The FFPundits' McDonald's World Cup Fantasy Football Team - Round 1

1:35pm Jun 13 2018

Messi, Neymar and Griezmann will NOT feature in our World Cup Round 1 Fantasy Football team. Error?

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As promised in our FFP League Introduction article last week and as you can see from the screenshot below further down the article, our Pundits Staff team first draft is complete.

We have opted to focus the bulk of our £100m budget on our Attack and Defensive positions – largely down to the lack of attractive mid-range midfield options.

From our own experience, the international fantasy football tournament experience differs to that of Fantasy Premier League – the focus here is on star strikers and defensive clean-sheets.

Finally, with several midfield options such as Hazard, Silva and Sterling being classed as Forwards, options were limited further – a decision to go forward with a two-man midfield was made for Round 1.

Make sure you are following @FFPundits and @FFPundits_Drew on Twitter, where we will post updates of our lineup, as well as our plans for how to use our Chips and Wildcard.

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After 52 years of hurt, will football be coming home? I know for me (FFPundits_Drew), my false-hope is building nicely – that said, we have kept our England assets to a minimum for the time being.

England don’t have great defenders, but Southgate knows this and is opting for a 5-man back-line and holding player to compensate – after conceding only three goals during qualifying we feel clean-sheets are available here.

world cup fantasy - goalkeeper

Jordan Pickford is England’s number 1 and he’s ours too.

His backup has been chosen purely on value, Francis Uzoho – he’s a £4m goalkeeper who has started regularly for Nigeria – cheap and cheerful folks, cheap and cheerful.


We’ve gone big at the back with FIVE attack-minded defenders, with each offering a good chance of clean-sheets – as well as possible attacking returns.

Benjamin Mendy has returned to the French starting lineup after spending most of the season out injured at Man City, and that time out has subsequently lead to a reduced value of £5.5m – an absolute bargain in my personal opinion.

Joining him are fellow attacking left-backs  Jonas Hector (Germany) and Marcelo (Brazil) – both full of potential assists, as well as the odd goal.

world cup fantasy - defenders

At £6.5m a piece, these two are premium defenders for a reason and we’re fully commited to them both.

With Belgium having two favourable opening fixtures (followed by England), we felt a Belgian defender was worth looking at.

With Martinez playing three at the back, it should give Thomas Meunier (£6m) a license to roam down the right from the wing-back position.

Finally, competing the set is the £5m centre-back Andreas Granqvist.

The Swede has kept 7 clean-sheets from 10 games during qualifying, which impressively caught our attention – the exciting part is that this centre-back is on penalty kick duties also.


Once McDonald’s launched their Official FIFA Fantasy game, the first name in our draft was Germany’s Thomas Müller – classed as a Midfielder on the game and a renowned World Cup goal-scorer.

Alongside him is Denmark’s Christian Eriksen who has been in sensational form for his country, bagging 11 goals and 3 assists during 12 qualifying matches – if Denmark score, you wouldn’t bet against Eriksen being involved.

Eriksen has some tough competition for our £9m midfield slot but for now he holds his place.

His hat-trick against the Republic of Ireland showed us how he said capable of scoring as many goals as he creates – the true heartbeat of this Danish side and a World Cup Fantasy must in my eyes.

world cup fantasy - midfelders

Here at FFP HQ, we are all keen to see what Peru can do in Russia.

We felt a Peruvian had to make the squad and unanimously opted for Christian Cueva – the midfielder provides an attacking threat as well as having set-piece and penalty-kick responsibilities.

Enter the squad-enablers in the form of Columbia’s Carlos Sanchez and Egypt’s Tarek Hamed.

Both are holding midfielders priced at a budget cost of just £4.5m and will more than likely make up the numbers for us – the manual substitution feature means they may get their chance to impress us, but time will tell.


Before selecting our front-line, we made the error of checking out the World Cup Top Scorer odds – only to realise that we couldn’t afford the 3 bookies’ favourites, which sent us tumbling back to the drawing board.

Well, after an early draft of Suarez, Neymar and Griezmann, we may have eased off the accelerator a little – these three caused too many sacrifices elsewhere throughout our squad and seriously diluted our budget.

Lining up in place of Suarez and saving us £1m is Edinson Cavani – he scored TEN goals during qualifying compared to Suarez’s five.

Playing as part of one of the strongest forward-lines at the World Cup, we’re expecting some big, healthy fantasy returns from the PSG star-man.

Possibly one of the hardest decisions was to relinquish Neymar who was one of the key players for our lineup.

At £12m, he just stretched our cash too thin and the £3m saving in opting for Gabriel Jesus felt justified – lets hope we are not made to regret this decision.

Jesus scored seven goals from ten appearances during qualifying and is expected to play through the middle, with Neymar and Willian providing the width.

Our final forward position has gone to PSG’s wonder-kid, Kylian Mbappe.

He may be the second youngest player traveling to the World Cup, but when he gets the ball, he strikes fear into the opposition defenders – definitely one to watch this summer.

Captain and Chip Plans

Captain-wise, we plan to take full advantage of the option to stick or twist.

Round 1 will see Cavani taking the armband for the FFPundits team – however, should he fail, we have the likes of Jesus, Muller and Mbappe eager to take their opportunity!

Regarding Chip usage, we will offer further details on this once our draft is confirmed – we plan to stay flexible and judge the situation round by round.

Bench Boost looks a useful tool for Round 4, as we can benefit from unlimited transfers – as well as an extra £5m budget to create a stronger 15-man-squad.

Wildcard could then be activated for Round 5 – first, we’d look to tidy up from the Bench Boost and secondly, as the number of teams drops from 16 to 8, with only 3 transfers available.

Maximum Captain for me favours the later rounds, as during the early stages, we have a number of days to stick or twist with our captain selection.

Later in the tournament, key players will play at the same time, making this chip more useful – who will step up and become a nations new hero?

BEFORE YOU GO… If you’re interested in playing World Cup Daily Fantasy Football with us and many other community members this summer, please download the FREE Starting 11 app today by clicking the banner below – available on Android & iOS.

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