FPLHolly returns after a well deserved rest, with her selection of captain picks for the McDonald’s Official World Cup Fantasy game. Her infamous Clueless Husband is also back with his picks, although he’s refusing to do an actual team of his own, in the Premier League off-season.
— FIFA World Cup 🏆 (@FIFAWorldCup) June 10, 2018
It’s important to bear in mind the format of the official World Cup Fantasy game. You can manually change your captain with a player from your squad whose team is yet to play and your original captain will lose their bonus at this point.
For this reason, it’s important to be organised in updating your captain each day and ensuring that you have a number of options in your squad. You may reach a “Stick or Twist” moment, as each round progresses.
The following games in Round 1 caught my eye as being the best fixture options to choose a captain for, with high odds of a win for the respective teams highlighted:
- 14 June: Russia v Saudi Arabia
- 15 June: Uruguay v Egypt
- 16 June: France v Australia, Argentina v Iceland
- 17 June: Germany v Mexico, Brazil v Switzerland
- 18 June: Belgium v Panama
- 19 June: Columbia v Japan
Shield Pick: Lionel Messi vs Iceland
Anytime Goalscorer Odds: 4/5
The last time someone other than Messi scored in an official game for Argentina was almost 19 months (12 official matches) (569 days) ago. And they were assisted by Messi. pic.twitter.com/uGLxux20Bf
— World Cup 2018 (@WCGoalz) June 9, 2018
The world’s best player has a kind opening fixture against Iceland. The official fantasy site gives an insight into captain picks ahead of the deadline: at the time of writing, Messi is the most picked attacker (32%) and most captained player in the game (23%). The Argentinian captain is on penalties and most set pieces. He’s had another phenomenal season at Barcelona, grabbing 45 goals and 18 assists. He knows how to perform at big tournaments, scoring in all three group games of the last World Cup. In their most recently friendly, he scored a hat trick. Iceland haven’t kept a clean sheet this year, so returns look promising for Messi. Are you going to play it safe and go with the shield pick?
Sword Pick: Antoine Griezmann vs Australia
Anytime Goalscorer Odds: 19/20
Griezmann (Forward – 10.0 juta) pic.twitter.com/4gTA92pBn9
— FPL🇲🇾 (@FPL_MY) June 9, 2018
Griezmann is one of the Golden Boot favourites for the World Cup, as part of a very talented French side. He should be a differential over Messi owners, he’s currently got a lower ownership (27%) and the third most captained in the game (9%). He scored 29 goals this season, assisting another 15. He has never scored in the World Cup Finals before, but did get 6 goals in Euro 2016, showing that he can perform in big tournaments. He’s on penalties and most set pieces. With a goal in one of France’s recently friendlies, will you gamble on the sword pick?
Fixture Pick: Romelu Lukaku vs Panama
Anytime Goalscorer Odds: 7/10
⚽ Top goalscorers in qualifying:
Lukaku 11 (8 apps)
Hazard 6 (8 apps)
Mertens 5 (9 apps)
Meunier 5 (8 apps) pic.twitter.com/LO4hBAacmH
— ThePuntersPage.com (@ThePuntersPage) June 10, 2018
Belgium have the easiest opening fixture of all teams, against a weak Panama side. Lukaku has had a decent season for Manchester United, with 27 goals and 9 assists. He’s done reasonably well at major tournaments, getting 2 returns at each of the last World Cup and European Championships. Belgium scored plenty of goals during qualifying and Lukaku contributing with 11 of them. He’s been lively in recently friendlies, scoring 6 goals in their last 5 games. Panama lost 6-0 to Switzerland in March and may get off to a shaky start in this one. Are you going for the fixture pick?
Stick Pick: Neymar vs Switzerland
Anytime Goalscorer Odds: 4/5
Neymar and Tite are the main men for a Brazil side looking to erase the hurt from four years ago.
— Sport360° (@Sport360) June 10, 2018
If you are likely to forget to make captain changes on a daily basis, Neymar could make an ideal stick pick, who you can set as captain and forget. He made a superb start to his time at PSG, with 28 goals and 17 assists through to February. Injury ended his season early, but he scored on his return in a friendly against Croatia. He’s on penalties and direct free kicks for Brazil and will be looking to improve his tally of 4 goals from the last World Cup. In qualifying, Neymar grabbed 6 goals and 8 assists. He may be facing a tall order in this game against a tough Switzerland side, they’ve conceded just 1 goal in 2018, keeping clean sheets in their other 3 games.
Twist Pick: James Rodriguez vs Japan
Anytime Goalscorer Odds: 15/8
James Rodriguez was a pest for defences at the 2014 #WorldCup – more of the same this year?
Colombia’s squad is in – and there are several #PL players in there!
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) June 4, 2018
If it’s got to the end of Round 1 and you’re disappointed with your captain returns, you could twist and put the armband on Rodriguez for the final match of the round. He set the last World Cup alight, taking the Golden Boot award, with 6 goals and 2 assists. He’s Columbia’s most important player, on penalties and all set pieces. He’s had a reasonable season on loan at Bayern Munich, scoring 8 goals and creating 14 assists. He’s been on form for the national team, with 6 goals and 2 assists in qualifying, plus 2 assists in their recently friendly win against France. With Japan conceding 6 goals in their last 4 games, a twist to Rodriguez could be a risk worth taking!
Punt Pick: Fedor Smolov vs Saudi Arabia
Anytime Goalscorer Odds: 3/4
World Cup Countdown: 2️⃣4️⃣
— Daily Strikers (@DailyStrikers) May 21, 2018
The hosts will be hoping to make a winning start to the tournament, and their opening game against Saudi Arabia provides the ideal opportunity. Smolov is their biggest attacking threat, plus he’s on penalties and direct free kicks. He’s had a decent season for FK Krasnodar, with 14 goals and 6 assists. Saudi Arabia will struggle defensively at this level, having conceded 7 goals in their last 3. Are you going to take a punt on this host nation star?
Park the Bus Pick: Thomas Meunier vs Panama
Anytime Goalscorer Odds: 11/2
Clean Sheet Odds: 2/5
Thomas Meunier has been directly involved in 7 of Belgium’s 8 goals vs. Gibraltar tonight.
Time of his life. pic.twitter.com/630TQLWPMX
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 31, 2017
Meunier is a tantalising defensive option, playing at right wing-back in a strong Belgian defence. He is a very attacking player, getting 5 goals and 7 assists in their qualifying campaign, matching these statistics at domestic level for PSG. Belgium have kept clean sheets in their last 4 friendlies and kept 6 during qualifying. Panama have scored just 1 goal in their last 5 games. With potential points returns at both ends of the pitch, are you brave enough captain a defender?
Clueless Husband Pick: Olivier Giroud vs Australia
Anytime Goalscorer Odds: 19/20
— Ben Dinnery (@BenDinnery) June 9, 2018
He’s back and although he isn’t doing a fantasy team for the World Cup, he’s agreed to offer his captain pick advice! His first pick is “Giroud, because I know who he is and France are good.” That’s an accurate tip and they have an easy opening game against Australia. Giroud is expected to recover from a clash of heads in a recently friendly. He scored 12 goals this season and provided 7 goals in France’s qualifying campaign. His starting berth is not guaranteed, with Griezmann and Mbappe fighting for position among others. Will you side with my Clueless Husband in this tournament?
Until Next Round…
Holly and her Clueless Husband.
Follow Holly for more FPL insight… Follow @FFCommunity