Group D offers old acquaintances a chance to reunite. Three of the four teams shared a group in the World Cup in 2018 as well, with France, Denmark and Australia all facing off on that occasion. This time Tunisia enter the mix alongside them.
As current World Cup holders, France come into this group as hot favourites, and with the array of attacking talent in their squad, it’s easy to see why. That said, France have a history of mutinies and tournament blow-ups, and there is already tension in the France camp with rumours of dressing room splits.
Denmark proved themselves a very effective team in an impressive run at Euro 2020 and could cause an upset in this one. While Tunisia have never progressed beyond the group stage, Australia look a shadow of the team that once was, long ago in Germany 2006.
Group D Teams
Must have Qatar World Cup fantasy player from Group D
Kylian Mbappé, FWD ($11.5m)
If you were to pick only one player from this group, it has to be the PSG star. The French forward had five goals and two assists in just six qualifying games. Four goals at the last World Cup show he’s well capable of doing it on the biggest stage.
From a fantasy perspective, France have it all: Dominate defenders, midfielders with goal threat and, of course, some of the best attacking talent in the world. It seems, as always, that the only thing that can stop Les Bleus are themselves.
Didier Deschamps’ men were impressive in qualifying. Winning five and losing none of their eight games and conceding just three goals. A shock exit in the Round of 16 in Euro 2020 after being rocked back twice by Switzerland may give some pause, but this will surely only focus French minds even more.
A ruthlessly efficient run to winning the 2018 World Cup, which saw France concede just six goals (three of which came in one game vs Argentina). France like to play cautiously, keeping it tight and letting the likes of Mbappe and Benzema work their magic.
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Best fantasy players from France
Kylian Mbappe, FWD ($11.5m) ★★★★★
Not much more can be written about the man vying to be the very best in world football. Starting Ligue 1 in sensational form with PSG, he’ll be feeling very good coming into this tournament.
Karim Benzema, FWD ($11m) ★★★★★
After a long absence from the national side, Karim Benzema has come back with a bang in recent years. Four goals in five games at the Euros show just how deadly he is when involved.
Antione Griezmann, FWD ($8.5m) ★★★★☆
Third in France’s all-time goal-scoring history, Antione Griezmann will be fired up ahead of Qatar 2022. Playing behind the striker and making well-timed runs into the penalty area, goals are never far away.
Hugo Lloris, GK ($6m) ★★★★☆
Spurs’ shot-stopper Hugo Lloris has a good record between the sticks for France. Conceding no goals from open play in the group stages in 2018, this bodes well for his prospects this time around.
Differential/budget player from France
William Saliba, DEF ($5m)
The 21-year-old centre-half has had a very successful start to his Arsenal career, with two goals and three clean sheets. With injuries in the French defence, Saliba could find a starting position.
Denmark have come a long way in the last 6 years. The current manager, Kasper Hjulmand, took over in July 2020 and has overseen the team take another step up. After their Euro 2020 campaign began in horrific circumstances, the team rallied and went all the way to the semi-final, where it took a rebounded penalty in extra time to see them off.
Deploying a 3-4-2-1 formation, Hjulmand’s side use wing backs that bomb up and down the pitch, usually favouring the left-hand side. With very technical, creative players like Eriksen and Damsgaard playing behind the striker, this Danish side creates plenty of chances when given time and space on the ball.
30 goals scored in qualifying while only three conceded in 10 games shows their players offer options in all areas of the field.
Best fantasy players from Denmark
Christian Eriksen, MID ($8m) ★★★★☆
After a remarkable comeback, Eriksen now plays for Manchester United. A goal and assist machine for his side when fit, Eriksen could make a brilliant inclusion in your midfield.
Joakim Mæhle, DEF ($4.5m) ★★★☆☆
With two goals and one assist, Mæhle became a cult hero in the Euro 2020 fantasy game. The attacking wingback comes in at just $4.5m and offers points potential at both ends of the field.
Kasper Schmeichel, GK ($TBAm) ★★★☆☆
An impenetrable wall at times, Schmeichel offers decent value if priced at $4.5m. Denmark actually beat France 2-0 in the Nation’s League in September and could do so again come November.
Differential/budget player from Denmark
Mikkel Damsgaard, MID ($6m)
The 22-year-old Danish playmaker, now at Brentford, is a dead ball specialist as well as one of the creative hubs of this Danish side alongside Eriksen. At $6m, he could provide a good cheap alternative.
Tunisia romped through their second-round group, scoring 11 and conceding just 2, before defeating Mali in the 3rd round playoff to make it back-to-back World Cup appearances for the third time in their history.
A disappointing African Cup of Nations in 2022, which saw them scrape through their group in 3rd place before being eliminated in the quarter-finals by Burkina Faso, meant the sacking of first-team coach Mondher Bebaier, who was replaced by his assistant Jalel Kadri.
Setting up in a 4-3-3 formation, Wahbi Khazri is the focal point of the attack through which all routes to the opposition’s goal flow through.
Not a very defensively sound team, the Eagles of Carthage were roundly beaten 5-1 by Brazil in a friendly in September. Having never progressed beyond the group stages at a World Cup, it seems unlikely this record will change in Qatar this winter.
Best fantasy players from Tunisia
Wahbi Khazri, MID ($4.5m) ★★☆☆☆
If this Tunisian side do score, this is the most likely man to be involved. 24 goals in 71 games make him the North African team’s current top scorer in the squad.
Youssef Msakni, FWD ($4.5m) ★★☆☆☆
Captain and ever-present winger Youssef Msakni is currently the most capped player with his national side. Add to that 17 goals in 87 appearances make him a reasonable punt.
Differential/budget player from Tunisia
Hannibal Mejbri, MID ($4m)
The Manchester United wonderkid, on loan at Birmingham City this year, could be a surprise package of the tournament. With 18 caps already under his belt for Tunisia, he could be a very fun 5th midfield option available at only $4m.
The Socceroos have fallen a long way since being robbed in 2006 in their quarter-final against eventual champions Italy. Since then, Australia have gone from bad to worse in a footballing context as their golden generation hung up their boots. To their credit, they have still managed to qualify for the last five FIFA World Cups, exiting at the group stages in the last four.
Stuttering through the group stage of the AFC World Cup qualifiers, Australia finished 3rd in their group behind Saudi Arabia and Japan, winning just 1 game away from home (vs Vietnam) in the whole of qualifying. They needed a last-minute winner in the AFC playoff vs U.A.E. before advancing on penalties against Peru in the Intercontinental playoff. It’s safe to say Australia struggle to score goals.
Best fantasy players from Australia
Mathew Leckie, FWD ($4.5m) ★☆☆☆☆
Captain and ever-present striker Mathew Leckie is also his county’s most-capped player. 13 goals in 73 games are nothing to write home about, but if you want guaranteed minutes, he’s your man.
Jamie MacLaren, FWD ($5m) ★☆☆☆☆
Currently, with the best goals-to-games ratio in the squad, Jamie MacLaren (8 goals in 26 games) is probably your most likely route to goal.
Differential/budget player from Australia
Ajdin Hrustic, MID ($5m)
Plying his trade at Hellas Verona in the Serie A, though plagued with injuries, when he does play in the number ten role for club and country, he provides a good range of passing and potential for assists.
Continue to GROUP E
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.