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Fantasy FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022: How to Play

The official World Cup fantasy game is waiting for you to play. Here’s how.

FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images

Get ready for the mother of all international breaks! Club football will be on pause while national teams prepare for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. To the joy of fantasy football players around the globe, FIFA released the fantasy platform for the World Cup last week, and NMA has already created its mini league, so make sure to join in!

Basic Rules

The game is free to play, but you will need to create a FIFA+ account if you do not already have one. Like most fantasy platforms, your fantasy squad will comprise 15 players within a budget of €100m. The budget rises to €105m entering knockout stage. The 15 player squad will have 2 goalkeepers + 5 defenders + 5 midfielders + 3 forwards.

From your squad of 15 players you will choose 11 starters for each matchday. You must play a keeper and at least 3 defenders + 2 midfielders + 1 forward, so your starters can be arrayed in any of the following formations:

  • 4-4-2
  • 4-3-3
  • 4-5-1
  • 3-4-3
  • 3-5-2
  • 5-2-3
  • 5-3-2
  • 5-4-1

The remaining four players will populate your bench and serve as potential substitutes.

The fantasy World Cup competition consists of seven matchdays, each corresponding to a round of play. There are multiple calendar days (and game-days) within each matchday.

Here is a screenshot from the FIFA website that delineates how the matchdays are structured.


As mentioned above, you will begin each matchday with four players on your bench, one of which will be a goalkeeper. Similar to fantasy UCL, you may manually swap in your bench players for “starting” players as long as the bench players’ matches haven’t started yet. Thus, while planning your starting lineup for the match-day (round), sort your players with earlier matches to your starting-11 and those with the latest matches to your bench. You want safe, high-floor players coming in last because you will be stuck with whatever they produce!

The game also has an auto-sub function that mirrors FPL’s system. Your three outfield bench players are ordered 1-3. If at the conclusion of a matchday you have made no manual subs, then your bench players will automatically come in, in order of priority, for any of your starters who did not take the field.

Automatic substitution happens only if you neglect your team. If you are following our advice here at NMA, then you will be very active every day of the tournament rather than leaving your subs to chance. Why? Because if you’ve made no manual subs, then those auto-subs will happen whether you want them to or not.

Sure it’s nice that the game automatically removes the zero for your starter who did not play. But it won’t necessarily replace that zero with your highest bench score. Instead you’ll get whatever score your first-priority sub earned, even if it’s less than the scores for your other subs, and even if it’s less than the zero your no-show starter earned (think yellow cards, red cards, own-goals, penalties conceded, etc).

So don’t leave your subs to chance. Be an active manager — you’ll gain positions on passive managers who neglect their squads (but just recognize that you’ll deactivate automatic substitution).


You may designate one player from your squad to serve as captain. Matchday points are doubled for the player who wears your armband.

In Fantasy Premier League, your choice of captain is locked after the game-week transfer deadline passes, after which no switches are permitted for that game-week. In fantasy Champions League, during the substitution window between the two game days within a round (i.e. before the first kickoff of the day), you may freely move your captain’s armband among your starting players who have not played yet.

Fantasy World Cup is subtly different.

You can change your captain an unlimited amount of times, as long as the new selected captain is yet to play in the current matchday.

Once your captain has played in the matchday, you are able to change your captain once more for another player who is yet to play.

So unlike the other two fantasy platforms to which we are accustomed, fantasy World Cup will allow us to re-assign the captain’s armband as many times as we want, even after the first kick of a gameday, provided that our captain’s team hasn’t played yet.

But once the man who wears your armband plays, you are allowed only one more change. If you decide to make the shift, your new captain must be someone who has not yet played, and of course you surrender the double points on your original captain.


Transfer allowances for fantasy World Cup mimic fantasy UCL.

  • Before MD-1: Unlimited transfers.
  • Before MD-2: Two transfers.
  • Before MD-3: Two transfers.
  • Before MD-4 (Round of 16): Unlimited transfers.
  • Before MD-5 (Quarter-finals): Four transfers.
  • Before MD-6 (Semi-finals): Five transfers.
  • Before MD-7 (3rd place and Final): Six transfers.

Once confirmed, transfers cannot be reversed. The penalty for using more transfers than allowed is -3 points each, but if you expect a double-digit gain in return, the hit could be worth the risk.

During the group stage you may carry over a maximum of one unused transfer to the next matchday. It can be particularly useful to roll a transfer from MD-2 to MD-3, since after Round 2 many teams will have already cemented qualification and/or first place in their groups, and consequently some of your fantasy assets could be subject to rest and rotation in Round 3. Having an extra transfer available may help you avoid zeroes for potential no-shows.

