With Real Madrid winning the Champions League on Saturday, the book closed on the 2017/18 Fantasy season. We certainly hope you enjoyed playing the Goal Premier League, Champions League, and European Super League games. Now though, it's time to focus on the next competition which is right around the corner.
Goal's World Cup Fantasy Football game is already out and it’s time to start looking at the best players and biggest stars that will be competing in Russia this summer. With prizes worth £10,000 to be won it's well worth getting involved via the mobile apps (both Android or Apple) or on desktop.
When constructing your squad, it’s easy to select players based on club performance or allegiance, but that’s often not the best metric to predict how players will perform at the World Cup.
Instead, let’s focus on how some of the Premier League’s best performed with their national teams during qualifiers and what it means going forward.
GK: David Ospina - Colombia, £5.8m
The Arsenal man sat behind Petr Cech for most of the Premier League season but was decent in Fantasy when he did start, averaging just under five points per match. While minutes were not easy to come by in North London, Ospina could always rely on game time with the national team for whom he started all 18 qualification matches.
En route to Russia, Ospina notched seven clean sheets and 46 saves, both of which put him top five among eligible goalkeepers. The South American outfit have a very tough task ahead of themselves in the tournament proper though as two nations in their group (Japan and Poland) both finished with top 10 attacks in qualifying. With a £5.8m price tag, Ospina is certainly ownable but it may be wise to look to an easier group for your goalkeeper.
DEF: Kyle Walker - England, £6.2m
Walker showing up on this list should be of little surprise to players of our Premier League Fantasy game, seeing as he finished in the top five at his position. Those points largely came from his 15 clean sheets and 6 assists, both also top five rankings among defenders.
His international performances were just as fantastic helping England keep clean sheets in seven of his nine starts. The Manchester City man picked up two assists as well which cemented his qualifying campaign as the best among Premier League defenders. As for the pending trip to Russia, Walker looks a fantastic own with the match against Belgium the only difficult one for him on paper as far as the intial stages are concerned.
MID: Christian Eriksen - Denmark, £7.2m
We all know that Salah dominated everything domestically, but it was Christian Eriksen who did likewise for the European qualifying rounds. The Tottenham talisman scored a ridiculous 11 times in just 12 matches propelling Denmark back to the World Cup after they had missed the last edition in 2014.
That goal tally was the most at his position and was only bettered by Cristiano Ronaldo and Robert Lewandowski albeit Eriksen did have an extra two games via the play-off round. Those goals were no fluke either as the Dane also notched a career high in scoring for Spurs as well (11), indicating that this is natural development. With an easy start to group stages, and his new found shooting boots, he is a must own in the Goal World Cup Fantasy game .
FOR: Romelu Lukaku - Belgium, £7.9m
Some may view Lukaku’s debut season at Manchester United as a bit of a disappointment as his 16 goals were his lowest tally over the last three years. That placed the Belgian outside the top five in scoring for the first time since 2014/15. Fortunately, those trends did not impact his performances with Belgium as he averaged over a goal and a half per game during qualifying.
He found the net an impressive 11 times, four more than the next best Premier League forward, Gabriel Jesus. Overall, Lukaku finished World Cup qualifying with the third most goals, yet sits 10th in price in his own position. Considering that, and his early start to group action, the only reason not to own Lukaku is if you believe there are three better value plays in the forward category.