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FIFA Women’s World Cup: Knockout Rounds

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Group play is complete, brackets are filled, and fantasy has a sweeping transfer window.

Ngozi Okobi - Nigeria - 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup France
Nigeria narrowly survived pool play
Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images

The soccer gods smiled on my fantasy squad Captain Sam Kerr. Her 35 points doubled accounted for almost half my 151 total. Some other players weren’t so blessed; Alex Morgan (4) came out with a knock at half time, and PK primary Nikita Parris earned a mere 3 from her 83rd minute cameo. I’d have done better if Parris had stayed out; my bench would have supplied 13 to a vacancy. The net result was good, moving me up to a tie for 5th in the NMA league (17th overall).

Now we have transfer window #3 with five free transfers and an extra $500 to splash around. First order of business will be to identify who on our squads has been knocked out. If you were planning well, few were ever in danger. If you were looking ahead during earlier transfer windows (as I was), then even fewer are still on your team (I dropped Scotland’s Weir last time). If any remain, then sort them to the bottom of your roster and make sure to push them all out with new hires. At this stage, you want a full raft of survivors, including a viable bench.

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The second order of business is to assess injuries and lookup suspensions. My first worry is Alex Morgan who went out early against Sweden. After the match, coach Ellis said the move was “precautionary”. We have a few more hours to be sure Morgan will be worth her cool $1M price tag in the round of 16.

Brazil is still missing Andressa Alves and Erika. Norway’s Caroline Graham Hansen is “available” but not 100%. Germany’s Marozsan is still a doubt. The only suspensions I can find are two for Nigeria, but who’d pick them against Germany anyway?

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After figuring out who’s leaving, then let’s get an idea whom to buy. Start by looking at the finalized brackets. We’re looking first for favorable match-ups in the coming round and secondly for survival in the next. Scoring well is nice, but keeping up with knockouts is critical. And actually staying ahead of knockouts (and injuries) means having the luxury of making tactical improvements.

To my eye, the favorites this round are France, United States and Germany. After that, your guesses are probably better than mine, except I know that either France or USA must be knocked out by the quarterfinal. So I shouldn’t max-out either one (yet), but as a USA partisan, my squad is sliding toward USA players anyway. That means I’m doomed if they crash out. C’est la vie, YMMV.

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So how is your fantasy side doing? How about your national side? Whom must you sell? If you see any more injury news, please tell us. Whom are you buying? And which matches are most worth watching? Please share with us in the comments!

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