Tipster Aaron takes a look at the players to consider that could come good in MD3 as well as the knockout stages of World Cup Fantasy.
If you are reading this, then fair play to you. You have managed to reach the last matches of the group stages and are just on the horizon of the round of 16 matches. In this article, I will look ahead to the Last 16 and what my team is shaping up like ahead of the knockout stages.
If we take a look at my side, the majority of players will more than likely be heading not just to the Last 16 of the World Cup, but to deeper into the tournament as a whole.
I’ve brought in Costa of Portugal instead of Onana who has been sent home by Cameroon. Seemingly, it was down to his goalkeeping style, which wasn’t ‘traditional’ enough. I’ve also brought in Ansu Fati of Spain, perhaps just for this upcoming third game, we will see how Spain gets on in their final game against Japan.
Other than those players, my two Brazilians in Marquinhos and Neymar will stay put. Thoughts are that Neymar jr will be back for the next round of matches. After these fixtures, with Canada gone Alphonso Davies will make way for a midfielder. Who is that, as of now I do not know who it will be.
Ghana looks on the safe side to qualify for the next round, so Jordan Ayew will stay put also. Then, it’s the ‘could qualify’ players such as Ali Karimi of Iran, who sit second in Group B and will qualify at the moment. Brendan Aaronson and Antonee Robinson of the USA, face an uphill task to qualify for the next round. Although, heading into the last day of the group stages today. We will see come 3 pm GMT, how the groups start to play out.
My next article should come out ahead of the World Cup Last 16, where I showcase my updated team in Gaffr.
You can find additional World Cup Fantasy resources for the 22/23 season here.
The final matchday of World Cup Fantasy group stages is here and tipster Bakchod FPL takes a look at the best performers in matchday 2 and the top picks to consider for matchday 3.
14/16 games done in MD2, sharing our observations and early plans for MD3 in this post. We are looking at the MD3 fixtures and the teams to target.
🇪🇨 Ecuador vs Senegal 🇸🇳 🇳🇱 Netherlands vs Qatar 🇶🇦
Netherlands haven’t sealed their spot yet, they will also be taking on one of the weakest teams in the tournament; this will be a fixture to target.
Two attackers could be picked, front three of Depay, Gakpo, and Bergwijn could be expected as Depay could get 60 minutes as per a few reports.
Bergwijn has zero shots across two games (123 minutes), Gakpo has two and Depay has one though he has only played 74 minutes till now; Gakpo and Klaasen have the highest xG+xAG, 0.23 each.
Gakpo has four key passes as well (highest for the Netherlands) and is on corners (nine CKs till now).
Noppert looks like a good choice for MD3, he has seven saves in two games and will be going against a Qatar side that have just scored once in two games.
Dumfries/Van Dijk are also good picks as there is a good chance of a clean sheet; the Netherlands do have the highest xG against in this group though, at 2.6.
Enner Valencia has three goals till now, but there are still doubts about his fitness at the moment; Preciado has four shots (none on target) and three key passes.
Ecuador have the lowest xG against in this group at 0.4, they have conceded only one SoT and one goal after two games.
🇮🇷 Iran vs USA 🇺🇸 🏴 Wales vs England 🏴
England still haven’t sealed their spot; they will be going against a Wales side that has looked like the weakest team in this group.
Wales have also scored only once this tournament (via a penalty), they have just five SoT across the two games and an xG of 2.4.
Trippier and Shaw have made three key passes each; Shaw has an xA of 0.6 (highest for England).
Kane has the highest xG+xA/90 mins at 0.59, Saka next at 0.43; they have made two key passes each.
Taremi has the highest xG+xA/90 mins for Iran at 0.91, with nine key passes till now for him; USA have been good defensively though, they have conceded only one goal (penalty) and five SoT across two games.
🇵🇱 Poland vs Argentina 🇦🇷 🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia vs Mexico 🇲🇽
Al Owais or KSA defenders can be considered, Mexico are yet to score and have an xG of 1.00 after two games; Saudi Arabia does have the highest xG against though in this group (3.7) after facing Argentina and Poland.
Messi has an xG+xA/90 mins of 0.68, Di Maria at 0.2, and Lautaro at 0.11; Messi has made four key passes, the same as Di Maria.
Lewandowski meanwhile has the highest xG+xA/90 mins for Poland at 1.06.
Poland is yet to concede in this WC, and have conceded eight SoT; Meanwhile, Argentina has conceded two goals and three SoT.
🇹🇳 Tunisia vs France 🇫🇷 🇦🇺 Australia vs Denmark 🇩🇰
France has pretty much sealed the top spot, reading many posts that the squad could be rotated so France players can be avoided for MD3.
However, there is a risk in not going without Mbappe – 13 shots, xG of 2.3, and six key passes as well; Theo Hernandez can also be considered, with nine key passes and two assists till now.
Meanwhile, Australia has the worst xGA of 5.00 after two games (majorly because of the game against France); Denmark will need to win against Australia to go 2nd in the group and qualify for the KOs.
Eriksen has the highest xG+xA/90 mins at 0.26 (no returns yet), Andreas Christensen at 0.18; Maehle at 0.04, and Olsen at 0.00.