After the Group Stage, unused transfers can no longer be carried over, so use’em or lose’em.

Make sure you use your unlimited transfers ahead of the Round of 16 to stack your squad with players from 3-4 teams you are confident will go deep into the knockout rounds. This minimizes the number of transfers forced by elimination. Remember that all four teams in the semifinals will also play in the tournament’s last round (there is a consolation match in addition to the final). Both will count for fantasy purposes.

Okay, so far this should all seem pretty familiar. But hang on, because things are about to get a little weird: When executing transfers, there will be a “round selector” tab that we can use to designate whether we want the switch to apply to the current, active matchday, or to the next one.

You read that right: Under certain circumstances, we can make transfers in the middle of a matchday that will become active for that same matchday! The key is whether the man you are moving out and the man you are bringing in have played in the matchday at the time you make the transfer. Here’s the scheme:

If neither man has played in the current matchday, then

  • The transferred-in player will become active in a user’s team immediately
  • The transferred-out player will be removed from a user’s team immediately
  • The transferred-in player will start scoring from his next scheduled match in the current match day.

If either or both have played in the current matchday, then

  • Transferred-out player will remain in your team until the next matchday
  • Transferred-out player’s points will count to your team score for the current match day
  • Transferred in player won’t score in your team until the next match day

Confused? We don’t blame you. But let’s make this simple.

  • When you make a transfer, you will have the option to apply it to the current active matchday or to the next one by using the “round selector” tab.
  • If you choose the current matchday and neither of the two men involved in the transfer has already played, then the transfer becomes effective immediately and your new player’s points will count toward your score for the current matchday.

Boosters (Chips)

We like to call them “chips” here at NMA. There are three boons that can be used once each (and never together) during FIFA World Cup 2022:

Wildcard: The good old wildcard chip is known to us from FPL, UCL and probably pretty much every other official fantasy football platform. It allows you unlimited free transfers, but you still have a limited budget. It is not available before MD-1 or MD-4 (Round of 16) when everyone has unlimited free transfers anyway.


12th Man: This one allows you to collect points from a 12th man in addition to your starting XI. You can pick anyone you want to be your 12th man, irrespective of budget constraints and restrictions on number of players from the same team. This is a new one for us but we doubt it will make a big difference since the 12th man cannot be a captain, and cannot be substituted or transferred. One savvy way to use this chip might be to spend it on an expensive player with a good matchup who is confirmed to be starting before the matchday deadline expires.


Power Captain: This chip will automatically award the armband to the player in your squad who finishes the matchday with the most points. You don’t have to worry about choosing a captain and then deciding whether to “stick or twist” each day; your captain will automatically be your highest producer.

You might use Power Captain for a matchday when you have a lot of studs with good matchups, or if you know you’ll be too busy to actively manage your team after every match.


While the 12th Man and Power Captain features are interesting and unique, a chip like FPL’s Bench Boost would offer fantasy managers a better chance at a massive haul. Similarly, fantasy UCL’s Limitless chip would have been a nice option ahead of MD-3, when some teams will be fighting for their lives while others who are secure will rest and rotate.

See David’s chip strategy article for insights into his plan for the boosters.

Scoring System

Here is how players earn points in fantasy World Cup:

Key differences from FPL:

  • Midfielders earn a point for every 3 tackles
  • Midfielders earn a point for every 2 key passes
  • Forwards earn a point for every 2 shots on target

Key differences from UCL:

  • No points for goals scored from outside the box
  • No points for ball recoveries
  • No points for Player of the Match

We hope you found this overview helpful. Please follow us at for daily tournament coverage and fantasy guidance, and join our mini-league (you must register on the FIFA site and create your team first).

League code: K2QVR5ZB


We’ve also dropped previews of every World Cup group:

Group A Preview

Group B Preview

Group C Preview

Group D Preview

Group E Preview

Group F Preview

Group G Preview

Group H Preview

In addition, we’ve published a Group Stage fixture difficulty table to help you target favorable matchups, a Player Picks article to help you target favorable fantasy assets, and we’ll have a Rate My Team piece coming soon.

Finally, we’ll keep you abreast of team news, injuries, and suspensions as the competition unfolds. We’ll even post daily match reviews and a running table of important tournament statistics, so be sure to check in at regularly!


Information and images used in this article were sourced from the official rules website.


The biggest sporting event on the planet is about to launch. Are you excited? Or are you irritated that it has interrupted your other fantasy football platforms? What national team are you rooting for? Which players do you expect to shine? Which do you think will fall flat? What can we expect from Ronaldo and Messi as these GOATs play their final World Cup? Please login and share your thoughts in the comments below!