Hakim Ziyach – Morocco, MID
The signature of Hakim Ziyach will no doubt be well sought after following this tournament and the showpiece in Russia will be the perfect chance for the Morocco talisman to attract more suitors. The creative midfielder scored 9 and assisted 15 for Ajax in the Eredivisie last season and his importance to his nation make him an attractive prospect in the World Cup fantasy game. Spain and Portugal will make his group look tricky on paper but a kind opening fixture against Iran may give Ziyech and Morocco the confidence needed to take the fight to their illustrious European opponents.
Fyodor Smolov – Russia, FWD
Alexander Kokorin’s injury has paved the way for Fyodor Smolov to take on the job of being the main goal threat for the hosts. Smolov notched an impressive 14 goals in 22 games in the Russian league for little known Krasnodar this season and will surely get numerous chances to demonstrate his eye for goal in fixtures against Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Premier League sides Fulham, Wolves and West Ham are all rumoured to be keeping a close eye on the Russian goal getter.
Marco Reus – Germany, MID
Most Fantasy managers will be looking at Thomas Muller and Timo Werner as their way into the Germany attack but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Marco Reus make up for lost time this summer. The Borussia Dortmund star has had a heartbreaking run of bad luck with injuries shattering his dreams of playing at the last World Cup and Euro 2016. He’s had another season blighted by injury, playing only 11 league games this season (still scoring 7 goals) and he will be praying that the curse doesn’t strike again. Should he stay injury free, Reus could easily be one of the players of the tournament.
Trezeguet – Egypt, MID
Yes, he is named after French World Cup winner David. It’s unlikely that this Trezeguet will be lifting silverware on the 15th July but he is someone to keep an eye on and will likely slip under the radar thanks to a certain Egyptian Liverpool forward. Hard working with an eye for goal, Trezeguet is a favourite of manager Hector Cuper and has already attracted attention from the likes of Galatasaray and Marseille before the tournament. Egypt may not even progress from their group but the defences of Saudi Arabia and Russia will give Salah and Trezeguet plenty of chances to impress.
Maximiliano Meza – Argentina, MID
Before the World Cup fantasy football game opened, many hadn’t even heard of Maximiliano Meza (me included) but now he is a budget way of owning part of Argentina’s attack. Following the heartbreaking news of Manuel Lanzini’s horror injury, Meza is being touted by many as the favourite to take his place. The likes of Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria will have been taken early in your draft but I managed to snag Meza in the 11th round of mine. If he does indeed get the nod again Iceland and perform well, he’ll be a fantasy bargain in all forms of the game.