Eriksen has seven key passes and an xA of 0.3; Cornelius has the highest shots (4), followed by Eriksen and Andersen (three each).
🇯🇵 Japan vs Spain 🇪🇸 🇨🇷 Costa Rica vs Germany 🇩🇪
Germany and Spain have an xG of 4.3 and 4.1 respectively, with Japan at 2.3; Costa Rica has the worst xG against in this group at 4.4, Japan next with 3.2, followed by Germany (2.3) and Spain (1.3).
Germany have 36 shots (12 on target) across two games; second only to France (44, 12 on target) for teams that have played two games till now.
Gnabry has eight shots (three on target), Kimmich is next at six (three on target) followed by Gündoğan (five, two on target) and Rüdiger (five, one on target).
xG+xA/90 mins for key Spain assets – Torres (0.84), Morata (0.84, 71 mins), Olmo (0.75), Asensio (0.64), Alba (0.41).
xG+xA/90 mins for key German assets – Gündoğan (0.84), Musiala (0.71), Gnabry (0.56), Kimmich (0.36), Raum (0.21) and Rüdiger (0.16).
🇭🇷 Croatia vs Belgium 🇧🇪 🇨🇦 Canada vs Morocco 🇲🇦
Belgium have the worst xG against in the group (3.9), followed by Canada (3.4) and Morocco (1.5); Croatia have the lowest xG against (0.8) and the highest xG (3.1).
Morocco just beat Belgium 2-0 and will now be facing a Canada side with two losses; they haven’t conceded a goal until now in the tournament (after facing Croatia and Belgium).
Canada have conceded 13 shots on target till now (highest before the MD2 fixtures of groups G and H); at the same time, they have also taken 29 shots (third highest after France and Germany for teams that have played two games).
Ziyech has the highest number of crosses (8) and attempts at goal (5) for Morocco.
Croatia have 11 SoT across two fixtures, Kramaric and Livaja with three.
xG+xA/90 mins for key Croatian assets – Kramarić (0.67), Kovačić (0.42), Perišić (0.33), Modrić (0.32).
🇷🇸 Serbia vs Switzerland 🇨🇭 🇨🇲 Cameroon vs Brazil 🇧🇷
If Brazil win today, their situation will be similar to France and they might want to rotate as well; will have to decide on Brazilian players after the game vs Switzerland.
Cameroon defender Castelletto had a goal and an assist in the game vs Serbia today, priced at only $4M as well.
Meanwhile, goal-scorers for Serbia were Pavlović, Milinković-Savić, and Mitrović; however, Switzerland had an xG against of 0.7 in the game vs Cameroon.
🇰🇷 South Korea vs Portugal 🇵🇹 🇬🇭 Ghana vs Uruguay 🇺🇾
Portugal’s win tonight against Uruguay should help them qualify for the KOs.
Ghana did get two goals against Portugal and they just achieved a 3-2 win vs Korea.
Kudus (6m) definitely can be considered vs Uruguay, with one assist in the first game and two goals today vs Korea.
Korea did play well today, they had 22 shots (seven on target) vs Ghana (seven shots, three on target); they had 64% of the possession as well.
However, I don’t think I will be considering any Korean player, Gue-sung did get two goals today and he is a forward at just $5M; however, there are much better options available.
To summarise, currently considering (wildcard in MD3 for me):
Triple Netherlands (Noppert, Dumfries/Van Dijk and Depay/Gakpo).
Triple England (three of Trippier, Shaw, Saka and Kane).
Double Germany (two of Gündoğan, Musiala, Gnabry, Rüdiger).
Messi will definitely be picked; others being considered – Alba, Olmo, Perišić, Ziyech, Eriksen, Di Maria, Bruno Fernandes, Mbappe/Theo Hernandez (based on early Franc team news).
End of post. All data taken from fbref.
You can find additional World Cup Fantasy resources for the 22/23 season here.
Welcome to your new favourite Fantasy game: Official A-League Fantasy for the Isuzu A-League in Australia. In this article, I will aim to provide an overview of what the Fantasy A-League game is all about. Just a reminder, before we begin, we are heading into Round 7, so the season and League are well and truly underway.
SELECT YOUR COMPLETE TEAM
Your first task is to select a squad of 15 players who will carry your hopes for season 2022-23. Remember, you MUST select a squad of 15 players before the beginning of the next upcoming round in order to be entered into the competition and score points.
You’ll not score any points if your team is incomplete, and you’ll not be entered in the public and private league games. Your team will be removed from leagues if it’s incomplete at the start of the upcoming round.
All players are available for selection to all participants.
Note that some teams may have ‘byes’ or not play for various reasons in some rounds – you’ll not score points in that particular round from those players. Other teams will be scheduled to play twice – you’ll receive points from ALL of their performances in any given round.
Your team will comprise a starting line-up of 11 players and a bench of 4 players. Once you’ve entered your team, you’ll be able to make transfers (trades), and substitutions and set your preferred starting formation.
Every player from each of the 12 teams is available for selection. The only selection restrictions are:a) Your $4,000,000 salary cap; and b) You’ll select the exact number of players required in each position from the FOURposition groups, which are:2 x Goalkeepers
5 x Defenders
5 x Midfielders
3 x Forwards
These restrictions are automatically enforced. You’ll just need to ensure you’ve selected and entered a complete squad.
