World Cup: Initial Team Selection – Confirmed

World Cup: Initial Team Selection – Confirmed

With roughly 2 hours to go, I’ve made some final tweaks to my team:

Trippier comes in for Tagliafico

I worry about only having Shaw for the game against Iran and Trippier has huge ownership so he comes in. I may swap him for Tagliafico after England have played Iran.

Maehle comes in for Ake

I’m still 50/50 on this one but I’m not massively convinced that the Netherlands will keep a clean sheet against Senegal but they do have nice fixtures after that game. On the other hand, Maehle looks a great option for some potential attacking returns. I don’t think Ake has the same potential so I’m going for Maehle to start.

Skov Olsen comes in for Sarabia

This is a punt on a relatively unknown player to give me the funds to start with Trippier. With Sarabia playing later in the schedule, I can just bring him in as planned anyway if he starts.

Martinez comes in for Sterling

They are both the same price and on paper I’d fancy Martinez to get a goal over Sterling. Of course it could go the other way but at the moment Martinez seems more likely.

All of my other picks remain the same with the justifications below.

After the first few days of fixtures, I’ll be looking to bring in the likes of Mbappe, De Bruyne, Neymar and so on to target big players in certain fixtures. I still need to update my overall game plan but I’ll look at that this evening. This team needs to be locked in by 4pm though to avoid any further changes using transfer.

Initial team selection: second draft

I’ve now had a chance to have a closer look at the player prices and fixtures, and as a result, I’ve revised my starting lineup for the tournament. I’ve also started to map out my planned transfers in much more detail – I like to have a rough idea of a plan when going into such a short format game. 

I’m sticking to the basic principle of getting players in who are playing early in the schedule and then making proactive changes to bring in the big attacking players. As a result, my starting lineup doesn’t include any Brazilian players and features players from England, Argentina, and Netherlands quite heavily. I’ve also gone for a back 4 as I think clean sheets should be up for grabs and I’ve gone for fairly budget options in midfield as I can’t see many must have players in this area or it’s more predictable to find midfielders who might score.

I’m still not 100% settled on this as a starting line up but I’ll confirm for certain before everything kicks off on Sunday.

Here’s the run through why I’ve picked certain players:

E. Martínez (4m – ARG) – same reasons as my first draft (see below).

N. Molina (3.5m – ARG) – looks good value and Argentina may go the distance. Not sure if the Argentina triple up in defence is a good idea or not though.

N. Ake (3.5m – NET) – same reasons as my first draft (see below).

N. Tagliafico (4m – ARG) – same reasons as my first draft (see below).

L. Shaw (4m – ENG) – same reasons as my first draft (see below).

F. De Jong (3.5m – NET) – same reasons as my first draft (see below).

J. Musiala (3.5m – GER) – same reasons as my first draft (see below).

P. Sarabia (3.5m) – not too many players to choose from in midfield with a limited budget. I’ve gone for Sarabia as he should play fairly advanced in a team that might do well in the whole tournament. 

R. Sterling (5.5m – ENG) – one game punt on Sterling as England are playing Iran and he’s got a chance of pinching a goal. I’ll then swap Sterling for another striker as one of my first transfers.

H. Kane (7.5m – ENG) – same reasons as my first draft (see below).

L. Messi (7.5m – ARG) – same reasons as my first draft (see below)

Longer term plan

The above is simply a starting point that will only last for a couple of days when the tournament gets going. I’ve started to map out my longer term plan on this spreadsheet:

It looks complicated but it’s fairly straightforward. I’ve mapped out all of the fixtures with the number in the box indicating how many players I’ve got from that team in any given fixture. On the far right side of the spreadsheet, you’ll see that I’ve mapped out 10 transfers to get in big name players in important games. 

As an example, I’ll swap Sterling and Kane for Griezmann and Mbappe after England have played. I’ll then swap Mbappe for De Bruyne and then De Bruyne for Neymar to get good rotation of the potential top point scorers. 

