World Cup Fantasy 2022: Scout’s Matchday 4/round-of-16 picks

Kacper Wilkins
Kacper Wilkins
12 Min Read


Matchday 4 of World Cup Fantasy is almost upon us, so we have chosen our best players for the upcoming round of the official FIFA game.

MATCHDAY 4 SCOUT PICKS

GOALKEEPERS

After conceding twice against Saudi Arabia in Argentina’s World Cup opener, Emiliano Martinez ($5.5m) has since kept back-to-back clean sheets against Mexico and Poland, a period which has seen La Albiceleste concede zero big chances. In fact, they have now kept seven clean sheets in their last eight matches, which surely makes them one of the favourites to lift the World Cup trophy later this month. Already swept aside by a fluent French team who ran out 4-1 winners in Matchday 1, Australia are up next in the last 16.

Andries Noppert ($4.5m) is once again selected in the Scout Picks, as the Netherlands prepare to meet USA in the last 16. The budget ‘keeper has played every minute of the campaign in Qatar so far, averaging over 5 points per match. Louis van Gaal’s side, meanwhile, have already kept clean sheets against Senegal and Qatar, allowing just one big chance across their three Group A encounters.

DEFENDERS

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Although Alex Sandro’s ($5.0m) hip problem doesn’t sound too serious, we’re playing it safe by opting for team-mate Marquinhos ($5.5m) in the Scout picks. The PSG centre-half has excelled alongside Thiago Silva ($6.0m) for Brazil in Qatar, with neither Serbia or Switzerland able to record a single shot on target. The Selecao kept 13 clean sheets in 17 games during qualifying, conceding just five goals, so this is a reliable defensive unit to back in the last 16.

Theo Hernandez ($5.0m) has created nine chances at the World Cup (4.5 per game) so far, more than any other defender, despite featuring for only 174 minutes. The left-back came off the bench against Australia in Matchday 1 due to Lucas Hernandez’s ($5.5m) tournament-ending injury, and responded with a nice assist for Adrien Rabiot ($6.5m). He then bagged yet another assist as he played from the start against Denmark, a game which France won by two goals to one. Poland, meanwhile, have allowed 12 chances to be created from their right-flank so far, more than any other side bar Denmark and Costa Rica, so there is further assist potential for Hernandez in the last 16.

England face African champions Senegal in the World Cup last 16, having topped their group with two clean sheets. Without Sadio Mane, injured in the leadup to the tournament, Senegal are clearly not as potent an attacking force as they might have been and have been dealt a further blow with Idrissa Gana Gueye ($5.5m) picking up his second booking of the tournament against Ecuador, ruling him out of the first knockout round. Kieran Trippier ($5.0m), meanwhile, is still awaiting his first attacking return, but has created three chances and attempted 10 crosses. England also feel like a team to back defensively, given that five of their last six wins in the knockout stages of the World Cup have come with a clean sheet.

Whilst we’re not expecting too much from budget defender Romain Saiss ($4.5m), he still looks like one of the better cheap defenders to back in the last 16, with Morocco conceding just one goal in the group stage. In that time, they allowed just four shots on target, despite facing the likes of Belgium and Croatia. As for Saiss, he also carries a bit of goal threat, always making a nuisance of himself attacking set-pieces. He might not be needed from the bench, but if he is, he’s not a bad option at just $4.5m.

It’s difficult to look past Borna Sosa ($3.5m) in the official FIFA game, given his bargain bin price tag, plus the fact Croatia meet Japan in Matchday 4. The attacking full-back sits joint-fourth among defenders for attempted crosses, while only five backline options have recorded more final-third touches than him in the group stage. Japan won’t roll over, as evidenced by wins over Germany and Spain so far in Qatar, but the Croatians’ experience and tournament know-how could prove key in this matchup.

