With 832 players to choose from, putting together the best World Cup fantasy team can be daunting. We want to make it as easy as possible for you to pick your team ahead of the first game.
Our expert has selected his best World Cup fantasy team based on the group fixtures. You’ll find some appealing selections here, with plenty of potential for hauls in the tournament’s opening matches. In addition, we have found the best budget players to make sure you can afford the big hitters.
Your Complete World Cup Fantasy Guide
A close look at every group
Expert analysis of all 32 teams
Player ratings and recommendations from every team
A look at hidden gems and differential players
Emiliano Martinez, GKP, Argentina ($5.5)
Argentina have the arguably easiest matchday 1 fixture against Saudi Arabia. They have scored a measly four goals in their last nine friendlies. With uncertainty elsewhere in Argentina’s defence, we opt for a certain starter.
Hassen Mouez, GKP, Tunisia ($3.5m)
We opt for a non-playing goalkeeper on the bench to ensure we have the money needed for the rest of the team. The former Southampton-keeper is as good as any. He will remain on our bench.
Kieran Trippier DEF, England ($5.0m)
Trippier has been having a brilliant season with Newcastle and seems guaranteed the right-back spot. Southgate’s defence-first approach is often criticised, but for fantasy football, it’s brilliant. With corners and free kicks in his locker, too, he’s a no-brainer in a best World Cup fantasy team at $5.0m.
Luke Shaw DEF, England ($5.0m)
The only recognised left-back in this England team, Shaw is as nailed as it gets. Playing as a left wing-back or conventional full-back, he often makes good runs down the wing and offers threat from his crosses. With a nice group for England, we think the defensive double-up is a good choice.
Benjamin Pavard DEF, France ($5.0m)
The cheapest route into the French starting defence Pavard represents good value at his low price. France will be expecting at least two clean sheets out of their three group games, and the Bayern full-back offers a reasonable attacking threat.
Joachim Maehle DEF, Denmark ($4.5m)
Playing as a left wing-back as part of a back five makes Maele a very tempting pick. His ability to make darting runs from out to in gives him a high goal-scoring potential. Two clean sheets seem likely, and it would be hard to also rule out a few attacking returns.
Borna Sosa DEF, Croatia ($3.5m)
The ideal fifth defender Sosa is a starting left back at just $3.5m. He’s managed five assists for Stuttgart in the Bundesliga this year which shows he has some attacking output and a reasonable chance at one or two clean sheets.
Luka Modric MID, Croatia ($8.0m)
Madrid’s magician may be in the final act of his career, but he still has a few tricks up his sleeve. Last year’s Champions League run proved he can still do it at the highest level, and as the talisman in this Croatia team, we expect a show-stopping performance before he takes his final bow.
Christian Eriksen, MID, Denmark ($8.0)
Another talisman for his country, Eriksen’s 39 goals in 117 games speaks for itself. With his career undergoing a renaissance at Manchester United, the 30-year-old play maker is scorer and provider more than anyone else in this Danish team.
Ilkay Gundogan, MID, Germany ($7.5m)
Midfield general Ilkay Gundogan is no stranger to the back of the net for both club and country. He scored five goals in eight qualifying games for Die Mannschaft. The German number eight is also on penalties which only boosts his appeal.
Federico Valverde, MID, Uruguay ($8.5m)
The Real Madrid midfielder has been in imperious form in La Liga this season with six goals and two assists in 14 games. He’ll be hoping that form continues in Qatar this winter and with South Korea up first he could get off to a great start.
Giorgian De Arrascaeta, MID, Uruguay ($5.5m)
Another Uruguayan midfielder makes a good fifth sub as a punt at the end of the week if others in the team let us down. Playing as an attacking midfielder, he acts as playmaker for Uruguay’s elite strikers but is also known to let loose from distance with devastating effect.
Kylian Mbappe, FWD, France ($11.5m)
Quite simply a goal machine, the France forward is a must-have in a selection of the best World Cup fantasy team. 14 goal contributions in 14 games for PSG this season and seven in six qualifying games show just how irresistible the Frenchman is.
Lionel Messi FWD, Argentina ($10.5m)
Quite simply, the greatest player of the modern generation, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Poland, should offer little resistance. In what is to be his last World Cup, no doubt Messi will be fired up, and with 17 goal contributions in 13 games for PSG so far this season, he is certainly in good form at the minute.
Lautaro Martinez, FWD, Argentina ($8.0m)
Actually, with more goal contributions than Messi in qualifying (Seven goals, three assists) a double-up in the Argentinian attack seems a good idea. With an ideal Matchday One fixture against Saudi Arabia, Martinez is a brilliant inclusion in your starting squad.
The best World Cup fantasy team
We have written a complete guide to all the World Cup groups:
Odhrán Brennan is a data journalist for a sports data company, living in Finland. He’s been playing FPL since the 06/07 season and is a long-suffering fan of both Arsenal and the Republic of Ireland national team. You can follow him on Twitter here