With the World Cup just days away now we are previewing every group and looking at the Fantasy World Cup potential in them. This article will be looking at Group E where; Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia will be battling it out to reach the knock out stages. Brazil will be strong favourites to top the group as the South Americans have won the tournament on five occasions, but who will join them?
Let’s get into the players that may get into your team…
Brazil are one of the favourites to win the whole tournament and you can see why with their fantastic squad ability and depth. One of which is of course Neymar. The PSG forward has been injured as of late, but that’s not going to stop him playing in arguably the biggest tournament in sport. Before his injury he was lighting up Ligue 1, just as he was at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil which was also cut short by injury. He will be expensive, but he’s worth his weight in gold if can get going again.
Another expensive Brazilian is Phillippe Coutinho who will be orchestrating the Brazilian midfield in Russia. The former Liverpool man made his move to Spain in a January and has had reasonable success. His long ranged shooting ability and eye for a pass makes him a fantastic asset for Brazil, Barcelona and potentially your Fantasy World Cup squad. Coutinho will be exactly what Brazil need to unlock defences such as Serbia and Costa Rica and should help you climb up the fantasy leagues.
The final Brazil player to be highlighted is Marcelo. The left back is getting on a bit now, but is yet to taste World Cup success and he will be very hungry for it as it may be his last chance. Marcelo has a brilliant cross in him and will be bombing up and down that left hand side which could pay dividends with a goal or an assist. As well as attacking returns, since Tite took over as manager they have been defensively sound and Marcelo can bag you a nice amount of clean sheet points.
23 man squad: Alisson, Ederson, Cassio, Danilo, Fagner, Marcelo, Filipe Luis, Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, Miranda, Pedro Geromel, Casemiro, Fernandinho, Paulinho, Fred, Renato Augusto, Philippe Coutinho, Willian, Douglas Costa, Neymar, Taison, Gabriel Jesus, Roberto Firmino.
Switzerland’s best finish in a World Cup is the quarter finals which they’ve achieved three times, however the most recent of which was all the way back in 1954. However this young vibrant squad may be able to equal or better that this year depending on their performances. One of their more experienced players is Ricardo Rodriguez who plays primarily at left back. Despite this he finds himself on free kicks and penalties meaning he could become a great buy if he happens to stick one in.
Another player who isn’t shy from outside the box is Stoke’s Xherdan Shaqiri who loves a long ranged effort. He has been rumoured to leave the Potters, but his eyes are firmly focused on Switzerland’s World Cup hopes which could rely a lot on the winger. He scored a quite fantastic acrobatic goal in the last tournament in Brazil so there is proof he can do it on the big stage. He’s also been a decent asset to many Fantasy Premier League managers in the past and may continue that this summer also.
23 man squad: Roman Burki, Yvon Mvogo, Yann Sommer, Manuel Akanji, Johan Djourou, Nico Elvedi, Michael Lang, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Jacques-Francois Moubandje, Ricardo Rodriguez, Fabian Schar, Valon Behrami, Blerim Dzemaili, Gelson Fernandes, Remo Freuler, Xherdan Shaqiri, Granit Xhaka, Steven Zuber, Denis Zakaria, Josip Drmic, Breel Embolo, Mario Gavranovic, Haris Seferovic.
Costa Rica shocked a lot of us in the last World Cup reaching the quarter finals after getting out the group of death with; Italy, Uruguay and England and they could do something similar this time around. A player who played brilliantly was Joel Campbell. His performances ultimately lead to his move to Arsenal where he hasn’t quite hit it off. The pacey forward will cause many problems to the defences they come up against and he could become a nice differential for the upcoming tournament.
Their best player is the goalkeeper Keylor Navas who helped Real Madrid to Champions League glory a few weeks ago. He could rack up a vast amount of points through saves as Costa Rica will be playing a lot of their football in their own half so he’ll be a key man to any success that they could achieve again in this World Cup.
23 man squad: Keylor Navas, Patrick Pemberton, Leonel Moreira, Cristian Gamboa, Ian Smith, Ronald Matarrita, Bryan Oviedo, Oscar Duarte, Giancarlo Gonzalez, Francisco Calvo, Kendall Waston, Johnny Acosta, David Guzman, Yeltsin Tejeda, Celso Borges, Randall Azofeifa, Rodney Wallace, Bryan Ruiz, Daniel Colindres, Christian Bolanos, Johan Venegas, Joel Campbell, Marco Urena.
The Serbs are the only team in the group not to feature in Brazil four years ago, but that doesn’t mean they’ll struggle against the others. They have many good past and present Premier League players that you will recognise and potentially select in your squads. Aleksandar Mitrovic spent last season at Fulham on loan helping them reach the summit of English football. He has been in good form for club and country and will provide a great option for a third striker and will help free up budget elsewhere.
Luka Milivojevic was brilliant for Crystal Palace last season and brilliant for many FPL teams as well, providing return after return from a fifth midfielder. He could bring points again this summer with Serbia depending on whether he is on penalties and set pieces. I suspect he will be on free kicks but penalty duties may lie with Mitrovic and not many would want to argue with him!
23 man squad: Vladimir Stojkovic, Predrag Rajkovic, Marko Dmitrovic, Aleksandar Kolarov, Branislav Ivanovic, Dusko Tosic, Antonio Rukavina, Milos Veljkovic, Milan Rodic, Uros Spajic, Nikola Milenkovic, Nemanja Matic, Luka Milivojevic, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Marko Grujic, Adem Ljajic, Dusan Tadic, Filip Kostic, Andrija Zivkovic, Nemanja Radonjic, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Aleksandar Prijovic, Luka Jovic.
Obviously top of the group has to be Brazil as their team should easily overpower the others. Although, second place is likely to be a good contest. Any one of those three teams could claim a place in the knockout stages, but that said our bets are one Switzerland to just about edge it. Their team is probably the most all rounded and with the likes of Shaqiri and Rodriguez in their ranks and they should have enough to squeeze through.
Written by, Harry Clark (@HarryClark67)