It feels like a strange time of year to have a World Cup and this is going to leave us fairly short on time for planning. However, with Dream Team running a game, I’m certainly going to get involved – I’ll set up an area where people can sign up shortly. I’ve started looking at an initial lineup and mapping out fixtures but it’s quite difficult with player prices not currently set in stone. Fortunately, the rules look very similar to the Euros and previous World Cup, with 30 transfers across the tournament which can be used at any point, but they only become active the next day if a player has already played on the day of the transfer.
Before I go into too much detail about my own plans it’s worth pointing out that this is a much faster paced game and is very much a lottery as these international tournaments can be very unpredictable. I remember going fairly heavy on France players in the Euros for them to get knocked out unexpectedly against Switzerland. I’m also not massively up to speed with who plays for who on the international stage (more on that shortly) so I wouldn’t recommend that anyone follows my team exactly. I’ll be doing the best I can but it could easily go either way in terms of a good or bad performance – I did well during the last World Cup but less well during the Euros.
From my experience playing the game during the Euros and previous World Cup game, I’d say there are a few principles for a successful tournament:
– Use the 30 transfers wisely to target the best fixtures. The earlier group stage is a good example where we could target easy fixtures and also move players around to get more game time. As an example, starting with players who play their first game earlier could allow us to get two games for those players, then switch to players from a team with two fixtures remaining.
– We also need a good core of players who might go deep into the tournament. Picking players for the longer term from some of the favourites to lift the trophy will help ensure we don’t race through the transfer budget.
– Finally having a good understanding of who is likely to start for their country is vital. Once your team is locked in, if a player doesn’t start, you’ll need to use a transfer to switch them out. Having a good idea of who is going to start can be essential for not burning transfers. It’s also very difficult to predict though.
If we take each one of these points, I’ll outline what research and planning I’ll be doing to set my team up.
Studying the fixtures is a great starting point. If we simply start by looking at how the fixtures fall this will give us a huge advantage over other people.
I’ve mapped out the fixtures using the spreadsheet below and I’m going to use this as the basis of my plan. The key here is game difficulty and the dates on which these games fall. The numbers next to each team represent where they were in the bookmaker’s odds for winning the tournament, which I thought was a good indication of how good or bad they might be.
What can we take from this? England, Netherlands and Argentina appear to have the easier group draws and they also play earlier in the fixture list. Which could mean they are more likely to pick up clean sheets and a lot of goals. It could also mean that they rest players for the last game if they have qualified.
What is also interesting is the timings of the fixtures. We could easily pick a couple of England defenders for their first two games, and then switch these to Brazil defenders for their final two games. We’d then get 4 fixtures from the group stage for attacking clean sheet points.
I haven’t got to the stage where I’ve decided how I’ll tackle this yet but this will be the basis of my planning when it comes to picking a starting team.
I don’t find the Dream Team website overly useful for comparing players across different nations. As a result, I’m going to map the players from the big teams in one spreadsheet. I’ve dropped an image of this below but I’m yet to add in the player values as I’m waiting until they are confirmed. I’m also going to highlight players in green who could be likely to start.
My next step is to start planning out a starting 11 based on the earlier fixtures in the table above. I’m hoping to plan this as far as the knockout stage by allowing between 7-10 transfers. I will post a separate blog with my initial team selection and rationale behind player choices once I’ve had chance to consider my approach. I’ll mainly focus content on one main team, as I do with my usual blog, however, I will fill the full allocation of teams we can build and take some big risks in some of those with full defensive blocks and be very aggressive with transfers.