Here’s Rob Reid with his World Cup fantasy quarter final tips article where he looks at his team, the likely winners of each fixture and his transfer plans. Rob is currently ranked 3,829 overall.
World Cup fantasy quarter final tips – Rob Reid’s team review and transfers
1/4 Final Team
Only 8 games to go then and now that the euphoria of an England penalty shoot-out win has started to sink in, thoughts turn back to Fantasy Football before the next deadline on Friday afternoon. A reminder that if you don’t have your Wildcard, you only have a measly 3 transfers to cull any players who have gone home though you can select up to 5 from each country now.
Last 16 Round-up
So I went into the Last 16 off the back of a terrible Round 3 which had seen my Overall Rank slip to 19k. I used the Unlimited Transfers available pre-knockout to redesign my squad and also played my Bench Boost Chip. Thankfully it led to a strong round score of 66 points which leaves me on 231 points, a 15k gain in rank to a pleasing 3829 overall.
It was one of those weeks that was a little bit on a knife edge. Gameday 1 had gone reasonably well with Griezmann’s penalty starting things off in the afternoon. My faith in Rodrigo Bentancur was then rewarded in the evening as he returned an assist. I decided to gamble Griezmann’s captain points though and it looked like things were going to backfire. Gameday 2 was a disaster, Spain’s surprise defeat to the hosts and Modric’s missed pen giving a paltry 7 points from 5 players with 2 squad members being knocked out rubbing salt into the wounds.
Gameday 3 went better, I flipped captaincy to Hazard this time and he returned an assist and Miranda racked up another clean sheet. But the star of the show was undoubtedly Inui with his 7 points – I was really sad to see Japan knocked out, they showed tremendous guile and I love the whole attitude of the team and especially their fans. I wasn’t satisfied with Hazard’s captain return though and I switched again to Kane on Gameday 4 which ultimately proved a good decision as he was the top points scorer for my team in the end. Add to this a Granqvist clean sheet earlier in the day and it turned out to be a good round in the end.
Thank you to the eagle-eyed of you who noticed an error that I made in my last write-up regarding the gamedays. Geek amended this later on. Unfortunately it’s also led to me making an error with my squad selection as I mixed up Belgium’s potential quarter-final day. This means both my keepers (Muslera and Courtois) now play on the same day if I don’t make any changes, so there’s no scope for substituting either of them in or out. This has given me something else to ponder with the already lean quota of 3 transfers for the 1/4s. To add to this, I’ve got 3 players who’ve been knocked out (Isco, Carvajal and Inui) and I’d also like to try and work Neymar in somewhere if I can as well. Some tricky calls to be made here!
The 1/4 Final Line-up
Ok, let’s look at the fixtures again first and I’ll try and get them correct this time! I got 7/8 winners right in the last round with only Russia’s surprise victory going against my predictions. The 1/4s look a tougher prospect to call.
Friday – Gameday 1
France vs Uruguay – Could go either way. Uruguay have been good at the back and have quality up front in the partnership of Suarez and Cavani. The latter however is a fitness doubt and would be a big miss if he was injured or not fully fit. France were superb going forward against Argentina, Mbappe’s performance was reminiscent of a young Thierry Henry. I’m not 100% convinced by them defensively though. I’ll tentatively go for France in this one.
Belgium vs Brazil – 2 teams in good form and with an abundance of attacking talent. Belgium showed their mettle in coming back from 2 goals down to defeat Japan in injury-time but also strangely looked a bit ropey at the back in that game. Brazil have looked a bit laboured in phases of games but have only conceded 1 goal so far and seem to have found this knack of winning out in challenging situations. I’m going Brazil here.
Saturday – Gameday 2
Sweden vs England – This is another 50/50 game I reckon. The Swedes are well-organised and physically fit and strong. They don’t seem to need a star player like they’ve been reliant on in the past but Forsberg in midfield has been a standout so far, along with penalty-taking centre-half Granqvist. England will be full of confidence after their shoot-out win and kind of have nothing to lose now as they’ve hit their expectations. They might not be the most watertight at the back, but hey they’ve got Harry Kane. I’m backing England to win this one, though I can see it going to penalties again!