I think it’s useful to have it all mapped out before we get started as it gives a rough guide of player coverage in the easier fixtures. It will also help me to keep on top of how many transfers I’ll have left at certain stages. Having said that, it is only a guide, from playing the last World Cup and the Euros, I know the plan quickly goes out the window when we start to get a few upsets, but it’s good as a base point.

Problems to consider

  • I’ve lost Dumfries from my starting team, he’s a player I wanted in due to his goal scoring threat. At the moment, I can’t see a way to get him back in the team and that’s a worry considering his ownership.
  • I’m not using a block defence, the overall game is often won by those who use a block defence. However, it’s a high risk strategy, I don’t want to run the risk of putting all of my eggs in one basket at this early stage so I’ll play it fairly safe in this team. If you pick the wrong block, it can be game over very quickly.
  • My plan covers most of the big names but only uses 10 transfers at the moment, I may need to adjust the plan to use another 5 during the group stage, as I think this could be the time when the most points are up for grabs. 
  • I’ve done my best to cover most of the big names but it’s impossible to cover them all. I’ve currently ignored the likes of Ronaldo, Martinez, Vinícius Júnior, Benzema and Cancelo to name a few. If any of them hits a huge score at any point I’d be in trouble. But we won’t be able to burn through transfers for the big names every time they play.
  • As Brazil play later on in the schedule, I’m light on their players during the group stage, which I think is dangerous considering they are favourites to lift the trophy. It might be that I need to use some of my transfers to bring in their defenders when the time comes.

My other teams

I will be filling the full allowance of teams for the tournament (5) but can’t imagine I’ll find the time to focus on them with so many transfers available. I’ll publish a more detailed post about my other teams before the tournament get started but what I’ll probably do with them is take some big risks early on to try and get a head start. In one team for instance, I’ll probably start with an England block, I’ll then change this to an Argentina block and then to a Brazil block. So I’ll use 8-10 transfers on defenders within the first round of fixtures. If all three keep a clean sheet, I’ll be off to a flyer. If none do, that will probably be game over for that team. As I say though, I’ll publish some more detailed thoughts on this over the weekend for anyone that’s interested in a more risky approach. 

That’s as far as I’ve got with my thinking so far, plans will probably change slightly over the weekend but I think that’s fairly close to my starting 11. It would be great to have plenty of comments below in the run up to the tournament.

Initial team selection: first draft

Player prices were confirmed at a slightly awkward time for me yesterday as I was out for the rest of the day and unavailable to study a team selection this morning. However, I have now had the chance to have a brief look at how I might start the tournament in terms of an initial team line up.

At this stage, I would say this is a very quick look and is likely to change significantly before the tournament starts as I’ve got a few problems to resolve. However, I’m posting it now as a starting point for discussion. 

The basic principles I’m following at this stage are getting players in who will play earlier in the schedule (England, Netherlands, Argentina and France). This means I’ll obviously be missing some of the big guns from the likes of Brazil but I plan to use my transfers to cover key players in certain games. I’m also yet to confirm my longer term strategy in terms of transfers but I will be mapping this out before the tournament starts.

Here’s my team so far:

The first point to note is that I’ve not filled my third midfield slot. If I could find a third midfielder, I’d be happy with this team but at the moment I can’t find one at the 2.5m price point without taking a huge punt. This may mean I need to go back to the drawing board before confirming my team to start the tournament.

Despite this, I’m going to run through each player that I have picked and my reasons why:

E. Martínez (4m – ARG) – the cheapest of the goalkeepers who might go deep into the tournament. Obvious choice for me.

D. Dumfries (4.5m – NET) – provided a big attacking threat in the Euros. Should be a certain starter, bit expensive though.

N. Ake (3.5m – NET) – cheap defender in a team playing early in the schedule with good fixtures. Nice double up with Dumfries.

