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.

Group A

🇶🇦 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.

Group B

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 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.

Group C

🇦🇷 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.

Group D

🇫🇷 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.

Group E

🇩🇪 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).

Group F

🇲🇦 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.

To summarise:

  • 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.

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