Russia vs Croatia – The hosts produced a huge shock by stubbornly seeing off an under-performing Spain in the last 16. I would argue though that on the one occasion they’ve played a quality team in good form (Uruguay in the group phase) they were soundly beaten. Croatia are a quality team and although Denmark ran them close, I think this is a game too far for the Russians and Croatia will see them off.
Next some clean sheet odds:
England evens, France 11/10, Croatia 6/5, Brazil 7/4, Sweden 5/2, Uruguay 5/2, Russia 2/1, Belgium 3/1
Surprisingly England (despite having not kept a clean sheet so far) have the best odds, followed by France – I don’t have either of these defences covered so this is something I’ll have to consider. That being said, with only 2 teams keeping clean sheets in the last 16, I don’t expect there will be many in the 1/4s either. I expect things will tighten up in the semi-finals which are traditionally more cagey games so a focus in defence should be getting players through as much as looking for clean sheets.
So 3 transfers then and I’ve narrowed down to a couple of possibilities.
Option 1 is the Neymar team
this would mean that one of my front 3 has to change. Kane is the leading scorer in the tournament and Griezmann looks more likely to go through against Uruguay than Eden Hazard, so it’s the Belgian that I’d be sacrificing. To fund this move, Carvajal can become £4.5m Pavard and Isco is changed for £7.5m Forsberg or I swap in an England defender and get a cheaper midfielder – Claesson or Golovin. The Pavard option tempts me more if Cavani misses the France vs Uruguay game (should know the teams before the deadline.)
Option 2 is the double keeper option
Courtois becomes Pickford or Subasic giving me a sub keeper for Saturday, Carvajal becomes Trippier and Isco then becomes Rakitic or Forsberg. This is a slightly more balanced option budget-wise and gives me more choices but of course I don’t get Neymar who looks like he is coming into some good form.
Option 3 double keeper + Neymar
So this is doable as well. Courtois would become Pickford or Subasic and Isco becomes Claesson or Golovin. The downside of this is that it leaves me only 13 available players but as I effectively have that anyway with the other options I’m probably not losing out on much. I can easily move Carvajal on in the next round when another 5 transfers become available.
Thoughts on best option
Note in both options I’m leaving knocked out Inui in-situ. There’s pretty much no-one in this price bracket available as a replacement so it looks a better option to skim the squad to 14 players rather than waste a sideways transfer at this stage. It also leaves me more of a budget for the other 14.
The other thing I have to consider is how many players I’m going to get through to the next round. With Inui likely staying put now until the end, I’ll need a minimum 6 players through to fill my first team; 9 players through will give me 3 subs + Inui. Option 1 gives me a minimum of 4 or 5 through with a maximum of 10. Option 2 gives me a minimum of 4 and again a maximum of 10, Option 3 gives me minimum 4 and maximum 11 provided I go for Pickford, so all are viable in this respect provided I don’t get all 4 results wrong.
After a bit of thinking I like Option 3 the best so that’s what I’ve gone for. To confirm it’s Neymar for Hazard, Claesson for Isco and Pickford for Courtois. Neymar will be my day 1 captain and I’ll switch to Kane for day 2 if he doesn’t get a decent return. Pickford and Claesson will be subbed in for day 2 if needed. I’ve got my Maximum Captain chip left, but I’m holding that for the moment and will play in one of the last 2 rounds.
Here’s the team:
Good luck folks!
Geek World Cup Leagues
It’s too late to join the telegraph league btw. I’m not sure what the rules are in joining the other leagues now but here’s the details anyway
McDonalds FIFA Official
or League code:
Sun Dream Team
Fantasy Football Geek
League PIN: WCW6UFM9