FPL Holly is back this week with her selection of captain picks for World Cup Fantasy Round 3. Her Clueless Husband is going against the norm by backing England's opponents in their crucial clash.
Round 3 looks set to be a difficult one to navigate: those teams who have already qualified for the Round of 16 could rest key players for their meaningless final fixture. However, top spot in the group is something many will be aiming for. Other teams have a lot to do before moving to the knockout stages, so will be going all out for the win and three points. Elsewhere, some nations are already out and just have pride to play for: will they step up?
Round 3 spans just four days, meaning there's less opportunity for those stick or twist situations. The following games in Round 3 caught my eye as being the best fixture options to choose a captain for, with plenty at stake for the respective teams highlighted:
- 25 June: Spain v Morocco, Iran v Portugal
- 26 June: Nigeria v Argentina
- 27 June: Brazil v Serbia, Switzerland v Costa Rica, South Korea v Germany
- 28 June: Belgium v England
Shield Pick: Cristiano Ronaldo vs Iran
Anytime Goalscorer Odds: 17/20
Top goalscorers at the #WorldCup so far
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) June 22, 2018
Ronaldo has finally stepped up on the big stage, scoring four goals already in this World Cup. Progression to the last 16 has not yet been cemented, with a victory against Iran and plenty of goals needed to secure top spot in Group B. Ronaldo has scored in both games so far and he's on penalties too. Iran have conceded just one goal so far and are also in with a shout of the knockout rounds, so it could be a tough game for Ronaldo. Will you opt for the shield pick?
Sword Pick: Diego Costa vs Morocco
Anytime Goalscorer Odds: 10/11
“I hope he goes on to get a lot more goals. Diego is doing really well. Aside from the goals, he's working really hard and helping us a lot"
— FIFA World Cup 🏆 (@FIFAWorldCup) June 22, 2018
Elsewhere in group B, Spain are also on the hunt for top spot in the group and Costa will be looking to provide, after scoring three goals already across their two opening matches. He will be a less popular captain pick on Monday, but he does have the easier game, with Morocco already out of the World Cup. Costa will be looking to exploit their weaknesses, and should tap in yet more returns in this one. Are you going with the sword pick?
Form Pick: Coutinho vs Serbia
Anytime Goalscorer Odds: 6/4
92% passes completed
80 passes completed
6 chances created
4 shots on target
The stand out man. pic.twitter.com/14pf0R5K4D
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) June 22, 2018
Brazil haven't had the smoothest ride in this World Cup so far, despite being the favourites, but Coutinho's output has been consistently important, with crucial goals against Switzerland and Costa Rica. A big victory against Serbia would guarantee top spot, although that could mean Germany waiting in the wings for the Round of 16. Whatever happens, Coutinho will be in the thick of the action. Will you captain the form pick?
Fixture Pick: Messi vs Nigeria
Anytime Goalscorer Odds: 3/4
"The reality of the Argentina squad clouds his brilliance".
Coach Jorge Sampaoli explains why Lionel Messi could not guide his side to victory.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) June 22, 2018
Argentina are having a nightmare of a World Cup so far, with a weak defence and no midfield players providing for the star strikers. Despite sitting at the bottom of Group D, it's not all over yet, with a big win needed against Nigeria. Messi will need to provide a classy performance for his nation once more, and despite some strong performances, Nigeria could be overthrown here. With penalties in his locker, are you going for the fixture pick from Tuesday's games?
Twist Pick: Harry Kane vs England
Anytime Goalscorer Odds:
— Yahoo Sport UK (@YahooSportUK) June 20, 2018
England's final Group G game looks to be the pick of the fixtures for Thursday: the fixture looks tough on paper, but Belgium have encountered injuries for Lukaku, Hazard and Mertens, looking set to rotate in this one. Kane is England's most important player, with a crucial brace against Tunisia, and penalty duties too. Belgium have conceded 3 goals in their opening two games, with Kane fired up to exploit their defence in his quest for the Golden Boot. If captains have failed to this point, will you twist to Kane on Thursday?
Punt Pick: Kroos vs South Korea
Anytime Goalscorer Odds: 15/2
— Planet Fútbol (@si_soccer) June 23, 2018
The German's were almost down and out, but Kroos was pivotal in ensuring they stayed in the competition. With big stars floundering in this German side, it will be the midfield playmaker who's set to be relied upon once more. South Korea have struggled in this tournament, conceding to Sweden and Mexico. Are you taking a punt on Kroos?
Park the Bus Pick: Ricardo Rodriguez vs Costa Rica
Anytime Goalscorer Odds: 24/5
Clean Sheet Odds: Evens
— Milan Fans Macedonia (@MilanFansMKD) June 17, 2018
Costa Rica have failed to score in the tournament and have been knocked out, so a clean sheet looks likely for Switzerland. They've yet to keep a shut out so far, but Rodriguez has plenty to offer elsewhere on the pitch: he takes a share of set pieces and he's on penalties too. With Switzerland aiming to top the group and fend off Serbia, expect a strong performance. Are you brave enough to captain a defender?
Clueless Husband Pick: Romelu Lukaku vs England
— FIFA World Cup (@WorIdCupUpdates) June 23, 2018
This time around, my Clueless Husband is going against his home nation of England, to back Belgian star Romelu Lukaku. Why? “Cos he taps loads in all the time and Belgium are going to win the World Cup”. That's a firm statement, although there are concerns over his fitness, following his early substitution against Tunisia. With a brace in each of the opening two games, he will be determined to overcome injury and continue to improve his goal scoring tally. Will you side with my Clueless Husband?
Until Next Week…
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