Harry Kane makes Golden Boot claim as World Cup opener beckons

England’s 26-man squad finally landed in Qatar last night and were given a warm greeting outside the team hotel they hope to occupy until the World Cup final itself on December 18. Their first training session is scheduled for 4.30pm on Wednesday ahead of the opening match against Iran next week, with Harry Kane straining at the leash to carry on where he left off at the last World Cup in Russia.

Kane’s six goals in 2018 were enough to win him the Golden Boot as the tournament’s top scorer and he believes a repeat of something similar in the next few weeks could pay dividends for England.

“Winning the Golden Boot is not the main thing I’m going for,” he said. “But I know if I do end up with the Golden Boot, it will be good for the team … a good bonus. I’m excited, a World Cup is a special occasion.

“I think for most professionals it is the biggest tournament you can play in as a player, and I have been lucky enough to do one and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life.”

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“We want to make the fans proud and happy. Of course, there will be some in the stadiums, we always have great support, but most will be at home and we just want to make them proud.”

At club level, Kane certainly carries the kind of form into the tournament that could see him mount a challenge for the Golden Boot. With Manchester City forward Erling Haaland steadling the headlines on the goal-scoring front, the Tottenham talisman has been quietly going about his business with 12 in his opening 15 games, including one in the dramatic 4-3 victory over Leeds United on Saturday. 

Kane’s exploits in 2018 propelled England towards a blockbuster semi-final with Croatia, which the Three Lions eventually lost in extra-time. Gareth Southgate and co went one better at Euro 2020, making it all the way to the final before losing to Italy on penalties. 

England’s opening group-stage opponents, Iran, come into the Qatar World Cup on good form. Unlike many other teams, they organised a pre-tournament friendly, which they won 1-0 against Nicaragua last week, and their ongoing three-match unbeaten streak includes a victory over Uruguay and a draw with Senegal. 

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