The beginning of the World Cup has certainly been interesting. However, for many elite forwards, and their Fantasy owners, it’s been “interesting” in a disappointing way. Lionel Messi, Neymar, and Luis Suarez all failed to find the back of the net, which is very difficult to swallow considering their prices and the kind matchups it seemed they would all have on paper.
Fortunately, over here at Goal, you don’t have to just sit and stomach those poor outings though. Instead, we offer midweek substitutions which allows you a second bite of the proverbial cherry. There are plenty of promising options still available for you to add before the end of round one so let’s take a look at five of the most promising forward replacements.
Robert Lewandowski - Poland, £8.1m, owned in 5.77% of teams
Lewandowski scored an incredible 16 times during qualifying, breaking the previous European record by two goals. The result? Poland making it back to the World Cup for the first time since 2006. The downside there is that we don’t have a benchmark for what we can expect from him in Russia but he could be a sneaky shout to win the Golden Boot if he performs as he does for Bayern Munich.
His low ownership may be down to doubts that Poland will advance but, even if they don’t, you will have unlimited transfers once the group stages have been completed.
Romelu Lukaku - Belgium, £7.9m, owned in 12.16% of teams
He just missed the cut for my personal XI and, seeing as he sits outside the top 20 in ownership, it’s possible Lukaku didn’t make your squad either. He definitely deserves a look as a super-sub, though, as he racked up an impressive 11 goals in just seven starts during European qualifiers.
Belgium as a whole had one of the most lethal attacks (4.11 goals per 90) en route to Russia and will face just one top 15 defence in Group G (England). The first match, against Panama’s 31st ranked defence, is an incredibly kind one which makes Lukaku my pick of the litter here.
Harry Kane - England, £8.1m, owned in 11.67% of teams
The Englishman scored fewer goals in qualifying than anyone else on this list, but his rate (five in six starts) is certainly not shabby. The hope here is that he can replicate his performances from the Premier League in which he has finished as the highest scoring striker for three consecutive seasons.
As for the World Cup he, like Lukaku, will have a kind start to group play as he’ll face both Panama and Tunisia before the massive England v. Belgium match. His price is high but, considering the players you’re likely downgrading from, that shouldn’t matter too much.
Keisuke Honda - Japan, £5.9m, owned in .73% of teams
Japan are not exactly an attacking juggernaut but, when they do score, it’s more likely than not that Honda was involved. In fact, he was part of four of Japan’s six goals in the last two World Cups. Admittedly, out of his ten starts during qualifying he only played as a striker twice which puts him at a disadvantage, but he only blanked twice while racking up a team high seven goals.
Considering his low price and ownership stats, Honda could well be the hidden gem that launches you up the rankings in the Goal game.
Marcus Berg - Sweden, £6.7m, owned in .24% of teams
When Zlatan Ibrahimovic retired from international football in 2016, there was no heir apparent in the Swedish set up. While it would be a stretch to lay that mantle on 31 year old Marcus Berg, he sure did step up when his team needed him. The Al Ain man scored eight goals in a very tough qualifying group to help ensure his nation’s presence at this very tournament. That finishing touch is not exactly a fluke wither as he did lead the Arabian Gulf League in goals with 25. If that form continues to bleed into his outings for Sweden, he could be a fascinating Fantasy dark horse.