Anthony O'Shea

World Cup Talk

print article archives RSS

Stag's Take - World Cup SFs

Monday, July 9, 2018


Stag’s World Cup Take – Semi-Finals

 

 

And then there was four; four teams remain and four games remain in this World Cup – it has been a memorable tournament for so many brilliant reasons.

 

In fantasy terms, the upcoming semi-finals are, in golfing parlance, moving day. For managers with chips remaining, this round seems like the logical time to deploy one. A wildcard allows you to kit your team out with players for the next two rounds – remember the Third place play-off is included in the final round. That game goes hand in hand with rotation risk, which suggests that using your bench boost now would be optimal. However, I can see logic in arguments for holding the maximum captain card in your hand for the final round, but I don’t agree with it.

 

As per the quarters, this round heralds an increase in permitted free transfers and players from a single country. Whether you like it or not, it’s almost a complete necessity to have a player from each remaining nation in your squad. You have five free transfers to fix your squad before you have to delve into your hard-earned points tally.

 

 

Update on my ranking

 

 

Oddly, what I felt was a pretty good round turned out to be poor in a global sense. Harry Maguire and Denis Cheryshev were unexpected heroes for my side but unfortunately my armband switch from Coutinho (5) to Kane (2) proved to be the wrong call. I had 49 points in all, enough to see me cut the deficit at the top in my main mini-league to just five points but too little to help my overall rank which slipped to 13,871 with 263 points. It’s fair to say that I’m unlikely to have to deal with the problem of parking a new car somewhere in the near future as a prize for winning the overall world title; I am 82 points from the top.

 

Rather than go wild and try to predict unlikely events or surprise goalscorers, I think I will try to (continuing the golf talk) go for par and consolidate a decent score.

 

 

Team news

 

World Cup team news is a little less well publicised than the extremely easily followed Premier League content we’re used to, so I feel a slight bit of info in this department would be an aid for most managers.

 

 

Belgium

 

Fantasy favourite and real world frustration Thomas Meunier is banned for the World Cup semi-final. With no like-for-like replacement, Boyata or Carrasco are in line to replace him in a 343. A wildcard move from Roberto Martinez, and probably downright ludicrous, would be to pull back de Bruyne to cover the right flank. If they use a 433, Alderweireld could go right with Thomas Vermaelen partnering Vertonghen in the centre. The 433 seems like a more logical and solid solution to the problems presented by Meunier’s absence.

 

KdB actually played in a kind of false 9 role against Brazil, pushing Romelu Lukaku further right than he played in previous matches in a 433. It remains to be seen whether the Man City playmaker stays in such a central position or moves further back in the 343 that Martinez usually favoured in Russia.

 

 

France

 

Blaise Matuidi missed France’s win over Uruguay through suspension and should retake his place alongside Kante and Pogba in France’s midfield in place of his deputy, Corentin Tolisso.

 

There’s nothing to suggest that Benjamin Pavard or Hernandez will lose their spots on the flanks of the France backline. Both have enhanced their reputation greatly having earnt their starting berths through the injuries of others.

 

 

Croatia

 

Sime Vrsaljko is unlikely to be fit in time for the England game. Like Meunier earlier, this raises more questions than answers. The consensus online seems to be that Vida will be pushed out on the right with Corluka partnering Lovren in the middle. Croatia also have Tim Jedvaj as a potential candidate to replace Atleti’s right-back.

 

Goalkeeper Daniel Subasic is also carrying an injury suffered in extra time against Russia, but there’s few suggestions that the ailment will be enough to rule him out of the game against England.

 

 

England

 

Jordan Henderson and Jamie Vardy were England’s biggest doubts post-Sweden but they both seem to be training and in contest to start.

 

Perhaps my favourite injury-related quote goes to Jordan Pickford. At one point the Everton shotstopper was a doubt after injuring his own thumb: “I went to punch the floor and ended up punching my knee and hurt my thumb. It was a bit of anger. But I’m a man, not a mouse. I’m fine and I’ll live another day, won’t I?" Good man, Jordan, stick to making world class saves and avoid the boxing versus inanimate things.

 

 

Differentials

 

 

Croatia v England

 

Ivan Perisic – no Croat can match his shots per game tally but one goal is a measly return for his efforts. Against Russia a few chances presented themselves again.

 

Ashley Young – Eight of England’s 11 goals in this World Cup have come from set-pieces – penalties, corners, and free-kicks. Young has passed under the radar as a way to cover yourself for these. Kieran Trippier has had a spectacular tournament and also takes set-pieces.

 

 

France v Belgium

 

Olivier Giroud – France lacked a bit of edge in attack in their group games and Didier Deschamps’ solution to the problem has been including Giroud. He’s always good for a goal and may benefit from more crosses coming his way with Thomas Meunier’s absence causing headaches for Roberto Martinez.

 

Paul Pogba – Manchester United’s record signing still looks like his country’s second-most likely man to return points behind Antoine Griezmann and his penalties. He’s good value at 8.8 and unappreciated judging by his 16.3% ownership.








Video Center

  •  
    Player News: Week 11

    Player News: Week 11
  •  
    DFS Analysis: Lewis, Johnson

    DFS Analysis: Lewis, Johnson
  •  
    Dose: Jones Could Miss Week 11

    Dose: Jones Could Miss Week 11
  •  
    Dose: Bell Doesn

    Dose: Bell Doesn't Show
  •  
    Dose: Watkins Expected Back

    Dose: Watkins Expected Back
  •  
    Nicole: Trade Targets

    Nicole: Trade Targets
  •  
    NBA Waiver Picks

    NBA Waiver Picks
  •  
    Dose: Chubb leads Browns

    Dose: Chubb leads Browns