World Cup Fantasy Football Round 1: Team Selection - Play the Bench Boost Chip?

5:00pm Jun 11 2018

Our @_FPLTips World Cup Fantasy Football team is ready for Round 1

Fantasy football is BACK ladies and gentleman and as previously announced, we’ll be playing the Official FIFA World Cup Fantasy Football game over the coming weeks.

Our mini-league is NOW OPEN and there’s a £225.00 prize pool up for grabs, with £150.00 going to the winner.

Details of our World Cup Fantasy Football league can be found at the end of this article, along with the league code and entry details.

World Cup Round 1 kicks off with Russia v Saudi Arabia on Thursday 14th June so here’s a look at how the FPLtips team is shaping up ahead of the action.


Jordan Pickford (5.5) appears to have won the no.1 shirt ahead of Jack Butland and Nick Pope and with opening fixtures against Tunisia and Panama, who are 21st and 55th in the FIFA World Rankings at present, England and Belgium players are firmly on the radar.


Gareth Southgate’s side conceded just 3 times in qualifying; the joint best record, along with Spain, so Kieran Trippier (5.5) has also been selected.

Operating in a right-wing-back role, the Spurs defender has taken over a share of set piece duties, since winning a place in the side.

With 5 goals and 7 assists in qualifying, no defender was directly involved in more goals than Belgium’s Thomas Meunier (6.0) and the right-wing-back also faces Panama and Tunisia across the first two rounds.

After Colombia’s first choice left-back, Frank Fabra, suffered an injury that will rule him out of the World Cup, 25-year-old defender Johan Mojica (4.5) looks to be a potential bargain.

They’re widely tipped as favourites to win their group and in Round 1, Colombia face a Japan side that have failed to win any of their 4 recent friendlies, conceding 7 goals and scoring just twice.


Across the midfield, we’ve gone for big hitters in the form of Thomas Muller (9.5), James Rodriguez (9.0) and Christian Eriksen (9.0), who will each provide captain options throughout the opening rounds.

Over the last 6 matches in qualifying, Eriksen’s tally of 12 shots on target was on par with Griezmann, Lewandowski and Neymar; only Lukaku and Ronaldo registered more.

Muller created 22 chances during that period; just two fewer than Lionel Messi produced and the German midfielder was directly involved in 12 goals in total during the qualifiers, scoring 5 times and providing 7 assists.

Morocco’s Hakim Ziyech (7.0) scored 9 goals and registered 15 assists in the league for Ajax last season and will be hoping to replicate that form for his country. He’s likely to be responsible for the majority of their set pieces, including penalties.

The final spot in midfield is likely to go to a Russia player, with the intention of having a captain option for day 1 and Aleksei Miranchuk (6.5) is pencilled in for now but we’ll have the advantage of being able to see the Russia starting lineup, prior to the deadline.

The 22-year-old is a little bit of a punt, having occasionally lined up as a partner for Smolov upfront but there is a chance he may not even start and if that’s the case, we can swap him out.


Moving onto the forwards, it’s a deadly strike force of Romelu Lukaku (10.0) and Gabriel Jesus (9.0).

Only Ronaldo (15) and Lewandowski (16) scored more than the Manchester United striker’s 11 goals in qualifying and Lukaku’s involvement in 11 ‘big chances’ during the last 6 qualifying games was more than any other player.

Jesus, meanwhile, has 10 goals across 17 appearances for Brazil, including 7 goals and 4 assists from 9 starts in qualifying.

Captain Options

The Official fantasy World Cup game offers the opportunity to stick or twist with your captain after each day, within a round. So, with that in mind, here are the 6 potential captain options within this team, for Round 1.

Miranchuk, or perhaps another Russian midfielder, will take the armband initially, on day 1, Ziyech will be the option for day 2, against Iran, before Eriksen on day 3, for Denmark’s opener against Peru.

Should the Spurs man fail as captain, Thomas Muller will be next up, on day 4, Romelu Lukaku will provide the option for day 5, against Panama and finally, should the Belgian provide an uninspiring captain score, James Rodriguez will offer a final twist option for captaincy, on the last day of Round 1, as Colombia face Japan.

However, there is of course the option to stick at any time, if one of the captains returns a substantial score.

Play Bench Boost Chip?

The final thing to note here is that the bench isn’t organised in the correct order, to take advantage of substitutions.

Generally, you’ll want to use the 4 bench places for the players who play last out of your squad, so that you can bring them on for players who’ve failed to return points.

However, for this team, we’ve got the Bench Boost chip in play for Round 1, to hopefully start off with a bang!

The reason behind the decision is that there are a number of players who provide balance to the squad, from the likes of Morocco, Russia and Nigeria and those cheap, budget options might not make it out of the group stage, which could make it harder to build a Bench Boost squad later on in the tournament.

There is the added risk of not quite being sure that players will start in Round 1, with only the recent friendlies to base our decision on, but looking at the fixtures, it may just be a risk worth taking.

Nigeria goalkeeper, Uzoho (4.0) and Denmark’s Dalsgaard (4.5) are two of the players enabled by the Bench Boost chip, while Uruguay punts Varela (4.5) and De Arrascaeta (5.5) also make the cut.

Varela is expected to be first choice at right-back but suffered a minor injury prior to Uruguay’s most recent friendly game, though he has since returned to training, according to reports.

De Arrascaeta is reverse ‘Out of Position’ (OOP), meaning he’s technically an attacking midfielder but he’s listed as a forward.

However, he’s lined up either as a left-midfielder or in a no. 10 role during recently matches, operating behind Cavani and Suarez, so offers a cheap way in to that impressive-looking Uruguay attack.

So that’s how the FPLtips is shaping up as things stand! Leave a comment below and let us know how you’re lining up and best of luck for Round 1!


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