The knockout stages of the World Cup is here, and tipster Bakchod FPL shares his observations and plans for the World Cup Fantasy round of 16.
We look at each of the knockout fixtures one by one and mention the key picks based on their performances in the group stage.
Factors that we are looking at:
xG for/xG against at a team level
xG+xAG/90 mins for key picks
🇳🇱 Netherlands vs. USA 🇺🇸
While the Netherlands have scored five goals and the USA have scored two, xG and SoT are similar for the two teams after three games.
USA has a higher xG of 2.6 with seven SoT, while the Netherlands has an xG of 2.4 with eight SoT.
Netherlands and USA are evenly matched for xG against as well, both have an xG against of 2.7 and have conceded one goal each.
xG+xAG/90 mins for key players: Depay – 0.6 (139 mins), FDJ – 0.36, Klaasen – 0.32 (145 mins), Gakpo – 0.22; Pulisic – 0.49, Weah – 0.34, Dest 0.26.
Depay has six shots (two on target) despite the fewer minutes, Gakpo is next with four shots (three on target); Gakpo has scored three times and has the highest xA as well for the Netherlands across three games – 0.5 (on corners as well).
Pulisic highest for shots (6), SoT (2), xG (0.6), xA (0.6), and key passes (5) for USA.
Noppert has a save% of 90.9% (10/11 SoTA saved).
🇦🇷 Argentina vs. Australia 🇦🇺
Argentina has an xG of 6.00 after three games, 17 SoT; meanwhile, xG for Australia at 1.7, seven SoT.
Argentina have the lowest xG against (in the group stage) of 0.7, three SoT; Australia have the fourth highest xG against at 5.6, 13 SoT.
xG+xAG/90 mins for key players: Messi – 1.03, Tagliafico – 0.99 (102 mins), Alvarez – 0.65 (138 mins), Lisandro Martinez – 0.62 (122 mins), Mac Allister – 0.38 (151 mins), De Paul – 0.23, Di Maria – 0.22 (216 mins).
Messi was highest for SoT at six, Alvarez next at four (138 mins); Messi highest for key passes as well at nine, Di Maria next at six.
Only four Argentina players have played all minutes till now – Messi, De Paul, Otamendi, and Martínez.
🇯🇵 Japan vs. Croatia 🇭🇷
Japan and Croatia have both scored four goals in the group stages; however, Japan did score two each vs. Spain and Germany, while Croatia scored all four against Canada.
Croatia has a slightly higher xG at 3.8, Japan at 3.6; Croatia has 15 SoT vs. 10 for Japan.
Japan has conceded three goals (xG against of 4.3), and Croatia has conceded once (xG against of 3.8).
Just 16 teams progress to the knockout stages of the bigger football tournament in the world, including some favourites and some unexpected teams that fought their way through the group stages. In this article, tipster Aaron shares his thoughts on each of the last 16 games in World Cup Fantasy.
With the matches in the group stages having wrapped up. I would know like to look ahead to the games to come. The Last 16 matches. I’ll take a look at these games through the eyes and eyes of Gaffr.
🇳🇱 Netherlands vs. USA 🇺🇸
From the Netherlands, the standout performer was PSV attacker Cody Gakpo. In Gaffr Gakpo, will only cost you 6.5M. I believe he is worthy of outlaying that amount of cash for a player who will undoubtedly move after the World Cup. Other than that, I would like to pick out the back line for some praise. Daley Blind, Denzel Dumfries, Virgil van Dijk, and Nathan Aké all made the difference as the Netherlands came through the group stage with minimum effort.
From a USA point of view, points are spread evenly around the group. Timothy Weah, on 17 points, is their forward of choice. Christian Pulisic is their man in midfield, while at the back, Sergiño Dest and Antonee Robinson have been mainstays at the backline for the Americans. This game will be interesting as the USA, I see, is building to the next World Cup and will be looking to go as far, but if they go out to the Netherlands, it’ll be how they go out.
🏴 England vs. Senegal 🇸🇳
Gaffr points are very much spread around the England side ahead of the Last 16 match vs. Senegal. Up front, Marcus Rashford and Harry Kane almost share the points: 23 – 19. In the English midfield, there are three standouts, just like the forward line. Bukayo Saka, Jude Bellingham, and Raheem Sterling share the points between them. 19 points and 17 apiece for all three players. England will more than likely be favourites going into this game, but the Senegalese will be up for the task.
Ismaïla Sarr has been the main man for Senegal heading into this game vs. England at the weekend. 22 points from the midfield maestro. Iliman Ndiaye is closest to Sarr in Gaffr on 11 points. Chelsea defender Kalidou Koulibaly and Yousseff Sabaly are the duo at the back, the Chelsea man scoring the all-important goal against Ecuador to secure a last-16 spot.