MIDFIELDERS

Portugal’s main Man has undoubtedly been Bruno Fernandes ($9.5m) so far at the World Cup, with his double sinking Uruguay in Matchday 2. Deployed in a number 10 role, it brought out the goalscoring side to his game, as he mustered six shots in the position and didn’t make a key pass. However, in the deeper role we saw earlier in the tournament, he was more of a creator, with his share of set-pieces adding to his assist potential. After a disappointing Euro 2020 that saw Portugal crash out at the last-16 stage, they will be determined to reach the latter stages in Qatar, with Fernandes key to their prospects.

Dani Olmo ($8.0m) started and finished all three group games for Spain, and has so far been immune to Luis Enrique’s line-up tinkering. In that time, he leads the way among his squad for shots, penalty box touches and chances created, with a goal and assist racked up so far. Against Germany in Matchday 2, he was lively in attack and nearly scored a cracking opening goal, while he took on a creator role v Japan on Thursday, always looking for the killer ball. There’s something about him that Enrique likes and, among Spain’s attacking options, he looks the best bet for minutes in the last 16.

Ivan Perisic ($7.5m) has been superb for his country for more than a decade now and continues to make an impact, with two assists in Qatar so far. Lining up on the left wing in Zlatko Dalic’s 4-3-3 formation, the 33-year-old has racked up more shots than any team-mate, while his four created chances is only one short of Mateo Kovacic’s ($6.5m) tally, highlighting his all-round points potential. Perisic may be approaching the latter stage of his career but will relish the prospect of going up against a Japan side that have allowed more chances to be created from their right-flank than any other side bar Denmark and Costa Rica.

Enzo Fernandez ($6.0m) has emerged from the fringes of the Argentina squad to star in Qatar, producing attacking returns (one goal and one assist) in each of his last two appearances. In that time, the Benfica midfielder has impressed, with a classy display against Poland in Matchday 3, which you’d think would be enough to retain his role in the starting XI in the last 16. While their campaign started in the worst possible fashion against Saudi Arabia, there is a feeling this Argentina side are growing into the tournament. Australia, meanwhile, have been pretty resolute defensively since their loss to France, but La Albiceleste will surely have too much for them on Saturday.

Without any room to include Cody Gakpo ($7.0m) or Memphis Depay ($8.5m), we’ve turned to attacking midfielder Davy Klaassen ($6.0m) in the Scout Picks, who has returned either a goal or assist in each of his three appearances in Qatar so far. As a result, he is averaging 5.6 points per match, a very decent total given his kind price tag. Against Qatar in Matchday 3, he was named Man of the Match, with the number 10 position in Louis van Gaal’s 3-4-1-2 formation looking like it’s his.

FORWARDS

Argentina v Saudi Arabia team news:

No player at the World Cup has recorded more goal attempts, shots inside the box, big chances or penalty box touches than Kylian Mbappe ($11.5m) so far, with the PSG forward thriving under Didier Deschamps. Arguably the player of the tournament to date, he now meets a Poland side on Sunday that made it out of their group by the skin of their teeth, with their limitations on show against Argentina in the final round. In that match, Lionel Scaloni’s side generated 3.72 expected goals (xG) from 23 shots, which hints at Mbappe and co finding the net at least a couple of times in Matchday 4.

Despite missing a penalty, Lionel Messi ($10.5m) carved open Poland on several occasions in Matchday 3, with his two goals in Qatar only bettered by a handful of players so far. Across his three tournament appearances, only Mbappe can beat him for goal attempts, shots inside the box and penalty box touches, although he does trump his PSG team-mate for creativity, racking up a very decent nine created chances. That could be important in the last 16, too, given that opponents Australia have allowed 14 chances to be created from the centre zone, more than any other side bar Costa Rica.

Richarlison ($7.5m) has nine goals in his last eight matches for Brazil, with his brace against Serbia still fresh in the mind. The Tottenham Hotspur forward looks to have won the battle for the centre-forward role in Tite’s 4-3-3/4-2-3-1, and it’s hard to argue against the value he offers at just $7.5m. With five shots in the box racked up prior to Matchday 3, the 15.3% owned frontman looks like an excellent option to attack the knockout stages.

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