You can create or join and be a part of up to 10 private or public mini-leagues with your single team entry, where you’ll compete ‘head-to-head’ against friends and relatives or a small group of other participants in the competition.
On joining Official A-League Men Fantasy (unless you followed an invitation), you’ll automatically be added to a Public League. You can then create or join additional Private Leagues (where you can compete against friends) or enter more Public Leagues.
Your league will have its own “fixture,” where your team is matched up against other teams in that league each round. You’ll score a WIN and 3 points if you get a higher fantasy score than the team you “play” against (or 1 point for a draw). Your league ladder ranks your team based on your win/loss record as well as fantasy points difference or total fantasy points scored by each team.
Joining a new PUBLIC LEAGUE will automatically add you to a new Public League that will be auto-filled to form a head-to-head league of 12 teams. You cannot invite others to join Public Leagues.
If you create a PRIVATE LEAGUE, you’ll be able to invite others to this league (via the League screen). As ‘Administrator,’ you’ll also have the ability to REMOVE teams from your league until your league is finalised.
Click on the CHAT icon to open the Activity Feed. You’ll be able to chat and communicate with your league competitors live and direct. You can chat with your league competitors from any screen.
LEAGUE SETUP OPTIONS
12-TEAM LEAGUES (Private & all Public):
– Begin in Round 2;
– All teams play each other once, Rds 2-23.
CREATE YOUR OWN CUSTOM LEAGUES:
– Set your league size – from 6 to 20 teams;
– Set your league’s starting round.
– Pick the format of your own final – Top 4, Top 6, or Top 8.
– Percentage of team total points for secondary league ranking.
All leagues will play a three-round Finals Series over Rounds 24-26 (irrespective of whether it is a Top 4, 6, or 8 format) to find the overall league premiers. In some instances, and dependant on league size, the bottom half of the league may also play a minor Finals Series.
Depending on any custom league settings, or if joining the game in a later round, your team may produce an UNEVEN draw, where some teams may play against each other once, others twice, etc. – or not play some teams at all).
Now that we are done with matchday 1 of World Cup Fantasy, tipster Bakchod FPL shares his observations and his plan for matchday 2 in this article.
14/16 games done in MD1, sharing our observations and early plans for MD2 in this article.
🇶🇦 Qatar 0-2 Ecuador 🇪🇨
Enner Valencia scored twice, the first was a penalty, and the second was an excellent header assisted by Preciado.
Valencia did walk off because of a suspected knee injury, but he will be fit for the Netherlands game, as per manager Gustavo Alfaro.
While he has an attractive price of $6.5M, I don’t think I will be letting go of one of my premium forwards (like Messi, Kane or Neymar) to get Valencia for the match against the Netherlands; Giroud is priced just slightly higher at $7.5M.
Estrada had an xA of 0.4 (highest for Ecuador); Preciado had an xA of 0.4 and completed the maximum passes (4) and crosses (3) in the 18-yard box for Ecuador.
Qatar, meanwhile, didn’t have a single shot on target. They face Senegal next.
🇸🇳 Senegal 0-2 Netherlands 🇳🇱
Bergwijn, 3rd most selected Dutch player (15.8%), had just 24 touches in the 78 minutes he was on – the lowest among all players that played 75+ minutes; he didn’t take a single shot during the game.
Gakpo had an xA of 0.3, and he looked good with a goal and 13 crosses in the game (7 corner kicks). The next for highest crosses for the Netherlands was Blind with four. Gakpo is categorized as a forward, though, at $7M.
Dumfries had 3 crosses and an xA of 0.2.
Noppert made some good saves. In fact, Senegal had a higher xG (0.9) than the Netherlands (0.7); at $4.5M, he can be considered as the Netherlands should get at least one more cleansheet in the next two fixtures (their final group game is against Qatar).
Van Dijk (owned by 24.5% of teams) had two shots as well (xG of 0.1); while De Jong did get an assist, he just had two key passes and zero shots during the game – at $8.5M, he doesn’t look like a good fantasy pick.
🏴 England 6-2 Iran 🇮🇷
Saka ($8M) had three shots and two goals in the 69 minutes he was on; he also had an xA of 0.2; Kane didn’t score but made two assists. He didn’t have a single shot in the game.
Kane did walk off injured. Southgate will be taking a late call on Kane.
Sterling ($8.5M) got a goal and had one key pass as well.
Bellingham ($7.5M) did also get a goal, but he had just one shot and no key passes (although he had an xA of 0.2). Saka is definitely the better midfield option.
Shaw and Trippier looked good – they were on corners and had seven and six crosses, respectively (top 2 for England). Shaw also got an assist; Kane was third for crosses with three.
Maguire got an assist and did hit the post once via a header; while he was subbed off with an illness, he will be fit for the USA game.
Grealish, Rashford and Wilson had returns but they didn’t start, so I don’t think you should consider them.
While Taremi did get two goals for Iran, he is priced at $7M; other forwards in the 6.5-7.5 range with returns are Valencia (11 points), Giroud (11), and Torres (10).
