Hopefully you have read all the world cup preview articles and that you are now putting together your perfect draft for your world cup fantasy football squad, but now it is onto group G. This article will look at England’s group, and discuss who could cause an upset and potentially qualify instead of England and Belgium.
Now onto the players you should be looking at from each team, and how the team may fare in this group and throughout their time at the World Cup.
A team that many people are tipping to possibly win the World Cup this summer, Belgium will be hoping to prove to people that they can be the force that people know. With Roberto Martinez as manager, anything can happen, as I am still unsure how he has managed to get that job. But if they are to go far then one key man will be Eden Hazard. The Chelsea man will be looking to light up the tournament this summer, possibly showing the Real Madrid manager what they could have (I’m sorry Chelsea fans). With six goals in qualification, he can score goals against any of the big teams, and will be hoping to perform throughout the tournament, to captain the team to victory.
Another important player for Belgium and one who we all know from the Premier League, is Romelu Lukaku. A player who can score against any team, he will be hoping to prove to everyone that he is one of the best strikers in the world, and will want to do it on the big stage. With 11 goals in qualification, he will be hoping to take this form into the summer and possibly be top goal scorer at the tournament.
Finally, is a man who will be playing out of position, Thomas Meunier. The PSG man will be wanting to prove to his new manager that he should be starting at right back over Dani Alves, given the injury to Alves which will rule him out of the tournament. In a wing back role, Meunier scored five goals during qualification and will defiantly be one to watch going forward for Belgium, with all that attacking talent in front of him, so I would be looking to certainly have him in your fantasy team.
23-man squad: Koen Casteels, Thibaut Courtois, Simon Mignolet, Toby Alderweireld, Dedryck Boyata, Vincent Kompany, Thomas Meunier, Thomas Vermaelen, Jan Vertonghen, Yannick Carrasco, Kevin de Bruyne, Mousa Dembele, Leander Dendoncker, Marouane Fellaini, Eden Hazard, Thorgan Hazard, Adnan Januzaj, Dries Mertens, Youri Tielemans, Axel Witsel, Michy Batshuayi, Nacer Chadli, Romelu Lukaku.
We’re going to win the World Cup, right? That may be too optimistic, but hopefully we could at least get through to the quarter finals and then see how we go from there. But, one thing is for sure, we wont make it easy for ourselves. One player however, who will be wanting a big tournament, is the best forward in the world, Harry Kane. What hasn’t already been said about him? We know he can score goals against anyone, and if he wants to prove that he is world class, this is the tournament to do it. With five goals in qualification, and coming off the back of another 30 goal plus season, I feel Harry is essential to any fantasy football team this world cup.
Another player who is coming off a remarkable season is Raheem Sterling. This is the tournament where he proves he can do it on the international stage, and if England are to go far it may be down to him. With two assists in qualification, he will be looking to provide goals for Harry, and possibly pop up with a few himself.
Finally, is a player who has made the right wing back position his own, Kieran Trippier. With Gareth Southgate deploying a three-back formation, it enables Trippier to bomb forward and to whip in the balls to his fellow Spurs’ team mate, Harry Kane. What also makes him a prospect for fantasy teams is that he seems to be on set pieces, and should do better then Kane then the last tournament, so I would be looking at Trippier as possible differential in your team.
23-man squad: Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Gary Cahill, Fabian Delph, Phil Jones, Harry Maguire, Danny Rose, John Stones, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, Ashley Young, Dele Alli, Eric Dier, Jordan Henderson, Jesse Lingard, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling, Jamie Vardy, Danny Welbeck
A team not many people will be expecting to qualify from this group, Tunisia may cause England and Belgium some problems. With a respectable 2-2 draw with Portugal, and a 1-0 loss to Spain in two of their recent friendlies, it shows that they may not be as easy a pushover as people may think. The key man for Tunisia is former Sunderland man Wahbi Khazri. The Rennes forward will be looking to be the talisman for Tunisia this tournament, and who can forget his stunning goal against Chelsea in 2016. What he will be looking to replicate this summer though is his form in Ligue 1, and if they are to qualify from this group it may be down to him.
Another key man for Tunisia is the Marseille centre back, Aymen Abdennour. He will be looking to keep the likes of Harry Kane and Romelu Lukaku from scoring, and can also pop up at the other end with a goals. Conceding just four goals in qualification to the world cup, Tunisia may be relying on their defence to help them to proceed to the knock out stages, and Abdennour may be key to this.
23-man squad: Farouk Ben Mustapha, Moez Hassen, Aymen Mathlouthi, Rami Bedoui, Yohan Benalouane, Syam Ben Youssef, Dylan Bronn, Oussama Haddadi, Ali Maaloul, Yassine Meriah, Hamdi Nagguez, Anice Badri, Mohamed Amine Ben Amor, Ghaylene Chaalali, Ahmed Khalil, Saifeddine Khaoui, Ferjani Sassi, Ellyes Skhiri, Naim Sliti, Bassem Srarfi, Fakhreddine Ben Youssef, Saber Khalifa, Wahbi Khazri.
Last but certainly not least, is a team that not many people would have predicted to qualify for the world cup, and even less people will expect to qualify to the knockout stage, Panama. Now, I would expect them to lose all three games, but if they do not then it may be because of one of their key men, Roman Torres. The Seattle Sounders man was Panama’s top scorer during the world cup, and what makes that even more impressive was the fact that he is a centre back. Set pieces may be one of the only ways Panama will score from, so look at Torres being key to their scoring, if they can score.
Another key player for Panama is the goalkeeper, Jaime Penedo. The Dinamo București keeper’ has over 130 caps for Panama, and kept four clean sheets during their qualification to the world cup. It may be down to him to keep the scores low, and if Panama are to progress from this group, they will be looking to him to have some unbelievable performances.
23-man squad: Jose Calderon, Jaime Penedo, Alex Rodriguez, Felipe Baloy, Harold Cummings, Eric Davis, Fidel Escobar, Adolfo Machado, Michael Murillo, Luis Ovalle, Roman Torres, Edgar Barcenas, Armando Cooper, Anibal Godoy, Gabriel Gómez, Valentin Pimentel, Alberto Quintero, Jose Luis Rodriguez, Abdiel Arroyo, Ismael Diaz, Blas Perez, Luis Tejada, Gabriel Torres.
In my opinion, Belgium and England will qualify from this group with ease, possibly winning both their first two and drawing the last one, but is it ever easy with England. Then I feel it will be between Panama and Tunisia for who comes third, with my feeling that Tunisia will just finish above Panama. However, any of these teams could cause an upset to England and Belgium. Therefore, I would certainly be looking at having Hazard in your team, as I feel this will be the tournament he proves to the world he is one of the best players in the world. Then I would be looking at Kane as I think he will be wanting to prove he is the best striker in the world, and Trippier as he will most probably be at right wing back and looks to be on set pieces.
Written by, Harry Clark (@HarryClark67)