Here’s Rob Reid with his round of 16 McDonalds round of 16 World Cup fantasy team. He takes a detailed look at players, captains, fixtures and the chips
McDonalds Round of 16 World Cup fantasy – Rob Reid updates his team
Last 16 Team
We’re now at the knockout stage so it’s unlimited transfer time and a chance to revamp those squads. It’s a welcome set of transfers as well after a challenging Round 3 of the group stage. I’ll start by having a look at how my team got on in the last round.
I’d anticipated this would be a tough round – an very average score of 33 points and a slight drop in overall rank to 19k. 3 players not playing at all certainly didn’t help and add to that a string of 1 point returns (5 in total) thanks to some very dubious defending and some bizarre penalty calls! This weeks stars were Luis Saurez, Miranda and Phillipe Coutinho – the only 3 returns in a lean week. One chink of light was playing safe on my captain and sticking with Coutinho’s 12 points instead of gambling on Harry Kane in the last fixture, ultimately a good call. It was always going to be a tough round, there was bound to be rotation and some freak results but most people seem to have suffered in some shape of form so I’ll take comfort form the fact that my damage was somewhat limited and look forward now to the knockouts, still in a reasonable position.
Last 16 Team – things to consider
I’ve already used my Wildcard so I need to plan a team that’s going to get me through the last 16 and the 1/4 finals. I think this is the best round for bench boost so I want 15 players who are going to start. The challenge will be only having 3 transfers between each of these rounds so I need to look at players who are going to stay in the competition. Effectively I only need 8 players to go through as 3 transfers give 11 but the comfort of a couple of substitutions would be nice. Thankfully this becomes less of an issue in the semis where there is a more generous 5 transfers. I also need to look at my budget – it’s more generous now and looks more workable, but there will still be some compromises to be made.
Another thing to consider with no Wildcard is that I need to be aware of the potential quarter-final fixtures to make sure I have both sides of the draw covered. This is particularly important for captaincy options and also for goalkeepers – there’s no benefit to having 2 higher value keepers playing on the same day for example. Finally – VAR! So I’ll try and get as many penalty takers in as possible as well.
Let’s begin by looking at the fixtures.
France v Argentina – too close to call, but I’m leaning towards a French win
Uruguay v Portugal – again a close one, could be a tight low scoring affair. I fancy Uruguay to shade it
Spain v Russia – Spain should have too much for the hosts here
Croatia v Denmark – Croatia have been impressive so far and should carry this form into the knockouts
Brazil v Mexico – Brazil for me, but could be some goals in this one
Belgium v Japan – Should be an easy win for the Belgians with good clean sheet potential as well
Sweden v Switzerland – another close call here, I fancy Sweden to edge it but could really go either way
Colombia v England – this could go either way as well. Much will hinge on whether Rodriguez is fit in my opinion but I fancy England for a narrow win
I’m looking therefore predominantly at teams who have a good chance of winning and also looking at having a captain choice each day. Days 1 and 4 have the leaner pickings while there’s plenty of options on Days 2 & 3.
First up goalkeepers and defenders. I’ve looked at a few things here. Initially, who’s got the best clean sheet odds for the last 16. The best 4 teams are: Belgium 8/11, Spain 10/11, Brazil 5/6 and Croatia 5/6. The Uruguay defence has also done well though granted against poorer opposition so they are also worthy of consideration. I’ve also tried to get players from both sides of the draw. This is of no importance for this round with Bench Boost in play, but as mentioned earlier is important for the 1/4 finals where there is only 2 matchdays.
For my keepers I’ve gone with Muslera and Courtois – this covers both matchdays should both teams reach the 1/4s. I’ve got double Croatia in defence with Lovren and Strinic, both great value at 5.1.
Next up I’ve got Carvajal of Spain and Miranda of Brazil to cover the other better clean sheet prospects. Finally I’ve got the penalty-taker and set piece threat of Granqvist of Sweden. The one player I really tried to get in was Thomas Meunier, but I always kept ending up £0.3m short which was frustrating. There were riskier options that would enable it – Varela of Uruguay is £4.6m for example but he’s not a guaranteed starter and with Bench Boost in play I need 15 who are all very likely to play.
I’ll look at strikers next – again so many options! Leading scorer Kane was always going to be in and I was always going to have Belgium cover for the Japan fixture with either Lukaku or Hazard. It’s a 50/50 call between the 2 I reckon, I’ve gone for Hazard – the deciding factor being his penalty duties. Finally I narrowed it down to Costa, Neymar, Ronaldo, Messi and a French attacker for the last slot. Spain and Brazil have good midfield options and Neymar is very expensive. Similarly, Messi and Ronaldo carry a high price tag and have shown patchy form so far. I’ve therefore gambled a little and gone for the lower ownership France option. I considered Mbappe, but Griezmann is the obvious choice here; he’s also on penalties so he’s in.
Finally the problem area of midfield. I’ve tried to load up on premiums here as they seem the most likely to return and my first picks were Coutinho and Modric who were both in great form in the group stages, with the latter also having the bonus of spot-kick duties. Isco is my 3rd pick, he was unlucky not to get more returns than his solitary goal against Morocco. Finally the problem budget area. I’ve stuck with £5m Bentancur again – he was unlucky not to return in the group stages and plays a more advanced midfield role. Finally the enabler is £4.6m Inui – he’s unlikely to make the 1/4s but can be left is the squad as a filler for budget purposes if needs be at this price. There’s not many other appealing options at the price, I’d be tempted by Quintero of Colombia or Claesson of Sweden if I had an extra £0.5m or so to spend.
I’ve activated Bench Boost and my first captain will be Griezmann in this afternoon’s fixture with options for Isco or Modric on Day 2, Coutinho or Hazard on Day 3 and Kane on Day 4. Fingers crossed I’ll pick up a decent return from one of these somewhere along the way! Best of luck everyone – whoever you’ve picked and I’ll be back with my 1/4 final transfer decisions next week.
Here’s the team
Good luck all
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