Below are some fantasy picks for the World Cup Semi-Finals.
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Damián Emiliano Martínez ($5.5m, Argentina vs Croatia)
Emi Martinez was the hero of Argentina’s penalty shootout win against Netherlands in the Quarterfinals, making two important saves to put Argentina through to the Semis. The Argentine defense switched off in the dying moments of the Quarterfinals, which almost resulted in their elimination. They’ll look to make up for this by staying alert throughout the game and keeping a clean sheet against a Croatian attack that had just had one shot on target in their quarterfinal win against Brazil.
Hugo Lloris ($6m, France vs Morocco)
France managed to edge past England despite being outplayed for the majority of the game. Lloris played a key role in stonewalling England from open play as the Tottenham #1 made several crucial saves. Morocco will let France have the bulk of possession and look to hit Les Bleus on the counter, which could result in Lloris keeping a comfortable clean sheet, especially if France gets the first goal.
Achraf Hakimi ($5m, France vs Morocco)
Morocco’s dream run in this World Cup continues courtesy of a shocking, nervy win against a dull Portuguese side in the Quarterfinals. Hakimi needs to have the game of his life to shut down his club teammate Mbappe on the Moroccon right flank. Among all the right backs in the world, Hakimi probably has the best chance of containing Mbappe as the Morroccon right back would’ve faced off against him in countless PSG training sessions. Hakimi himself could even get a chance or two to score, especially from set pieces, making him a good pick for this MD.
Nahuel Molina ($5.5m, Argentina vs Croatia)
Molina was the stand-out player from Argentina’s backline in the Quarterfinal. Molina constantly occupied attacking positions, high up the pitch against the Netherlands, which eventually lead to Argentina’s opener tucked home precisely by the Atletico right back. With Croatia likely to sit deep, Molina should have a fair shot at attacking returns yet again.
Jules Kounde ($6m, France vs Morocco)
Replacing 2018 World Cup’s breakout star Benjamin Pavard in France’s starting eleven is no easy task. But Kounde has risen to the occasion and stayed calm under pressure to make the right back position his own. Kounde will not have an easy game against Boufal on the French right flank. But Kounde could cause chaos in the opposition box if given the license to venture forward as he has a knack for scoring goals, especially from set pieces.
Theo Hernández ($5m, France vs Morocco)
Theo Hernández conceded a penalty in France’s quarterfinal win and didn’t have his best game against a potent England attack. However, the Morocco game should suit Theo Hernández much better, as the AC Milan left back will have more freedom to make attacking runs, and potentially collect attacking returns.
Nicolás Tagliafico ($5.5m, Argentina vs Croatia)
With first-choice left back Marcos Acuña suspended for the Semi Final, Tagialfico should slot in at left back. Tagliafico looked a threat when he came on against the Netherlands and has good potential for attacking returns against Croatia.
Luka Modric ($8.5m, Argentina vs Croatia)
Modric is Croatia’s creative backbone and scored in Croatia’s most recent meeting against Argentina in the 2018 World Cup. Modric is also Croatia’s main penalty and set-piece taker and is likely to be involved if Croatia scores.
Ángel Di María ($8.5m, Argentina vs Croatia)
Di María was ruled out for Argentina’s Round of 16 game against Australia due to a foot injury and returned in the Quarterfinals, making an appearance off the bench. Argentina’s attack instantly looked better when Di Maria came on and the Juventus winger always shines the brightest on the biggest stage. Argentina played 5 at the back to match Netherlands’ system. With Croatia expected to play a standard 4-3-3 formation, Albiceleste will likely return to their staple 4-3-3 formation which would see Di Maria starting on the wing.
Hakim Ziyech ($7m, France vs Morocco)
Ziyech is having a great tournament so far. The Chelsea attacker has scored a goal, provided an assist, and has played several key passes to orchestrate the Moroccan attack this World Cup. Ziyech is the top point-getter among the midfielders left in the game and is likely to be involved if Morocco scores.
Ivan Perišić ($7.5m, Argentina vs Croatia)
Perišić is #2 among midfielders left in the game and has contributed with important attacking returns for Croatia in the tournament. While Modric is Croatia’s main creator, Perišić is their main goal threat. Argentine defenders will have to be at their best to keep him out.
Enzo Fernández ($6m, Argentina vs Croatia)
Enzo Fernández was brilliant against the Netherlands in the quarterfinal and was unlucky not to score in extra time. Fernández’s penalty miss in the shootout didn’t prove to be costly in the end as Argentina made it through. But Fernández will have that miss at the back of his mind and will look to make amends in the Semifinal.
Olivier Giroud ($7.5m, France vs Morocco)
Giroud has been razor-sharp in front of goal this World Cup. Giroud is barely involved in open play and has the least ball touches among all French outfield players. But Giroud’s finishing has been clinical: He has already netted 4 goals in 4 appearances this World Cup. Morocco will have to keep Giroud quiet if they are to have a chance of making it to the Final.
Lionel Messi ($10.5m, Argentina vs Croatia)
In the quarterfinal match against the Netherlands, Messi once again proved why the putative GOAT is still one of the best in the world. Messi played an exquisite through ball for Argentina’s opener and confidently slotted home both the regular-time and the shoot-out penalties to carry Argentina into the semis. Messi is close to a must-have for this MD.
Kylian Mbappe ($11.5m, France vs Morocco)
Like Messi, Mbappe is nearly essential for this MD. Mbappe is the tournament’s top goal scorer and isn’t showing signs of slowing down. Despite not getting on the score sheet in the Quarterfinal, the PSG striker was France’s main attacking threat. Mbappe has improved his creativity by dropping deep and providing assists, which adds to his stock as a fantasy asset.
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