🇫🇷 France vs. Poland 🇵🇱
Starting with France and in the defensive end, Theo Hernandez has been Le Bleux’s main man with 22 points in Gaffr. The two obvious picks are Kylian Mbappé and Antoine Greizmann, who are both sitting on 32 and 22 points, respectively. Only six points behind Griezmann is Olivier Giroud, or ‘that sexy Frenchman’. Heading into the Last 16 game against Poland, the French are obvious favourites.
Poland though will be looking outside the olive cart. If you watched the match vs. Argentina recently, you’d have noticed big time that they were all about defence. That bears itself out in Gaffr, as the majority of Poland’s points all come from their defenders. Bereszyński, Glik, Cash, and Kiwior have all come away with 14+ points so far. I doubt they can continue past the French in the next round.
🇦🇷 Argentina vs. Australia 🇦🇺
There is only one player for Argentina: Lionel Messi. 35 points to date in Gaffr. Between the midfield and defence, points are more or less shared around. Enzo Fernandez, Angel Di Maria, and Alexis Mac Allister are the differentials for Messi to pick from in the midfield. The same goes for Nicolas Otamendi and Nahuel Molina in the Argentine backline. Messi and Co. now move on to face surely the surprise package of the tournament: Australia after getting a little fright against Saudi Arabia.
Moving onto the surprise package of the tournament: Australia. Much like Argentina, points are shared around the midfield and defence for Australia. If you are looking for a differential pick from the Aussies, then look no further. Other than Mitchell Duke on 6.0M, it’s 5.5M and under for these Australians. Matthew Leckie, Riley McGree, and Craig Goodwin in midfield will allow you to spread the cash around. Stoke City defender Harry Souttar from Hearts, Kye Rowles, and Aziz Behich are our picks for Australia.
The same goes for Croatia, in that points are spread around the team in Gaffr. Ivan Perisic in midfield sits on 20 points, but three follow on 10 points apiece: Luka Modrić, Mateo Kovačić, and Marko Livaja all currently sit on 10 points. Celtic FC defender Juranović and former Liverpool defensive line Dejan Lovren are both doing well on 19 points. Not too far behind are Joško Gvardiol, and young Borna Sosa sit on 18 points. All four will cost a max of 5.5M in Gaffr.
🇲🇦 Morocco vs. Spain 🇪🇸
Morocco have to be again, one of the surprises of the World Cup so far. Also, they have to be seen as differentials, such as Japan and Australia. Achraf Hakimi and Romain Saïss of Wolves at the back have been stalwarts, along with Hakim Ziyech of Chelsea in the midfield have helped to carry Morocco to the Last 16 stage. On a personal level, Youssef En-Nesyri of Sevilla has really come to the fore for Morocco this tournament, with one goal in three matches so far.
It is all about ‘the pass masters’ of Spain then, all across the board. Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Unai Simon starts us off on 14 points so far. FC Barcelona defender Jordi Alba follows on, who stands on 26 points. Over double digits ahead of his closest colleague Cesar Azpilicueta on 12 points. The same is said for Dani Olmo on 22 points, with Gavi being a little bit closer in terms of points at 13.
🇧🇷 Brazil vs. South Korea 🇰🇷
Again for Brazil, much like the last couple of teams. Points are shared throughout the team. Marquinhos and Thiago Silva are the two main defenders on 19 and 12 points, respectively. In midfield, it is where it is at, though, with points shared throughout the side. Richarlison leads the way with 19 points, closely followed by Vinicius jr with 17. Casemiro is not too far behind on 16, and Raphinha is bringing up the rear, so to speak, on 12 points.
Much like their AFC counterparts in Japan, South Korea are one of the darlings of this tournament. If you are looking for differentials for the next round, South Korea or Korea Republic are the team to look towards. For example, In-Beom only costs 5.0M but has scored 10 points to date from midfield. In the defensive line, Young-Gwon and Moon-Hwan are costing people 4.5M and 4.0M, respectively, and currently reside on 17 and 14 points overall.
🇵🇹 Portugal vs. Switzerland 🇨🇭
For Portugal, the only man in midfield is Bruno Fernandes on 27 points, absolutely bossing things. Up front, other than Ronaldo, things are pretty even amongst his striker counterparts. Joao Felix, Rafael Leao, and Braga winger Ricardo Horta are sharing points getting responsibilities, with all three on 10 points so far.
For Switzerland, Breel Embolo is the standout pick if you are looking for some attacking coverage now that players like Jordan Ayew have left proceedings. Other than that, once again, points are shared, and the price output isn’t too much for the Swiss players. Xherdan Shaqiri leads the way with 21 points, with Remo Freuler, Ruben Vargas, and Djibril Sow all clustered on 14, 13, and 12 points, respectively.
Finally, how do you think these teams will fair?
You can find additional World Cup Fantasy resources for the 22/23 season here.
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.
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.