FPL Holly is back this week with her selection of captain picks for the World Cup semi finals. There’s a smattering of England bias, since “Football’s coming home” but the Clueless Husband Pick brings things right back down to earth, as he goes against our home nation once more.
Wow. The Quarter Finals were incredible, and we are now down to just four teams for the final two rounds, with the 3rd place play off contributing to the “Final” Round. With so much at stake, and just two matches/days to pick from, it’s becoming increasingly challenging to land on a big captain return.
Top scorers at the #WorldCup so far:
— FIFA World Cup 🏆 (@FIFAWorldCup) July 8, 2018
France are favourites to beat Belgium, but that phenomenal Red Devil’s tactical display against Brazil means that Belgium are far from down and out. England are also favourites to beat Croatia, with slightly more favourable odds. Will we get an England v France final?
If you are still holding the “Maximum Captain” chip, this could be the time to play it. Although we are expecting tight matches, I can’t see much clean sheet potential from either side, so attacking returns look promising. Germany proved in 2014 that big results can happen at this stage, who can forget that 7-1 thrashing of Brazil? If there’s one thing we’ve learnt from this World Cup, it’s to expect the unexpected.
Shield Pick: Harry Kane vs Croatia
Anytime Goalscorer Odds: 6/5
Harry Kane's six goals have seen him equal the record (with Gary Lineker, 1986) for most strikes by an England player at a single World Cup. Lineker's six-goal haul in Mexico was enough to win him the adidas Golden Boot. #ENG #SWEENG pic.twitter.com/kIhbVGHli9
— TheCable (@thecableng) July 7, 2018
Harry Kane has among the highest ownership in World Cup Fantasy, and it’s no wonder: he’s leading the golden boot race by two goals, he’s the England captain with the easiest fixture on paper, plus he’s on penalties. With six goals already, Kane has failed to return in just one of the four games he has played in. Croatia have conceded 4 goals in their last 3 games, including a penalty to Iceland. If none of the big players return in the first semi-final on Tuesday, Kane will be the popular second choice for Wednesday night. If you’ve a strong rank to protect, play it safe with the shield pick.
Sword Pick: Antoine Griezmann vs Belgium
Anytime Goalscorer Odds: 7/4
— Sport360° (@Sport360) July 6, 2018
France are predicted to have the edge against Belgium, with Griezmann appearing to be the safe choice from the French attack. He’s on penalties, plus takes a share of set pieces, giving a strong chance of attacking returns from dead ball situations. He’s been consistent throughout the tournament; with 3 goals, 1 assist and earning a penalty. Belgium have failed to keep a clean sheet in the knockout rounds, conceding three goals in two games. Are you going to captain Griezmann on Tuesday night?
Form Pick: Kylian Mbappe vs Belgium
Anytime Goalscorer Odds: 7/4
🆕 MBAPPE'S WORLD CUP? 🆕
— Sky Sports World Cup (@SkyFootball) July 7, 2018
While Griezmann stole the limelight in the most recent game, young talent Mbappe shouldn’t be forgotten: he has 3 goals already in the tournament and won a penalty in the Round of 16. He doesn’t have the added edge of set piece responsibility, but is pivotal to the French creative flair. If France score a goal from open play, you can bet that Kylian will be involved. Will you go for form for your Tuesday night captain?
Fixture Pick: Jesse Lingard vs Croatia
Anytime Goalscorer Odds: 17/5
Jesse Lingard at the 2018 #WorldCup:
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) July 8, 2018
Another man without dead ball duties, Lingard is an incredibly important player for England and has been at the heart of goals from open play. He’s got a goal and an assist, plus won a penalty in the group stage. Croatia have shown their defensive frailties in the knockout round and Jesse will be looking to exploit those tired Croatian legs, who’ve faced extra time and penalties in both their previous knockout rounds. Lingard has shown himself to be a big game player at club level, scoring many important goals in tournament games for Manchester United. Are you going to go against Harry Kane with the fixture pick?
Punt Pick: Romelu Lukaku vs France
Anytime Goalscorer Odds: 8/5
Romelu Lukaku has been directly involved in 20 goals in his last 13 appearances for Belgium (17 goals, 3 assists) 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) July 6, 2018
France may be favourites to beat Belgium, but the Belgium attack should not be overlooked: they looked potent against Brazil, with De Bruyne playing as part of the front three. There’s goals amongst their front line and plenty of pace: Lukaku should be at the heart of it. He’s got four goals already and looks most likely to challenge Kane for the Golden Boot going into the final game. The only downside is that he isn’t on penalties, but he’s a worthy candidate to take a punt on for Tuesday. I fancy Belgium to overthrow France.
Park the Bus Pick: Harry Maguire vs Croatia
Anytime Goalscorer Odds: 14/1
Clean Sheet Odds: 7/5
Harry Maguire won more aerial duels (9) than any other player on the pitch during England's quarter-final win against Sweden.
One of them more important than the rest. ⚽️ pic.twitter.com/vN94GKi6fM
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) July 8, 2018
While clean sheets might be hard to come by at this stage of the tournament, England have shown most grit, conceding just that one late goal against Colombia. If you want to captain a defender, one with attacking threat is important and Maguire has just that: he’s got a goal and an assist from corners, plus makes lots of attacking runs out from the back. With four of England’s eleven goals coming from corners and another two penalties won from holding in the box, the odds are in Maguire’s favour for more luck from set pieces. Are you brave enough to captain a defender?
Clueless Husband Pick: Luka Modric vs England
Anytime Goalscorer Odds: 4/1
102 passes attempted
87% pass accuracy
4 chances created
4 fouls won
All in a day's work. 🙆♂️ pic.twitter.com/zFO9GsTklt
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) July 7, 2018
To round up the semi final captain picks, my Clueless Husband returns with yet more negativity for his national side. He was determined to pick a Croatian player, with Modric the big name player coming to mind. He’s scored two goals in the tournament, including a penalty and should have had another: he failed to convert a crucial penalty against Denmark in the Round of 16. Expect the Croatian playmaker to be key to their performance on Wednesday night. Will you side with my Clueless Husband and go against England?
Until Next Week…
Holly and her Clueless Husband