Van Persie, whose form could be a huge bonus for Louis Van Gaal both for the Netherlands and when he steps into his role as Manchester United boss.

For now, however, Messi and Neymar lead the way - and with these kind of goals, it's not hard to wonder why:

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