Hello and welcome to todays World Cup Fantasy League preview where I will be reviewing Group E & F which are two interesting Groups.
What a group this is. Two giants of world football who are slow what sleeping giants of late. Spain are only ranked 7th in the world and Germany ranked 11th. Both teams have had their problems over the last few years but you know what they say. Never under estimate the Germans. Ever.
This is the first World Cup for Hansi Flick who won everything at club level with Bayern Munich. Germany cannot wait for this world cup to start as they erase 2018's disasterous defence of their title with a group stage knockout. Losses against Mexico and South Korea sealed their faith in 2018 and it was the first time in 80 years that they left the world cup having not reached the knockout stages. So things can only get better for this German team although they are still not firing on all cylinders and goals are a problem. Kai Havertz is not an out and out goal scorer and he has not been setting the world alight at club level. But on saying that he has 10 goals and 10 assists in his last 30 games for Germany so maybe this guy is a nailed down Fantasy World Cup all rounder for 8.5 million. Then you have Gundogen (7.5 million) who has so many talented teammates at City that you forget that he is always the player that gets their crucial goals or Muller who is the Kind of Space that cannot be written off. Flick has announced some of the 2014 old guard back to this World Cup when Joachim Lowe famously left Muller behind in 2018. Jamal Musiala is the one to watch. The 19 year old has been a sensation for Bayern Munich this past 6 months.
Spain have a great squad and a great manager. They were unlucky against Italy in the European Champions which was one of the best international games of all time in my opinion. So Spain are contenders so do not be put off by their world ranking. They will never surpass the 3 in a row back in 2008, 2010 and 2012. But this team right now is full of talent. They have so much talent that even the likes of David De Gea, Sergio Ramos and Thiago haven't made the cut. They have a good mix of young and old with Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba and Dani Carvajal forming part of the old guard while young talents such as Pedri , Gavi and Ansu Fati are newcomers about to compete on a world stage. Spain will bring goals and lots of them. Something to think about when drafting your World Cup team. It's all about goals in Fantasy World Cup.
We speak about non under estimating a team. I remember back in 2014 Costa Rica had no chance against the group of death of Italy, England and Urugruay. They hammered Italy and Uruguay and get a draw against an England team full of stars. They were stopped in the last 16 on penalties. Now if they make it through this group I will be very surprised but you never know in this Winter World Cup. It may suit them.
Japan are dark horses. They have a better squad than one might think. Arsenals right-back Takehiro Tomiyasu and Takumi Minamino come to mind. It is Japan's 7th world cup and they managed to get to the last 16 in 2018 and they were very close to beating Belgium to get to the quarter finals.
If we focus on the Gameweek 1 fixtures where Germany play Japan and Spain play Costa Rica, Something tells me that Germany will find it hard in this group so I am predicting a Spanish win against Costa Rica and a draw between Germany and Japan. I think Japan might get a result against the favorites as the Germans will be nervy around what happened them in 2018. This group will not be as straight forward as some make out but at this level there are no free passes (well unless you are Equador on the first day of the World Cup)
From looking at this group you would immediately think Belgium and Croatia. Let us delve into the teams in more detail
Taking a look at the Belgium squad it is full of talent and they have sailed through the qualifying group stages with 6 wins from 8 games. Belgium have been serial underachievers given their talented squad. When you have Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Lukaku on your team then you are very dangerous. Now the defence is the wrong side of 30 but you would except that Vertongen and Alderweirald have still enough juice in the tank unless then come up against an Mbappe. Axel Witsel and Youri Tielemans are the engine in midfield. Some players such as Hazard may not be on form but they will still play and this may become a problem. Their manager Martinez loves to score more goals than the other side so they may be a weakness also. I still see them finishing top of their group.
The old age pensioners of the World Cup but this did not stop Modric winning the Champions League last season. They have a tough act to follow as they reacted the final if the 2018 World Cup. Luka Modric, Mateo Kovacic and Marcelo Brozovic are top class players while Ivan Perisic and Mislav Orsic are still playing at a high level in Europe. Croatia will get into the knockout stages so it's anyones guess how far they will get.
Canada have not been at a world cup since 1986 and alot of the plaudits are going to their stellar manager John Herdman for organising a group of players to get to the World Cup. But they are a poor team and all their hopes rest on 2 players in particular Bayern Munich’s Alphonso Davies and Lille forward Jonathan David. If they do not perform we may see a very bad showing here. Even if they do play well Canada are predicted to finish last in their group.
Morocco hope to improve on their last showing at the 2018 World Cup and they can do that if they beat Canada so we are looking at a battle for 3rd place unless there is a massive upset. Paris Saint-Germain’s Achraf Hakimi and Chelsea ’s Hakim Ziyech will be key for Morocco. They will be looking to draw with either Croatia or Belgium and they will be tough to break down. But the quality of Belgium and Croatia it should be no problem.
Morocco vs Croatia - Wednesday, November 23 (10am)
Belgium vs Canada - Wednesday, November 23 (7pm)
A Croatia and Belgium win here. If they don't then I would be very surprised. In fact it might be good to pick a couple of Croatia players and Belgium players on your team as there will be no upsets in this group (FAMOUS LAST WORDS)
So there you have it. Group F is much easier to predict than Group E. Remember the winner of this competition will have the players that last the longest so predicting the teams to get through is nearly as important as the players that you choose.