Now the curtain has been drawn on another Premier League term the eyes of the football world turn to Brazil and there’ll be plenty of interest from England’s shores, regardless of whether or not Roy Hodgson can lead the Three Lions out of a fiendishly tricky Group D at 3/5 odds.
After the usual frenetic end to the campaign, we’ve had a look at the top-flight lads likely to grab their fair shares of goals at the Samba jamboree.
Romelu Lukaku – 28/1 to be World Cup top scorer
Only Luis Suarez and Sergio Aguero of the Premier League’s cadre of strikers currently come in at shorter prices to take the Golden Boot – 14/1 and 18/1 respectively – than Belgium’s number nine and it’s not hard to figure out why.
His effort at Hull to put Everton 2-0 up meant Lukaku broke through the 15-goal barrier for the second season in a row, having bagged 17 last term when on loan at West Brom.
With all due respect to the Toffees, the 22-year-old will expect even better service from international teammates such as Eden Hazard and Adnan Januzaj this summer, while Christian Benteke’s injury makes Chelsea’s neglected gem the last centre-forward standing in Marc Wilmots’ squad.
Andre Schurrle – 50/1
Schurrle has popped up with a number of goals under pressure during Chelsea’s ultimately fruitless campaign, such as the opener in the 2-1 win at home to Manchester City and in the 2-0 Champions League quarter-final clash with Paris Saint-Germain.
Joachim Low will rely heavily on his attacking-midfielders for goals in Brazil, after the Germany boss named just three centre-forwards in his World Cup squad and should Schurrle get his chance he will be keen to add to a solid strike rate of 11 in 31 Die Mannschaft outings.
Daniel Sturridge – 80/1
The much-travelled 24-year-old put a bit more shine on fantastic goal numbers for the season with two in Liverpool’s last two fixtures, having gone four games without scoring since their March match against Sunderland.
An all competitions tally of 27 in 37 games makes Sturridge by far England’s best hope for goals in South America.
Edin Dzeko – 100/1
As was stated on these pages not too long ago, Dzeko’s late-season form was crucial to Manchester City maintaining favouritism following Liverpool’s collapse and the Bosnian must take as much credit as any player for his side’s title triumph.
After drawing a blank in the 2-0 win over West Ham, Dzeko finished the season with just the five goals from the Citizens’ last four fixtures and he will expect to fill his boots to the brim in World Cup Group F matches against Iran and Algeria.
Yaya Toure – 125/1
Notching 24 times over a season is a remarkable feat for a midfielder and the manner in which some of them have come about – such as the stunning equaliser in the Capital One Cup final against Sunderland – mark Toure out as a goal-scoring behemoth.
Like his teammate Dzeko, Toure will be out for some easy pickings in Group C matches against Japan and Greece, with the Ivory Coast standing by far the best chance of making it into the Round of 16 at even-money odds in their third successive tournament, having made it to the World Cup for the first time in 2006.