N. Tagliafico (4m – ARG) – acting as a defensive double up with Martinez, again should go deep into the tournament.

L. Shaw (4m – ENG) – can’t help but think England will be defensive, Shaw seems a decent cheaper option although even he’s quite expensive.

F. De Jong (3.5m – NET) – seems a decent price for a player who should be certain to start for the Netherlands in an easier group. I do worry slightly about his goal threat but he often favours the point scoring system.

J. Musiala (3.5m – GER) – looks like a promising talent and a good price at 3.5m. Simply trying to keep the budget down with this choice.

MID 3 (2.5m) – undecided, can’t see any great options 

H. Kane (7.5m – ENG) – not 100% convinced that England will be a high scoring team, they weren’t in the Euros group stage but not owning Kane for England’s first game is a huge risk given that his ownership will be high.

M. Depay (5.5m – NET) – should be Netherland’s main attacking threat. Good player to have in early doors and helps to free up some funds.

L. Messi (7.5m – ARG) – good opening fixture, could well be Messi’s tournament. Big risk not having him, an early hat trick from any of these big names could effectively be game over if you don’t own them.

That’s where I’ve got to so far, very early days in terms of looking at the player values but I’ll have to develop a longer term plan very quickly with the tournament starting so soon.

29 thoughts on “World Cup: Initial Team Selection – Confirmed

    1. Good shout, I didn’t know Depay was out of the first game. Will definitely review having him in from the off.

  1. Could you downgrade Dumfries to blind still giving Dutch double up but freeing extra mill for midfielder?

    1. That would help, I think there are some better options at 3.5m in midfielder. The Spanish winger being one of them.

  2. Not convinced with double defensive option of the Dutch, that’s a tricky first game against African champions Senegal even without Mane, I’m going to double up on Argentinian front line of Messi & Martinez, rather than Dupay, Danish midfielder Olson very well priced at 3 million.

    1. Agreed, it’s the other two games that are quite appealing though. I’m thinking Depay will need to come out for me as others have mentioned he’s injured.

  3. Are we saying if Messi plays Tuesday morning, can we take him out for Mbappe/Benzema, who play on Tuesday evening or not.

    1. I don’t believe so. Once a player has played that day he’s locked untill midnight. Well that’s how it was in the Euros so i assume it will be the same.

      1. That’s exactly right, can’t take a player out and score points on the player who comes in if the player coming out has already played that day.

  4. Molina 3.5 million Argentina defender, guaranteed to start, saving 0.5 on Tagliafico, would like to get a french defender in if possible.

    1. The only thing that puts me off the French defenders is Denmark in their second game. Do you think Molina is a certain starter?

    1. Thanks Lee, is that Skov Olsen? I think he’s 3m but I’ve heard good things about him as well.

  5. Think I’m going to go with this team to start with
    Might consider changing Bellingham to Pedri, can interchange front 3 for Mbappe/Benzema, Vinicius, or go 442, & bring in De bruyne if need to, those extra 10 transfers this tournament means some can be used for defensive assets, when the likes of Brazil, France & Germany get underway, Danilo, Sandro, Sule, etc.

    1. Looks good Dave, have you got a longer term plan for the tournament or will you just see what happens as the games progress?

  6. Plan is similar to yours Paul, you can’t go chasing every fixture though, this time around, maybe 15/15 split, for transfers in group games & knockouts, best laid plans don’t always work out, especially when lady luck will have something to say about it.

    1. It’s good to have a rough plan but you’re right, it never works out. My plans always change a lot based on the previous two International tournaments.

  7. Think that was England’s best chance of a clean sheet in that group, don’t think I’ll revisit 2 England defenders for their next game, tomorrow Trippier & Kane out, Tagliafico & Mbappe in, see how that works out.

    1. That’s exactly the transfers I plan to make as well. Very disappointing that England didn’t get the clean sheet today.

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