As a nation well known for being BANG AVERAGE (Ed: Great name for a Podcast) at a game we so lovingly created, it’s only right for the rest of the world to let England have their moment after the most satisfying week in our national team’s recent history (sadly, that’s probably not far off the truth).
Yes, after smashing six past the mighty Panama, we’re getting slightly carried away but as an Englishman (Ed: Written by Will “Old Man” Rivers not YIRMA!) it’s comforting to know I’ll be worrying more about my fantasy football team(s) rather the usual fear surrounding my national team while watching the likes of Germany, Brazil and Argentina sweat over their World Cup status. Role reversal.
The big upside of these giants battling for their lives (apart from a very entertaining GW3) means no dead rubbers and very little squad rotation, bar Argentina who look like making ten changes.
Here’s my own little humble brag: four out of my five picks in my last article gave attacking returns. Here’s five obscure picks to keep in mind for game week three if you believe in lightening striking twice.
Antonio Rudiger, Defender, 5.5M
Anyone who witnessed Jerome Boateng’s “performance” against Sweden would be forgiven for thinking he was looking for an early plane back to Germany. For me, it brought back memories of watching David Luiz charge aimlessly around Stamford Bridge on match of the day every weekend so it was no surprise that Boateng secured himself an early bath and a suspension for the third game week in the must win game against South Korea.
Antonio Rudiger looks set to keep his place in Boateng’s absence alongside Mats Hummels or Mathias Ginter. It’s hard to see the world champions defending as poorly as they have in the tournament to date against the already eliminated Koreans.
In fact, the defensive rearguard may have been made stronger by the absence of the Bayern man.
Fagner, Defender, 5.0M
Not often I pick out two defenders (defending is boring) but Fagner could be a budget way into the Brazil team. Danilo was ruled out of the 2-0 win against Costa Rica through an injury and has suffered a similar fate in GW3, paving the way for Fagner to start against Serbia. I fully expect a big Brazilian performance against a side who also need a result to keep their dreams alive.
Willian’s withdrawal at half time on Friday gave Douglas Costa a chance to stake a claim but after suffering an injury himself, the latter will count himself unlucky to miss GW3 after providing a second half spark. Expect a reaction from Willian to his early GW2 departure.
Juan Fernando Quintero, Midfielder, 7.0M
Apart from possessing a fantastic name, the Colombian attacker has been this year’s James Rodriguez so far. Quintero proved his importance to his team once again in GW2 against Poland, providing an exquisite pass which Falcao converted to add to his strike against Japan in the opener.
He is proving to be the perfect foil for Rodriguez and while most fantasy managers will go far his better known team mate, Quintero will be an excellent option in their crunch clash with Senegal. He may even still be available in some draft leagues.
Ever Banega, Midfielder, 7.0M
I’ve chosen Banega as my Argentinian representative but in truth it’s anyone’s guess as to who starts alongside Lionel Messi against Nigeria in possibly the most eagerly anticipated match in this world cup’s group stages. Argentina have been severely lacking in creativity in their first two games and Banega would be the obvious man to fix that.
The likes of Meza, Acuna and maybe even Aguero looked to have blown their chances, meaning Banega, Higuain and Dybala may finally get their chance in this one. Any Argentina attacker will be worth owning in GW3 but as for which one…your guess is as good as mine. The smartest bit of advice is to stick with Messi and avoid the defence. Any of the aforementioned newbies could prove to be an inspired gamble.
Goncalo Guedes, Forward, 7.0M
Guedes had a fine season with Valencia in La Liga last season, securing his place as one of Cristiano’s supporting cast this summer. Apart from an assist against Spain, things haven’t worked out for Guedes so far in Russia, missing a host of chances.
However, the regularity of his chances is encouraging and falls into the “due one” category. Plus, you know that he will bag a brace as soon as you take him out of your team. Surely someone else will score for Portugal at this World Cup and he looks like being the most likely.