HOW NOT TO PLAY McDonald’s FIFA World Cup Fantasy Football
In this case, at the request of my friend Ryan, from FantasyYIRMA, and in an effort to help anyone who feels displaced, annihilated, overcome and desperate by the sheer complexity of the official FIFA World Cup Fantasy game, I have put together some of my reflections from the first round of matches for how NOT to play the game!
First approach: How many players are we actually talking about?
The first problem I found was decision making in general. In what could be considered a game full of possibilities, it stops being fun when you realize with horror that you can choose between 32 teams, with 23 players on the official FIFA squad list for each, which gives a total of…
hold on till I get my calculator…
Now in my case I may have possibly known one or two key players per nation which was used as a starting point but there are plenty of unknowns!
Case in point: Iceland, where the similarities with the names gives me a headache…
Hannes Thor Halldorsson, Runar Alex Runarsson, Frederik Schram; Kari Arnason,
Ari Freyr Skulason, Birkir Mar Saevarsson, Sverrir Ingi Ingason, Hordur Magnusson,
Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson, Ragnar Sigurdsson; Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Birkir Bjarnason,
Arnor Ingvi Traustason, Emil Hallfredsson, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Olafur Ingi Skulason,
Rurik Gislason, Samuel Fridjonsson, Aron Gunnarsson; Alfred Finnbogason, Bjorn Bergmann
Sigurdarson, Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, Albert Gudmundsson.
If you decided to pick up one of the top priced players, such as Messi or Cristiano, we all know the pain that is insufficient budget and the almost futile attempts of having to balance our squad with second or third tier players that we will not know completely, (ED: Or at all) which in turn increases the randomness of points obtained, and the sense of failure that we initially had will be confirmed little by little, inexorably.
As an avid Fantasy Premier League player, I know some rules and how to take advantage of them, however in this case, I have been able to impressively fail in each and every attempt to try and make a decent score.
First mistake: Letting Emotion Cloud my already hazy judgement.
My first mistake, choose a captain who has not played. (ED: We need to have a discussion about how the captaincy works in this game Carmen! ha!) Yes, partners… in this game one cannot be governed by the heart or personal affinities. You must look death in the eyes and bet to win.
My decision to put Salah in my team and captain him was based on the fact he has came off a fantastic season and to be honest, seems a good guy and I like him, was a complete disaster.
I should have counted on Cristiano, because of his indisputable technical quality, because of his ego, because of his air of superiority… however these latter points actually put me off from doing so!
There is no room for sentimentality in Fantasy Football…
(Ed: When playing the official game in this example – you could captain Salah and switch the captaincy to another squad member on the following day. You will lose the captaincy points from the original player but it adds an element of stick or twist to the game. Personally I am a fan.)
Second mistake: Don’t neglect the opposition
It’s easy to identify a player with the potential to score, however neglecting to look at their opposition is a massive oversight from my initial squad picks. I spent far too long scrolling through the potential picks, getting distracted by haircuts and that genuinely fantastic Nigeria home shirt (gross error, beautiful hair does not translate to technical quality: see Neymar for a case of cracking player… terrible hair).
You have to know the enemy, study their squad, tactics, review their defense, meet the coach’s mother and understand what kind of food they eat.
You have to be thorough and critical, and not get carried away by the obvious: that there are underdogs that surprise us (and we love it when that happens…) and destroy any team of the elite with a penalty well thrown in the last minute of added time.
Essentially – if the opposition is going to play 11 men behind the ball and essentially barricade the goal, don’t go too heavy on one team and spread the risk
Stark Realisation: The points haven’t arrived
Squad assembled…and it is beautiful… balanced, perfect blend of youth, experience and a potential differential or two thrown in for good measure.
And then…that age old story… Messi was surrounded by the entire 23 man squad from Iceland, Spain sack their manager the day before the start of the tournament and Iran are currently leading their group. Your worst nightmares are all coming true!
Slowly hitting the keyboard in a repetitive motion with my forehead, whilst wiping away the tears from my eyes, I make the conscious decision not to tally up the points I would have taken from my original auto pick team…it’s just too painful. The harsh reality sets in that before the first round of matches have even been completed it’s safe to say I will not be winning the overall FIFA game this time round!
The biggest mistake you can make this summer, is not to follow @bangaveragepod for posts, podcasts and absolute nonsense relating to the World Cup, player picks and pretty much anything else ranging from pineapple on a pizza to an in-depth discussion on which is the best Power Ranger.
On one hand they may very well impart some wisdom to assist in your attempt to climb up the mini-league. On the other you can feel good about yourself safe in the knowledge that however bad you are doing – it’s probably better than one of the hosts of the show! (likely John)
Blogger, fiction writer, amateur photographer, passionate and dreamy traveler.
I like things with layers: squared buildings, complex characters, and of course blueberry cheesecake.