🇺🇸 USA 1-1 Wales 🏴
Weah did get the goal, but he just had 33 touches and one shot in the 87 minutes that he was on; Pulisic didn’t get any shots but did make two key passes.
USA do play England next, though USA assets can be avoided for MD2.
Meanwhile, Bale did get the goal for Wales via a penalty. He didn’t have any other shots during the game; Moore had two shots and an xG of 0.4. He didn’t start, though.
Davies had two shots as well and the third-highest xG for Wales (0.3); the defender is priced at $5M, though.
🇦🇷 Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia 🇸🇦
Messi had two shots (xG of 1), Di Maria and Martinez had two shots each (xG of 0.1); Messi had the highest key passes as well (3), Di Maria next with two.
Argentina were creating chances, but Saudi Arabia kept high defensive lines which led to a couple of disallowed goals; KSA found easy gaps in the defence as well in the second half.
Argentina play Mexico next, who didn’t look very good themselves vs Poland. It is a must-win game for Argentina.
🇲🇽 Mexico 0-0 Poland 🇵🇱
– Lewandowski missed a penalty and only had one shot in the game (which wasn’t on target); he did have two key passes as well, the same as Zieliński. – Vega had five shots for Mexico, but none on target; Lozana and Chavez had two key passes each.
🇫🇷 France 4-1 Australia 🇦🇺
Mbappe ($11.5M) had seven shots, three key passes and an xG of 1.2; Giroud ($7.5M) had five shots and an xG of 1.7.
Griezmann had an excellent game, with no returns but three shots and five key passes; Rabiot did get a goal and an assist as well.
Theo Hernandez also had two shots, and second-highest key passes at four; he also got an assist.
France do play Denmark next; Denmark had eight clean sheets in qualifiers and kept a clean sheet against Tunisia as well.
🇩🇰 Denmark 0-0 Tunisia 🇹🇳
Cornelius had three shots and an xG of 0.1 in the 26 minutes he played after being subbed on.
Top scorers for Denmark in the qualifiers and the highest selected players – Maehle (33% selected, one shot and one key pass), and Olsen (15% selected, zero shots and key passes).
Eriksen was creating lots of chances with five key passes in the game.
🇩🇪 Germany 1-2 Japan 🇯🇵
Gnabry had six shots, xG of 0.7; he also had the 2nd highest xA 0f 0.2 with two key passes; meanwhile, Kimmich had four shots (third highest) with an XG of 0.2 and had the highest xA of 0.9 with three key passes, took corners as well.
Gnabry is owned by only 2.2% of teams, Kimmich by 8.4%.
Highest owned players for Germany – Sane (16%, didn’t feature), Musiala (13%, three shots but none on target, xG of 0.3 and xA of 0.1) and Rudiger (13%, also three shots but none on target).
Doan and Asano, the goal scorers for Japan – both came on as substitutes; Asano did get five shots in the 34 minutes that he was on.
Hiroki Sakai (defender, $4M) can be considered for MD2 as Japan play Costa Rica (who didn’t have a single shot during the game); good chance of a cleansheet, also Sakai had the highest xG+xA for Japan at 0.6.
🇪🇸 Spain 7-0 Costa Rica 🇨🇷
Just like Bergwijn, Asensio is starting as the forward but is categorized as a midfielder; Asensio had the highest shots for Spain (five, one on target) and an xG of 0.8.
Olmo is next for shots (four, two on target), xG of 1; Olmo is also on corners for Spain.
Ferran Torres got two goals and had an xG of 0.9.
While Pedri played only 56 minutes, he did have three key passes and an xA of 0.7; Pedri is also the highest-owned player for Spain (8.7%). Jordi Alba is next at 5.6% (he got an assist).
🇲🇦 Morocco 0-0 Croatia 🇭🇷
Perišić and Modrić had one shot each, and neither had any key pass; Modric is owned by 14% of teams and Perisic by 7%.
Croatia play Canada next; while Canada did lose 1-0 to Belgium, they looked the better side of the two.
🇧🇪 Belgium 1-0 Canada 🇨🇦
Batshuayi had five shots and an xG of 0.5; at $6.5M, he is a good pick. KDB had four key passes, and Courtois made a few great saves.
Jonathan David had seven shots (none on target) for Canada, xG of 1; Buchanan had three shots (none on target) with an xG of 0.5.
Group G & H
Switzerland beat Cameroon 1-0, and Embolo got the winner.
Meanwhile, Uruguay-South Korea ended 0-0. Uruguay did play well, but they face Portugal next, so will hold off on Uruguayan assets for now.
At the time of writing this article, there are 15 forwards with more than six points. However, there are only 10 midfielders.
Of these 10 – four are from Spain, three are from England and Rabiot, Gündoğan, and Klassen complete the top 10.
While I have premium forwards in Messi, Kane and Neymar, and the former two have returned; my top-scoring midfielder is at two points.
Defenders are getting cleansheets as well, so the midfield is the area to be strengthened.
I won’t be opting for the wildcard in MD2. Not sure of the hack to use the wildcard in MD2 and also use it for MD3.
Currently considering Kane (doubtful because of the injury), Olsen and Modrić out for Giroud and 2 out of Saka/Kimmich/Asensio/Olmo (although Spain do play Germany) for a hit.
