World Cup Day 2 – That Ronaldo fella is ok I guess…
Written by @ipredictapayet
“Ronaldo isn’t even a free kick specialist, people just think he is because the ones that go in look really good. This one’s going into the wall…” is what I said to my father-in-law in the 88th minute of this evening’s match. I used to think I knew a thing or two about football.
If there’s a better game at this tournament than the six-goal thriller between the two European giants in Sochi this evening, we are set to be spoilt this summer. Late heartbreak for the African representatives looked to be the headline of the day but Cristiano Ronaldo’s own last gasp heroics ensured the limelight was back where it belongs.
Shot shy Uruguay
The fact that their last minute winner was scored by a centre back tells you all you need to know about Uruguay’s attack today. I’ve never seen Luis Suarez play so poorly while Edinson Cavani barely had a touch before his free kick struck a post. The backup brigade were also very poor, often chosing the safe ball instead of the incisive one. Substitute Carlos Sanchez, who eventually assisted the dramatic late goal, was their brightest spark. Having said that, with Saudi Arabia next to come it looks like a good time to invest in the Uruguayans. I can see many Cavani owners being tempted in by Diego Costa, meaning he could even become a differential in the salary game. Impatient draft owners of Suarez and the aforementioned Cavani may even be open to an early trade.
Ditch the Dark Horses
Tipped as dark horses by many, Morocco transpired to have the worst possible start by losing their must-win game. Mehdi Benatia and co looked to have secured several fantasy managers a much needed clean sheet until they put through their own net in the 95th minute while the much talked about Hakim Ziyech produced nothing. Today’s opponents were Iran, next up are Ronaldo et al. Time to get rid…
Priced at 9.0 in the salary game (more than the likes of Werner and Falcao), many will have overlooked Diego Costa. For all the silky touches of David Silva, Isco and Andres Iniesta, it was the battering ram who will have pleased fantasy managers most. Costa hasn’t won many friends over the course of his career but it’s safe to say a lot of football fans will have enjoyed watching him bully Pepe before producing a wonderful solo effort for his first goal. There will no doubt be a rush to get him into fantasy 11s for gameweek two and with Iran and Morocco to come it may be a case of cancelling out everyone else’s Costa points, especially if the likes of Falcao and Antoine Griezmann fail to impress in their opening games. Maybe Costa should make a 30 minute film to convince you as to why he is just… great.
I’ll say it again, Isco and co are a joy to watch. For all their flicks and tricks and mesmerising patterns, the midfield trio were matched (if not bettered) in attacking contribution by full backs Nacho and Jordi Alba. Nacho probably won’t score another goal like that this tournament (or in his career) but he and Alba constantly overlapped and produced several quality crosses and cutbacks which troubled the Portugal defence. With clean sheets likely and a need to get forward to get in behind two teams who will probably sit very deep in the next two fixtures, Spain’s flying full backs look like very good options to own going forwards.
Something tells me this tournament could about to be all about Cristiano Ronaldo. Or at least Group B could be. Few predicted a hat-trick against David De Gea (we won’t talk about the second goal) but many would envisage big performances against the also-rans of the group in the next two games. If you own him in draft, you’re laughing. If you’re playing the salary game, it could be time to sacrifice a big midfielder or even (dare I say it) a Lionel Messi. There’s something to get people talking. This world cup could be an all time classic.