World Cup 2018 Fantasy Football - Group E Preview & Tips

6:06pm Jun 10 2018

Neymar, Jesus and Coutinho look set to score big in Group E, but will you risk their rotation?

2nd, 3rd and 4th place in Group E could be particularly difficult to call, but one would assume that Brazil will progress and top the Group with ease and are one of the tournament favourites.

Switzerland are the next best on paper, but there’s plenty of talent in the Serbian team too.

Those wanting to rule Costa Rica out have a short memory, they got to the Quarter Finals in 2014 after winning their group ahead of Uruguay, England and Italy.

Brazil (2)

There’s no shortage of star players in this Brazil team, where Roberto Firmino will only be good for the substitutes bench.

There’s some veterans in defence, but young and emerging talent will be hoping to do a better job of keeping things tighter at the back than their predecessors in the last World Cup.

They’ve also got the world’s most expensive player!

Key Players: Neymar and Coutinho
Differential Pick: Jesus
Set Piece Taker: Coutinho
Nailed Starter: Marcelo and Alisson

Neymar had the hopes of a home nation pinned on him in 2014 and now has the experience and maturity to deliver.

As the world’s most expensive player, he’s likely to be pricey in tournament long fantasy games, but may well be worth it: 6 goals and 8 assists in qualifying demonstrates his ability.

The Brazilian spot-kick taker has been out since February with a broken metatarsal, hopefully this won’t affect his performances. Despite the injury, he still got 28 goals and 17 assists for PSG in just 30 games: phenomenal statistics.

Alongside Neymar, Jesus is set to be the central striker for Brazil, ahead of Firmino.

He won more caps in the qualifying rounds, where he scored seven and assisted five. He’s had an excellent season for Manchester City, with 22 goals and 14 assists from 42 games. He could be a decent differential over Neymar.

Elsewhere, Coutinho is the creative force in this side, causing problems for defences from corners and free kicks. He scored four goals in qualifying, with his domestic record impressive once more: 22 goals and 14 assists in appearances for Liverpool and Barcelona.

With strength and depth in their squad, it’s difficult to predict starters elsewhere on the pitch, but Marcelo will be taking the full back position.

Investment in the Brazilian defence is wise, picking up 10 clean sheets in qualifying.

If any defender can get attacking returns it’s Marcelo, he’s amassed 5 goals and 11 assists for Real Madrid this season.

Switzerland (6)

Switzerland ought to be the second team to progress out of Group E, although they’ll struggle to get anything from their opener with Brazil, which could dent their confidence for their remaining Group games.

They have a well-balanced squad and some intriguing options from a fantasy perspective all over the pitch, with their key players being worthy of your consideration.

Key Player: Shaqiri
Set Piece Taker: Xhaka
Nailed Starter: Rodriguez

It was a season to forget for Shaqiri, as Stoke were relegated from the Premier League, but he still managed 8 goals and 7 assists.

He’s the most prolific attacking player for the Swiss national team, contributing 5 assists during qualifying. Expect to see him on some set pieces too.

Xhaka will be getting a fair share of set pieces with his left foot and although he’s not a popular player in Fantasy Premier League, he’s allowed to roam for the national team.

No longer chained to the double pivot, he tends to play a little further forward and creates plenty of passes: he could be an option for fantasy games who favour defensive midfielders.

The defence are wise for investment, with 9 clean sheets in qualifying respectively.

Rodriguez is an exciting fantasy option, given that he’s on penalty duties.

He regularly gets involved in attacking play from full back, getting 3 goals and 2 assists during the qualifying campaign. One to keep an eye on and pick up after the Brazil clash.

Costa Rica (25)

Looking at the squad and the group, Costa Rica could easily be overlooked for the World Cup and from a fantasy perspective.

However, when it comes to tournament football,  we all know that anything can happen and they have a proven track record on this stage.

Key Player: Campbell
Set Piece Taker: Ruiz
Nailed Starter: Navas

Their opening game against Serbia looks the most winnable on paper, expect a defensive style with some fast paced counter attacks.

Campbell has had a quiet few years at Arsenal, but he’s a player who can really turn it on when playing for his national team, showing his ability at the last World Cup.

He’s on penalties and started their most recently friendly: he wasn’t involved in their qualifying campaign due to injury.

The captain, Ruiz, is another player who’s had a poor domestic season. He demonstrated his value for Costa Rica in qualifying, getting 3 goals and an assist.

He’s a talented free kick taker, expect to see him on set pieces. With 4 clean sheets in qualifying, Madrid keeper Navas should do well in this defensive set up and amass plenty of save points against the likes of Brazil.

Serbia (35)

Serbia have the worst FIFA ranking of the group, but their squad has some familiar faces for those who follow the Premier League and it wouldn’t be a massive surprise if they managed to progress from this group alongside Brazil.

Milinkovic-Savic is an exciting young player who takes the Number 10 role, he’s recently broken into the senior ranks of the Serbian national set up.

Key Player: Milinkovic-Savic
Set Piece Taker: Milivojevic
Nailed Starters: Mitrovic, Kolarov

He’s had a tremendous season for Lazio, scoring 14 and assisting 9: he will be hoping to replicate that form on the world’s biggest stage.

Elsewhere, Milivojevic could be on spot kicks for Serbia, as he has been for Crystal Palace, in a domestic season where he scored ten goals from defensive midfield.

Sitting alongside Matic in the middle of the park, he may have a licence to roam and let’s not forget – he’s got a decent free kick on him too.

Mitrovic could be a sound cheap striker in tournament-long games. He scored six goals during qualifying and has had an impressive end to the domestic season at Fulham: 12 goals in 17 games secured their promotion to the Premier League.

Expect him to start every game, along with captain Kolarov.

The Serbian defence is ageing and the fixtures aren’t great, but he’s got plenty of attacking threat: in fact he’s scored 3 goals and contributed 14 assists for Roma this season.

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