Will be retaining Di Maria and De Paul; hoping for a Messi-inspired performance vs Mexico.
All data taken from fbref.
You can find additional World Cup Fantasy resources for the 22/23 season here.
With the World Cup starting tomorrow, I wanted to share my often aberrant and atypical views of the World Cup chances and Fantasy game ahead of us, from my opinions of the group stage all the way to fantasy picks.
A very peculiar group for me and one to avoid in the fantasy sense. But why when the Netherlands have a clear path through?
It’s true that the Netherlands are high as seeds here, but let’s take a look at their opponents:
Senegal: Strongest team in Africa, almost everyone is playing in the top 10 European leagues, a team that most often scores either 0 or 1 goal due to their defensive style (possibly the QF exit in 2002 leaving a scar on their head coach Cisse?) that doesn’t suit the roster. They can easily kill the rhythm and torture every opponent to a draw.
Should I get anyone?Diallo (4M) and Sarr (6.5M) seem to be the main options. Iliman Ndiaye (4.5M) could be a nice differential if given a start.
Ecuador: A true CONMEBOL hit who had chances for the 2nd spot throughout the qualifiers but slipped in the end. After many players went to better clubs, they don’t seem to have the goal-scoring force and ability to beat anyone like they did before, marked by the fact that they scored three goals in the last six games while also being unbeaten.
Should I get anyone?No.
Why?They’re not consistent.
Surely someone?Ahh, I guess Moises Caicedo (5.5M) is okay and is involved in most goals. Estupinan is a bargain at 4.5M, so suit yourself.
Qatar: The all-but-not-controversial hosts, 2019 Asia Cup winners who lost a lot of their form recently and haven’t been playing at their best. However, pulling all their NT players from the domestic league to play friendlies for a month before the Euros (similar to Saudi Arabia) and the home-ground bias might just be enough to pull off some upsets. In a group with Senegal and Ecuador lacking offensive ideas and two of their best players being strikers Ali and Afif, everything is possible.
Should I get anyone?If anyone scores, it’s most likely the aforementioned duo of Afif and Ali, both priced at 4.5M. I wouldn’t bother with anyone else.
We need to look beyond just England here. But why when England have played the 3rd place match in 2018 and are the European vice-champs?
It’s true that they are, but let’s take a look at their opponents:
USA: I’ve recently seen a Twitter post saying that the USMNT is basically a squad of Football Manager wonderkids, and that might be the best way to put it. A team built for big things at home in 2026 still has some serious heat in their roster. However, many agree Berhalter mismanages them and that sacking him will need to happen if they want to reach the next step in Project 2026.
Should I get anyone?Ferreira (5.5M) is set to start and has impressed in the qualifiers. In the absence of their best strikers in Pefok and Pepi, he’s set to shine under the spotlight. However, the lack of big games might hurt him. Scally (4.5M) and Robinson (4M) are also set to start, but bear in mind the USMNT isn’t a great team defensively.
Wales: A team with a stack of talent up front, led by eternal Gareth Bale, but a really shaky defence and buildup. It’s a great success to even be in the World Cup, so they’ll try to play it safe and pass the group by upsetting the top 2 teams.
Should I get anyone? Bale (8M) and James (6M) are clear picks, with Neco Williams as a bargain at 4.5M.
Iran: Formerly the best team in Asia, faced with turmoil at home and injuries before the tournament, it’s difficult to say what to expect from Iran.
Should I get anyone? Taremi (7M) is the leader of this team, with Azmoun on the sidelines. Kanaani (4.5M) is a solid defensive option, with the midfield options out of form.
We need to look beyond just Argentina here. But why when Argentina haven’t lost in ages?
It’s true that they haven’t, but let’s take a look at their opponents:
Mexico: Nobody ever talks about Mexico, but they’re always at the WC, always passing their group, and they never reach their infamous quinto partido. They were handed a fairly interesting group, and it remains to be seen how they manage it.
Should I get anyone?Lozano (6M) is all that they needed in the last years. The meme himself, Ochoa (5M), is there for the brave.
Poland: A team that used to be a dark horse in every tournament they attended. Years passed, everyone’s older, they’re still qualifying but sort of flying under the radar. With the opening games against Mexico and Saudi Arabia, there’s a good chance they’ll know their fate by matchday 3 and surviving the first two games with two clean sheets remains possible.
Should I get anyone? I don’t think Lewandowski (10M) will do a whole lot at the tournament for his price tag of 10M, but he should offer a few goals with a grateful schedule. Jakub Kiwior (4M) is a starter and a potentially cheap enabler.
Saudi Arabia: The best team in Asia through the qualifying campaign, only losing to Japan away in 18 games. With everyone in only three domestic clubs, it’s boosting the chemistry to unreal levels. Also, their transition is brilliant, and coach Renard is among the best NT coaches managing outside Europe, with two AFCONs under his belt, focusing on physical and mental preparedness. On the road for over a month since the Saudi league got stopped, and the preparation friendlies results seem promising.
Should I get anyone? All eyes are on Salem Al-Dawsari (4.5M) as the leader of this team or Saleh Al-Shehri (5M). The absence of Al-Muwallad might be felt, but the team is still strong in attack. Kanno is a versatile pick at 4M as well.
