World Cup 2018 Fantasy Football - Group B Preview & Tips

1:48pm Jun 8 2018

Portugal and Spain look set to cruise through World Cup Group B, but, is Ronaldo your no1 fantasy pick?

There are some big guns in Group B, who you’d expect to convert plenty of chances, although games against defensive teams could prove to be tough and any drop in points could prove costly.

The opener of Portugal vs Spain is an intriguing match up and could decide who emerges on top spot.

Expect some tight games and plenty of fireworks from this group, but most of all, I’m sure we’ll all enjoy the thrill of captaining Chriatiano Ronaldo at some point.


Portugal (4)

Portugal will be favourites to win the group, as the current Kings of Europe have proven that they are more than a one-man team.

They’ve put in an impressive qualification display, winning 9 of their 10 games and keeping seven clean sheets in the process.

Spain will prove to be a tough opening game, but they have confidence on their side and a word-class player to rely upon.

Key Player: Ronaldo 
Differential Pick
: A. Silva
Set Piece Taker: B. Silva
Nailed Starters: Pepe, Riu Patricio and Ronaldo

A deadly striking partnership contests the key playing position, with hot pick Ronaldo the star man in this Portugal side.

He’s scored 15 goals throughout their qualifying campaign, plus 2 in the Confederation Cup last year.

His minutes have been managed a little this season at Real Madrid, but his statistics remain phenomenal: with 44 goals and 8 assists in 44 appearances, he shows no sign of slowing down.

Ronaldo is likely to be one of the highest owned players in World Cup fantasy games and will provide a big cash outlay, so it may be worth looking to Silva as a cheaper differential striker.

Partnering Ronaldo up top, his qualifying campaign has been very strong, with 9 goals. He has had a disappointing domestic season though, with his numbers far below those of Ronaldo.

Bernardo Silva has had an excellent season for Manchester City, with 9 goals and 11 assists. He will be hoping to replicate that form for his national team and he should be high on confidence.

He’s likely to be on corners and indirect free kicks, aiming for the big men in the middle to convert.

With plenty of clean sheets in qualifying, plus defensive minded sides Morocco and Iran in their group, the likes of Pepe and Riu Patricio should provide clean sheets.

I’d maybe swerve them for the Spain opener, although Pepe does provide a goal threat which could come good.


Spain (8)

The 2010 tournament winners have plenty of strength and depth in their squad, with many options across the pitch but they will be hoping to get off to a better start than they did in the 2014 tournament.

They’ve gone through a fair amount of change since 2010, and now look like a threat in the competition agin. It’s a tough opener against Portugal before the schedule eases with Iran and Morocco.

Key Player: Isco
Differential Pick
: Costa
Set Piece Taker: Silva
Nailed Starters: De Gea, Alba and Ramos

Isco is the star attacker for Spain at the World Cup, having had a solid season for Real Madrid and a successful qualifying campaign.

He’s likely to be the go-to-pick for those wanting a Spain attacker as he was vital in their qualification games, scoring 5 as well as getting 2 assists.

His numbers in the domestic campaign are reasonable too, with 9 goals and 10 assists across 49 appearances respectively.

If Spain decide to go for a big centre forward instead, it will be Diego Costa name on the team sheet.

Always surrounded by controversy, it’s been an odd season for him: dropped by Chelsea and then couldn’t play for Atletico until the January transfer window.

He’s put in some strong performances for club and country since then though, with 7 goals and 6 assists for Atleti in 25 appearances.

David Silva has been rejuvenated under Pep Guardiola this season, having one of his best seasons ever, as he orchestrated Manchester City’s dominance to the Premier League title with 10 goals and 14 assists.

He has overcome personal issues in the latter stages of the EPL season and will now be pivotal in providing dead balls for Spain in the tournament, as well as taking the occasional penalty.

Clean sheets look likely against Iran and Morocco, particularly with De Gea in goal, who continues to go from strength to strength.

Dave won the Premier League golden glove award this season and kept 6 clean sheets in qualifying for Spain and is likely to be the highest selected goalkeeper across most World Cup fantasy games.

In front of him, Ramos and Alba are likely to pick up attacking returns as well as clean sheets – they’ve both got on the score sheet during the qualification campagn: Alba has 12 domestic assists this season, Ramos has scored five goals for Real Madrid and occasionally takes penalties for Spain too!


Morocco (42)

It looks like a tall order for Morocco to progress from this group – they have the lowest FIFA ranking and are without a strong, reliable striker.

They are known for playing defensively, which could result in a clean sheet against Iran in their first game – but you’d be wise to go without them for their match-ups with Portugal and Spain though, for obvious reasons.

Key Player: Ziyech
Set Piece Taker
: Boussoufa
Nailed Starter: Benatia

Ziyech is probably the most talented attacker in the Morocco squad, grabbing 2 goals and 2 assists in qualifying.

He’s also had a successful season for Ajax, with 9 goals and 18 assists.

If Morocco manage to score, expect Ziyech to be among the action – he’s on penalties too, for what it’s worth.

Boussoufa has had a slow domestic season, but he did chip in with 3 assists during Morocco’s qualifying campaign and looks to be on set pieces for the tournament.

Clean sheet hopes will lie with Juventus centre back Benatia, who’s already contributed to shut outs against Ivory Coast, Mali and Gabon.


Iran (34)

If Spain or Portugal do falter, it will be Iran who’ll be looking to capitalise and pile on the pressure.

They have a decent defensive set up, but there are players in their side that can provide some quality when needed.

Their first game is the most favourable and a must win for them – beyond that point, it may be worth looking elsewhere.

Key Player: Azmoun
Set Piece Taker
: Dejagah
Nailed Starter: Pouraliganji

Azmoun looks to be the main hope of scoring for this goal-shy Iran team, having scored four in qualifying and had a steady domestic season, delivering 5 goals and 5 assists.

Dejagah is an important player for Iran, wearing the captains armband in some of their qualifying appearances and their main penalty taker.

With eight clean sheets on the road to qualification, the defence is well worth a look, with Paraliganji the main goal threat from the back line.

He’s scored 4 domestic goals this season. A clean sheet is promising for their first match against Morocco, but it will be an uphill struggle from then on.

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