Matchday 3 of World Cup Fantasy is almost upon us, so we have chosen our best players for the upcoming round of the official FIFA game.
We’re getting the picks out before Uruguay v Portugal has reached its conclusion because, as some of you will be aware, anyone trying to use the Matchday 2 Wildcard hack to set their team up will likely need to exploit that loophole by full-time in this evening’s match.
MATCHDAY 3 SCOUT PICKS
Andries Noppert ($4.5m) and Sergio Rochet ($4.0m) are our chosen goalkeepers in Matchday 3 ahead of their nation’s meetings with Qatar and Ghana respectively.
The Netherlands may have underwhelmed against Ecuador on Friday but now face hosts Qatar, who are probably the worst team in the tournament, having racked up just three shots on target. Noppert, meanwhile, already has one clean sheet to his name and is averaging 3.5 saves per match across his two tournament appearances. He still looks a little uncomfortable with the ball at his feet, but we’re backing him to deliver in Matchday 3.
Uruguay battled to a goalless draw in their Group H opener, restricting opponents South Korea to just two shots inside the box. Rochet costs just $4.0m in the official FIFA game, allowing us to push funds further forward.
EURO 2020 hero Denzel Dumfries ($6.0m) has a respectable seven points from his first two matches, but his performances in the attacking third have disappointed. Indeed, the Inter Milan wing-back is yet to register a single shot or key pass in Qatar, but could potentially profit against the hosts, given that Felix Sanchez’s side have allowed seven chances to be created from their left-flank so far, compared to just three on the right.
He’s joined by Jordi Alba ($6.0m), Joakim Maehle ($4.5m) and David Raum (£4.5m), all of whom carry significant points potential at both ends of the pitch.
Alba has three assists to his name already in this tournament, following on from the team-high four he racked up during qualifying. He topped the chances created column for his nation in qualification, too.
As for Maehle and Raum, they are both among the top four defenders for final-third touches in Qatar and now meet Australia and Costa Rica respectively. The latter have failed to create a single ‘big chance’ in the tournament so far, so there is real potential for a German clean sheet in Matchday 3. Raum is suffering from a rib injury at present but reports suggest he should be fit for the midweek game.
Our final defender is admittedly a bit of a punt, but with France already qualified and likely to rotate against Tunisia, Benjamin Pavard ($5.0m) may come back into the thinking after his Matchday 2 omission. L’Equipe reckon that six or seven changes may be made by Didier Deschamps in midweek, with the chance-creating Theo Hernandez ($5.0m) among those rested.
With Germany needing a win against Costa Rica on Thursday, we’ve opted for Jamal Musiala ($8.0m) in the Scout Picks. The Bayern Munich attacker has been the shining light for his nation in Qatar so far and has been their most inventive player, creating five chances. He’s joined by team-mate Leroy Sane ($9.0m), who caused real problems for Spain after coming on as a substitute. The winger is slowly building up his fitness following injury but has since said he feels fit enough to start in Matchday 3. Given that this is a must-win fixture for die Mannschaft, Sane might just be worth the risk given his explosive potential.
Denmark need to beat Australia to qualify, so it’s all-out attack after the attempted containing job against France. Christian Eriksen ($8.0m) has created more chances than any other midfielder in Qatar at the time of writing, so we’re opting for the Manchester United midfielder against a Socceroos outfit that has allowed more shots on goal than any other team in the tournament so far.
Elsewhere, with qualification already secured for France, midfielder Kingsley Coman ($8.0m) could get the nod in attack (see Pavard above), having appeared as a second-half substitute in both Matchdays so far. The Bayern Munich winger has a goal and four assists from nine Bundesliga appearances this season and could thrive if handed a start against Tunisia on Wednesday, with his ownership sitting at just 1.3% in the official FIFA game.
Hakim Ziyech ($7.0m), meanwhile, is selected for Morocco’s Matchday 3 clash with Canada. The Chelsea winger is his nation’s most dangerous player, having racked up four shots and four created chances across Matchdays 1 and 2. He was unfortunate not to score against Belgium when his free-kick found the back of the net, only for it to be ruled out by VAR. John Herdman’s front-foot approach gives up plenty of space for opposition attackers in transition, which could suit Ziyech and co, who only need a point to qualify for the last-16.
Lionel Messi ($10.5m) broke the deadlock against Mexico on Saturday with a wonderfully drilled shot from outside the box, his second goal of the 2022 World Cup. In fact, the 35-year-old has now scored in six consecutive games for Argentina. A win of any type against Poland will send Lionel Scaloni’s side into the last-16, with Messi likely to be a key figure once again. Given the Poles’ defensive record so far in Qatar and the fact they only need a point to qualify (so another defence-first approach is likely), an Argentina attacking double-up feels like overkill ahead of Matchday 3 – so we’ve omitted Angel Di Maria ($8.5m) as a consequence.
Alvaro Morata ($8.0m) has scored in two consecutive World Cup matches after coming on as a substitute and is now pushing for a start against Japan in Matchday 3, a game Spain need a point from to qualify for the last 16. Overall, it’s 29 goals in 58 caps for Morata at international level, a fine record, with his ability to make dangerous runs into the box unique in Luis Enrique’s squad. Indeed, his strike against Germany was a pure striker’s goal, flicking it past Manuel Neuer ($6.0m) after some lovely movement.
With Memphis Depay’s ($8.5m) fitness still being managed, we’ve opted for team-mate Cody Gakpo ($7.0m) in the Scout Picks. The forward has taken his first World Cup by storm, scoring two goals in two games for his country against Senegal and then Ecuador. In those two matches, he’s featured as both a number 10 and as a centre-forward, impressing in both roles.
Brazil’s victory over Switzerland on Monday means that the tournament favourites have now qualified for the round of 16, so we’re avoiding the rotation minefield (there are no team news hints at this early stage, as there are with France) even though a Matchday 3 clash with Cameroon – who need to win to progress – could result in goals aplenty.
Kylian Mbappe ($11.5m) is the major omission here but even though the L’Equipe predicted line-up does suggest he could start against Tunisia, game-time may very well be managed with a round-of-16 tie following just four days later. Fetch us that sofa…
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