We need to look beyond just France here. But why when France is literally the holding champions?
Winners curse, and everyone is injured, but let’s take a look at their opponents:
Denmark: They won twice against France in the last six months, which probably says enough. The brilliant form that led to the Euros semifinal and the (un)deserved loss against England has continued. I wouldn’t be surprised if they topped the group.
Should I get anyone? Friendship ended if you don’t have Skov Olsen (6M), who impressed throughout qualifying and is set to start. Captain Eriksen (8M) and Maehle (4.5M) are also popular and good picks.
Australia: A team that surprisingly passed the intercontinental playoffs vs Peru and booked a spot in Qatar. Without a single star and a fairly old lineup, it’s really hard to predict what they’re capable of. Personally the weakest team in the tournament for me.
Should I get anyone? No, but if you really want to, Goodwin (4.5M) is red-hot at the moment, with Hrustić still being unfit. Mooy (5M) doesn’t justify the price tag in my opinion.
Tunisia: Tunisia never seem to make a name for themselves, scoring only one goal since 1978 and after a disappointing AFCON, it’s hard to believe anything else might happen in Qatar. Maybe they can beat Australia and at least bring a smile to their compatriots faces once.
Should I get anyone? If anyone, it should be Khazri (4.5M), but he’s set to miss the initial game(s), so potential picks are Shkiri (5M) and Jaziri (4.5M).
We need to look beyond just Germany here. But why when they will advance from the group surely?
Their teams are too young to guarantee great results, but let’s take a look at their opponents:
Spain: One of the younger squads of Spain, led by Luis Enrique, barely has any standout players. However, the quality and diversity in offensive options make them a team that’s hard to look over. Many don’t see them going far, but with all the injuries and reliance on Barcelona players, we might be onto something here.
Should I get anyone?Not really, but if Sarabia starts, he might be a good punt.
Japan: A team that relies on the colony of their players in European leagues. However, having Minamino, Kubo, Kamada, Endo, and others brings a decent level of quality to this team, so don’t be surprised if they cause an upset versus the top 2 seeded teams.
Should I get anyone?It’s certainly a risky territory, but Mitoma (5.5M) and Kamada (5.5M) have been solid.
Costa Rica: A team playing atypical football, becoming somewhat of a WC regular is certainly the weakest one in the group, but they can cause some issues for the leaders with their double defensive block.
Should I get anyone?No, I don’t think anyone is good or young enough, not even Ruiz.
We need to look beyond just Belgium here. But why when they will advance from the group surely and are the 3rd place holders?
Their team has been through a change of generation, so let’s take a look at their opponents:
Morocco: After sacking their coach Halilhodžić and relying on domestic coaching talent, Mazraoui and Ziyech are back to the Moroccan team, but it still looks fairly unconvincing to me. The biggest challenge will be fitting all the stars into a well-oiled core group.
Should I get anyone?Not really, but Ziyech (7M) is a fair punt if you trust their chances. I know I do not.
Croatia: Big shoes to fill for the aging Croatian team as they’re defending their Russia silver. The team seems capable of replacing their top talent in all positions except for central midfield, where Modrić and Kovačić have to do much more than before, adapting to Brozović, Vlašić and all other passers-by in different formations. The defending looks to be better, with Gvardiol looking mature, but Dalić’s call on whether to start the reliable veteran duo Lovren-Vida or not will shape their chances and stamina throughout the tournament.
Should I get anyone?I would only recommend Perišić (7.5M) since he shines at big tournaments.
Canada: A team that shocked everyone by their amazing performances through the qualification stages (although some will say choosing frozen venues helped a lot), with young stars in Davies, David, Buchanan, Kone and others, playing rapid transition football, sort of a North American Gegenpressing evolution. I think their chances are good if they come in with the right mindset.
Should I get anyone?Davies (5M) is a must-have for every team, playing as either a winger or a #10 for his NT. Jonathan David (6M) is still hot, so I recommend him as well.
We need to look beyond just Brazil here. But why when they are the bookies’ favorites to win it?
The group is tightly contested, so not even Neymar can be guaranteed of 9pts. So let’s take a look at their opponents:
Switzerland: Switzerland have made a name for themselves at big competitions, but things haven’t really been going their way recently. A tournament where every major player is around 30 might be the last one we see of this generation. Handed a difficult group with Serbia and Brazil as old acquaintances, the former seeking revenge on them, passing the group will be a major challenge.
Should I get anyone?Embolo was great at the Euros and continued to score in pre-tournament friendlies and the Nations League. However, for some reason, he isn’t in the game, so I’d suggest Vargas (6M) as the next best thing.
Serbia: After years of being shadowed by Croatia and other Balkan teams when it came to their chemistry and performance on the field, Serbia finally has a great coach in former Yugoslav legend Stojković – Piksi. A really potent team with a high level of the starting XI but a lack of options on the bench. Will it be enough to pass the group?
Should I get anyone?Tadić (8M) has a steep price tag but is their main creator. With Mitrović still out at the beginning of the WC, all eyes are on Vlahović (8.5M) to provide goals.
