World Cup 2018: the players you should pick for your fantasy XI

Tuesday, 5th June 2018, 15:25 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th June 2018, 09:43 am

The 2018 World Cup is only nine days away which means you have just over a week to construct a fantasy league winning team.

All 32 teams involved have named their 23 man squads, meaning that the final pool of players to choose from has been decided.

Hours can be ploughed into tinkering with your team and mulling over your captain selection. But you can save time and put your friends to shame in the process with these high value, point magnets.

How do I get involved?

Following the announcement of the final World Cup squads FIFA are expected to launch their official fantasy competition imminently.

For now you can keep an eye on updates at fifa.com/worldcup.

Formation

3-5-2

Goals win fantasy football leagues, and the majority of these are going to come from midfielders and attackers. It therefore makes sense to opt for three defenders and put your spare cash to use further up the field.

With strikers typically coming at a premium price, money is often better spent on midfielders - preferably ones who can get on the scoresheet themselves.

If you do have the cash to spare, however, the 3-4-3 represents a good option.

Goalkeeper

Rui Patricio, Portugal

Rui Patricio was a crucial part of Portugal's European Championship triumph (Photo: Shutterstock)

The Portuguese stopper earned a total of seven clean sheets during the qualifying phase and was integral to the team's success in France two years ago, conceding just one goal during the knockout stages.

Patricio will have relatively little to do against minnows Iran and Morocco in the group stage and SHOULD earn clean sheets against the pair.

Though Rui Patricio's Portugal will face a sterner testing against Spain he remains a very solid choice for your fantasy number 1.

Defenders

Thomas Meunier, Belgium

The Paris Saint-Germain right back has become a reliable supplier of assists for club and country, chipping in with seven during the World Cup qualifying phase.

The PSG flyer is also competent when presented with a chance in front of goal, scoring five goals on the road to Russia, including a hat-trick against Gibraltar.

Belgium also have an excellent chance of picking up two clean sheets against Panama and Tunisia in the group stages.

Whether its through assists, clean sheets or goals, Meunier will bag your fantasy team points.

Joshua Kimmich, Germany

Former German striker Horst Hrubesch described Joshua Kimmich as a veritable "Swiss Army knife of a player" due to his ability to play in multiple positions.

Despite starting his career as a centre back the 23 year old is now utilised as a right back by club (Bayern Munich) and country. The result? A conveyor belt of assists.

During qualifying for the 2018 World Cup Joshua Kimmich tallied up nine assists in total for Germany, form he will likely carry into the tournament itself.

Expect the defender to unlock Mexican, Swedish and South Korean defences during the group stages and provide fantasy teams with points in the process.

Kieran Trippier, England

Kieran Trippier has been an assured performer for Tottenham this season (Photo: Shutterstock)

The Tottenham full-back earned plaudits for his man-of-of-the-match performance against Nigeria last week and likely sealed his place in Gareth Southgate's starting eleven for England's opening game against Tunisia.

Since the Three Lions' last major tournament, the club have kept nine clean sheets suggesting that an English defender is worthy of inclusion in a fantasy backline.

Trippier comes with the potential of assists in attack and is a cheaper alternative to fellow full back Kyle Walker.

Midfielders

Edison Flores, Peru

Peru are being touted as a team to watch by many this tournament for their free flowing brand of attacking football.

24 year old Edison Flores has plied his trade in the Danish league for Aalborg since 2016, but he will be looking to disappoint Scandinavian supporters when Peru go head to head with Denmark.

Flores represents a low-cost attacking threat who is perfectly capable of getting his name on the scoresheet - during qualifying the attacking midfielder scored five goals against the likes of Chile and Uruguay.

Christian Eriksen, Denmark

Danes would be watching the World Cup as a neutral if it wasn't for their talisman midfielder - Eriksen scored eight and assisted three during his team's qualification campaign.

His most impressive moment of qualifying came against the Republic of Ireland, when the Tottenham midfielder put three past helpless keeper Darren Randolph.

With goals and assists strong possibilities for the Dane in the group stages, Eriksen represents a safe bet in midfield.

Paulinho, Brazil

Paulinho was part of the Brazil team beaten 7-1 by Germany at the previous World Cup (Photo: Shutterstock)

Once a rich source of humour for Arsenal fans due to his disappointing spell at city rivals Tottenham Hotspur, Paulinho has experienced a dramatic turn in fortunes since swapping London for Guangzhou and the Barcelona.

For his country Paulinho is relentless, performing crucial work in both halves most crucially for fantasy players contributing goals and assists. During qualifying Paulinho scored six goals for Brazil and two assists.

Expect the Barcelona midfielder to be a fountain of points this World Cup.

Dusan Tadic, Serbia

A familiar name to followers of the English premier League, Dusan Tadic enjoyed an exemplary qualifying campaign for his country.

The Southampton midfielder scored four goals and assisted in seven more, helping his team to finish top of their difficult group which included Republic of Ireland, Wales and Austria.

Tadic may struggle to rack up points against Brazil, but expect him to deliver against Costa Rica and Switzerland.

Carlos Sanchez, Uruguay

Though most eyes will be on Uruguay's attacking duo of Edison Cavani and Luis Suarez during the World Cup, Carlos Sanchez will likely be setting up the ruthless hitmen.

The Monterrey player provided seven assists during qualifying and with Uruguay in arguably the easiest group (Russia, Egypt and Saudi Arabia) he will likely rack up a healthy total early on.

If you don't have cash to spare when selecting your final fantasy players, Sanchez represents an excellent option.

Strikers

Timo Werner, Germany

Looking to fill the Klose shaped hole in the World Champions' side is Red Bull Leipzig striker Timo Werner.

Werner is being touted by many to enjoy a breakthrough tournament in Russia and its easy to see why - the 22 year old has bagged seven goals in just 13 appearances for Germany and scored thirteen goals in the Bundesliga last season.

Germany might be lacking in a household name up front ahead of the World Cup, but Werner may well be one when the final ball is kicked in Russia.

The striker is a likely source of points and will be available for a relatively low price.

Edison Cavani, Uruguay

Cavani has scored at the two previous World Cups (Photo: Shutterstock)

The imposing forward will come at a cost, but this will be money well spent.

During qualifying Cavani scored ten goals, and in total the PSG striker has scored 42 for his country. The striker represents a less volatile choice than fellow striker Luis Suarez who has acted as villain at the past two World Cups.

With opposition in the form of Egypt, Russia and Saudi Arabia expect Cavani to lead the charge for the Golden Boot in 2018.