A bit like Baysie I’m a bit in the dark when it comes to World Football. Yes I follow the main leagues but international football is a whole new ball game – pardon the pun. A few will question the big name selections I’ve gone with up forward, especially considering their previous tournaments, but after fantastic domestic seasons I’m counting on them to bring that form onto the world stage. Lastly, I have filled my starting XI with out and out guns as much as possible and haven’t left much cash for the bench. This means that my four substitutions are a real bunch of nobodies, regardless onto my team…
Romero gets the nod as my starting keeper. $160k is probably more than I would have liked to pay, especially considering the prices of Lloris and Buffon, but when arguably one of the main contenders for the World Cup are put in a group with Bosnia & Herz, Iran and Nigeria, its worth that extra dosh. Guzan gets the spot on the bench due to his basement price of $110k. Not expecting him to start but I’m banking on Romero to deliver the majority of the points from the goalkeeper position…
I probably should’ve mentioned before but I’ve gone with a 3-4-3 formation so I’m pretty keen to get through the defence without much damage done to the budget. With this I mind I’ve started proceedings with a relatively cheap defender from the Ivory Coast. Aurier gets the nod and at $120k I’m delighted. He’s been linked as a possible replacement for Bacary Sagna at Arsenal and has come off a good season domestically for Toulouse. He’ll pretty much play as a right-winger and is every chance for an assist or two in the process. A fairly tough group in Colombia, Greece and Japan will make it hard to squeeze in a clean sheet but I’m fairly content to play him regardless, especially considering his price. Next we move onto another attacking midfielder, this time at a much bigger nation. Marcelo occupies my next position and he wasn’t initially in my plans but after completing my team I had a bunch of cash left so I decided to solidify up my defence with a ‘premium’. At $175k he’s not cheap but I wasn’t really keen on saving any leftover cash. He’s locked in at left back for Brazil and will be a real chance for some serious assist points, not to mention some possible clean sheet points as well – despite a relatively tough group. Next up I’ve gone with a solid pick in Koscielny. A fantastic season with Arsenal will hopefully transpire into a good World Cup for France as well. Switzerland, Ecuador & Honduras shouldn’t provide too much trouble so hopefully clean sheets are a regular occurrence, not to mention his goal threat as well. They’re my starting defenders; next up I’ve gone and selected the cheapest possible defenders just to fill the mandatory bench positions. I’m not going to be rotating my defence so didn’t see the need to pick relevant players. Wilkinson from Australia and Kolasinac are the fortunate two that got selected for those interested…
Finally we start getting to the point generating positions. The midfielders is were I’ve spent a fair chunk of my coin, but not the most! Ozil gets the nod as the first midfielder I selected. He is simply unstoppable for Germany and I reckon Germany are going to have a successful World Cup, meaning Ozil will surely be at the forefront of their opportunities – after all he is a creative masterpiece. Next up is a surprise selection for some, but not for me. Matt mentioned him in his article but didn’t have the confidence in starting him but I’m the opposite. Cuadrado is the next player I selected in my midfield and for very good reason to. He has had a simply stunning season domestically and this is his chance to step up in terms of the world stage. This is the tournament he can announce himself. At $150k he’s an absolute steal and with Falcao being ruled out of the World Cup he will be in charge of leading his Colombian teammates with his actions, hopefully through goals and assists! The third player I selected was my boy Eden Hazard. Statistically it seemed logical to pick his teammate Kevin De Bruyne, considering his qualifiers form, but I’ve gone a bit left field. I think (hope) Hazard is going kill this World Cup and hopefully take the exciting Belgium to a respectable finish. A group with Russia, Algeria and South Korea means Belgium may well bang in a fair few goals during the group stages…That’s what I’m hoping anyway! The last player I picked was by no means my worst selection. And that selection goes to Flappers (Di Maria). Argentina are set to have a fantastic tournament and considering his domestic form Di Maria will be at the forefront of their success. With Messi and Aguero up front to bang in the goals he could be up for a succession of assists, not to mention his goal threat as well, great pick! Last pick is once again a cheapest possible selection of Bentaleb from France. Was absolutely loved by Tim Sherwood at Spurs hence got a lot of game time but I’m not predicting the same sort of minutes for his national team… One to fill in the numbers for my team I’m afraid.
We’ve arrived now to the big fullas! This is where I’ve spent the vast majority of my cash, despite only requiring three positions. I’ve ignored previous tournaments and have purely selected them on their class and on what they’re capable of doing on any given day. First position goes to Mr. Neymar. He’s had a fantastic lead up to the tournament and really established himself at the Confederations Cup. He comes with a hefty price tag but if he captures the form he showed in the lead up he’ll be one of the highest scoring players. Next goes to a little bit of a POD when it comes to Argentina. Originally I had the man himself, Lionel Messi but swapped it up for his teammate Sergio Aguero. He has had a simply sublime season and even though it was hampered through constant injury he still was one of the top goal scorers. I’m predicting a big tournament from Sergio so hopefully he doesn’t disappoint! The final player goes to arguably the best player in the world…I simply couldn’t not select him. Cristiano Ronaldo is yet to really establish himself at a World Cup so why not a better time than now? He’s was the Ballon D’Or and the Champions League winner within the year and will be looking to add a World Cup winners medallion with his Portugal team mates. A tough ask but I reckon he’s up for it!
Players To Watch:
- Martins Indi – He was the original player I had selected instead of Marcelo but ended up dumping him due to the extra cash I had once I had completed my team. A relatively tough group with Spain, Chille and Aussie Aussie Aussie, but the Netherlands really need to face embarrassment and avoid a group stage exit out of this World Cup, which means they have to get the better of Australia and Chille…It’s not going to be easy but I guess we’ll wait and see!
- Shinji Kagawa – Shinji was extremely close to getting a call up into my starting XI but in the end couldn’t manage to fit him in. Japan have a somewhat difficult group with Colombia, Greece and Ivory Coast all wishing to get out of the group stages as well. If Japan do wish to proceed further than the group stages then Kagawa will be at the heart of their score involvements. Has the potential to set this tournament alight. One to watch,
- Fred – Fred was extremely close to joining my team but his Brazilian teammate Neymar just pipped him. In the end it’s a toss of the coin pick but I’ve just gone the youthful exuberance of Neymar and hope that not only will he score goals that he’ll assist as well. At the end of the day his lead up form just got him over the line.
Well that’s it from me. It’ll be interesting to see who’ll win this years World Cup…Unfortunately I’m tipping its not going to be Australia. I’ll just be chuffed if we can score a goal!