Cameroon: A team that was often criticized for their poor AFCON organization and potential referee bribes, they arrived in Qatar after heroically catching up with the deficit away from home in Algeria. With several class players in Anguissa, Toko-Ekambi, Choupo-Moting, Mbeumo and Onana, they won’t be easy prey to the nominally higher-seeded Serbia and Brazil.
Should I get anyone? Difficult to say, but we knowthe attacking duo of Toko-Ekambi (7M) and Choupo-Moting (7.5M) combine for most of their goals, so I wouldn’t look any further than them.
We need to look beyond just Portugal here. But why when it’s a squad full of potential and Cristiano?
The group is possibly the hardest to pass of all, so let’s take a look at their opponents:
South Korea: It will be interesting to see what this group of players does with Son not fully fit yet. They don’t directly rely on him, but as a team that concedes a fair bit of counter-attack goals and plays to outscore their opponents, will they be able to do so without him?
Should I get anyone?Probably not, but Kang-In Lee (6M) is an interesting player to me and might shine on the WC at only 21yo.
Ghana: After shockingly eliminating Nigeria in the African playoffs, where they barely created a chance, the board of Ghana FA realized their team couldn’t do much without additionally recruiting players with their roots in Ghana. They recruited Tariq Lamptey, Inaki Williams, Patric Pfeiffer and two more to give this team additional depth. After a win in the final pre-tournament friendly versus Switzerland, their hopes will be set high. The will to get revenge on Uruguay for what happened in South Africa 12 years ago never fades,
Should I get anyone?Jordan Ayew (6M) is the main creator of this team, even with the European additions, so look no further.
Uruguay: Many consider them one of the black horses alongside Denmark, and it could actually come true after a solid change of generation, and this being Luis Suarez’s final World Cup. Marking 2022 with a title in his home team Nacional and a good result at the WC could be great.
Should I get anyone? De Arrascaeta (5.5M) should be in many teams as he offers great value for money in a good team. Otherwise, Nunez (8M) is a good pick if you want to avoid the very premium strikers.
Thanks and good luck in your Fantasy journeys. But wait, what about the favorites, are we not gonna get insights on those? Sure, here are my top 3 picks for each of the favorites: Netherlands: Dumfries (6M), Berghuis (7M), Noppert (4.5M).
I’m personally not a fan of them as I don’t see many goals happening in their group.
England: Trippier (5M), Shaw (5M), Mount (7.5M).
Kane is not an option here since he definitely won’t be good against teams who double block.
Argentina: Martinez (8M), Di Maria (8.5M), De Paul (5M).
I think De Paul provides great value for money, you can get Messi but I don’t think he’s worth it. I expect them to struggle vs Saudi Arabia.
A young and exciting Germany team with the creative spine from Bayern and youngster Musiala nailed, Kimmich on set pieces and Rudiger at the receiving end, no doubts here. Would consider Fullkrug if he were the No1 pick for a striker.
Lukaku is not fit yet so expect Batshuayi in most teams. Carrasco has impressed as usual and KDB is just inevitable. We all remember the second half vs Denmark at the Euros, after Denmark battered Belgium, he sole handedly turned the match around.
Brazil: Neymar (10.5M), Richarlison (7.5M), Lucas Paqueta (7M).
Three of the most nailed players and with Raphinha vs Antony for the winger position, whoever is picked by Tite is a good option. Portugal: Cancelo (6M), Bruno (9.5M), Ronaldo (10M).
No surprises here.
You can find additional World Cup Fantasy resources for the 22/23 season here.
We take a look at the best players in each position including value picks in our World Cup Fantasy player rankings for matchday 1.
One of the best forwards in the tournament against arguably the worst team in the league. And the injury to Benzema actually raises Mbappé's ceiling because now he will be on penalties and he also pairs better with Giroud who is a dream partner for any forward because of the amount of space that he creates.
This man needs no introduction. He wasn't at his best last season but his form this season (12G, 14A in 19 matches for PSG) should squash any doubt.
If you want to double down on the best fixture of the matchday.
USA fans don't have much hope from their defence and I don't blame them. Long's inclusion to the World Cup squad, let alone the starting XI is questionable considering his recent performances for the team. Wales probably have the fastest front three in the tournament and it is possibly the worst matchup for Berhalter's high line USA team.
Richarlison's club form isn't the best but it is hard to ignore him if he hasn't blanked in his last six games for NT with seven goals and two assists in the same period. He is also $4M cheaper than Neymar and plays as the striker for the team.
Keeping his bad form and off the pitch issues aside, he is still the focal point of the team's attack and don't underestimate the ability of the Portuguese players to win penalties. There might be a few of them and I would back Ronaldo to score every time.
Other than their last game against Germany which ended 3-3, England have scored just one goal in their previous five matches. Teams that park the bus are their kryptonite and sitting back and defending for most of the game happens to be Iran's biggest strength. The upside isn't there to rank him over other premium forwards.
Massively overlooked but Embolo has been on fire in France with 7G+2A in 15 matches in Ligue 1. He also has the highest goal conversion rate among those with over five goals (41%, tied with Neymar Jr.) and he could be a good differential *IF he gets added to the game* but it wouldn't surprise me if he is never added because the chaos that this game has brought has drained me of my optimism.
Locked on all set-pieces for Denmark and should rack up plenty of bonus points throughout the tournament.
Kevin de Bruyne
Angel Di Maria
I'm a Di Maria believer and I believe he will be the most important player for Argentina in attack along with Messi. Yes, his record in the World Cup isn't the best (2G in 13 games) but he is predicted to play OOP up top and has six goals plus two assists in his last eight games for NT.
People should be talking more about Musiala for a player who has 16 goal involvements in 14 Bundesliga matches at just 19. I think that he will be the star performer for Germany this tournament and there will be a lot more talk about him once the World Cup ends. That being said, I think Japan will make it hard for Germany to score like Oman did so his ceiling does seem limited.
Netherlands is a team that is expected to surprise and I think Bergwijn is one player that will turn into a fantasy favourite. He has six goals and an assist in his last nine games for NT against teams such as Denmark, Germany and Poland. Bergwijn is also priced generously at $7M and will be playing up top against Senegal.
Sané will be playing in his favourite left-wing position for NT where he has seven goals and three assists in just nine games so I am hoping that he can replicate his UCL form in the tournament.
A bit split between him and Bilva but I think Fernandes will be more involved in attack and will also have a higher floor because of bonus points for key passes and tackles which gives him a slight edge.
Every Spanish attacker seems out of form but if I had to pick a differential from the team it would probably be hero of Euro 2020 - Pablo Sarabia.
It might seem absurd until you realize that Rabiot is having a career season with 5G and 2A in 16 games this season across the Serie A and Champions League. And if you are expecting France to thump Australia by 3-4 goals or more then why not?
A bit pricey and you can probably find differentials with more potential but he does have four goals and two assists in his last nine starts for the team.
If you've watched Dumfries play at the Euros, you know how lethal he is in front of goal. Despite being a defender, you will often see him in the box with the forwards while attacking and Van Gaal has tweaked his tactics to accomodate for Dumfries bombing forward so often.
Now with star player Mané being ruled out for Senegal (he was involved in 10 of the last 19 or 52% of the goals for the team), I think there is a good chance that the Netherlands keep a cleansheet in every group stage game.
The cheapest France defender and also has the most attacking potential since Theo Hernández is expected to be benched.
On set-pieces and has a favorable group with a good chance of keeping a cleansheet in every game. It might also be a good time to remind you that England conceded just two goals in the entire Euro 2020 tournament. Once against Denmark in the semis and against Italy in the final.
Fun fact: 9/12 goals scored by England in the last World Cup when they were managed by Southgate came from set-pieces.
You thought Dumfries was the most attacking defender? Denmark have lots of big names in their squad but the top-scorer for the team under the current coach is none other than Mæhle with nine goals and five assists in 30 matches from left wing-back. He was also the joint top-scorer in Group F of European World Cup Qualification with five goals as Denmark kept a cleansheet in 8/10 games which was also highest among teams in Europe.
Otamendi has some goal threat from set-pieces but still not as much as left-backs Tagliafico or Acuña who are not nailed. Argentina are the bookmaker's favourites to reach the final so you might want to fill your quota of players from the Albicelestes.
Spain haven't recorded less than 60% possession in a match since 2020 against Germany (59%) so I think they will make it tough for Costa Rica to even create chances let alone score,
Belgium's backline might be aging but Canada's frontline aren't doing too great themselves in terms of recent form.
Sosa is in top form right before the tournament with four assists in just his last five Bundesliga games so it is hard to find a better enabler at the price.
A bit unconventional especially when everyone is expecting the game to end Ecuador 0-1 Qatar because of some reason I won't mention but it is worth noting that Ecuador have kept a cleansheet in each of their last six games so they aren't as easy to score against as you would think. They also had the most shots (70), goals (8) and xG (7.57) from set-pieces in qualifying so I think Torres could be a big goal threat in the box.
Best cleansheet odds by far but might not have a lot of shots to save, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.
The best keeper that plays early.
A cheaper alternative to Messi and had the same amount of goals in qualifying.
Andreas Skov Olsen
He was the star for Denmark during the qualifiers with five goals and three assists from just 10 games. Even at a club level for Club Brugge he has 12 goal involvements in 21 games and this could be the tournament that puts him on the map.
The best budget keeper. Also plays on the last day of matchday 1 if you want to sub him in.
If hosts Qatar were to somehow get a dodgy goal, you would think it has to be the homegrown hero Afif who has to score.
According to Opta, Matt Turner has the best post-shot xG among all keepers playing in the tournament. So you can expect saves if not cleansheets at least.
Flick is yet to find his best defence and hopes aren't high so if I had to pick a possible cleansheet buster against Germany it would be Kamada. He is at the peak of his career with 12 goals and four assists in just 22 games this season. Will also be on set-pieces.
You might remember him from his exploits in the UCL. He is the biggest talent that Ghana has and when he has been paired with forwards that haven't scored for the NT in months and even years, he will have to shoulder a lot of the responsibility if they are to get out of their group. I also expect him to be good for bonus points considering his high work rate.
The only midfielder in the game priced at $3.5M and somehow predicted to start too.
The cheapest starting defender in the game.
LVG seems like he might start Noppert but any of the Dutch keepers could start and I won't try to get into LVG's head too much.
You can find additional World Cup Fantasy resources for the 22/23 season here.