I’m sure you know by now that the World Cup starts in less than a week. Starting this coming Thursday, 32 nations will battle it out for the most prestigious trophy in all of sports. As a kid, my biggest dream was to represent my country at the World Cup but since I never made it as a professional soccer player, I’ll be playing the next best thing this summer: Fantasy World Cup. For those of us not blessed with world-class athletic ability, the soccer gods have presented us with a way to battle it out with our friends and possibly win some prizes. I’ll take this opportunity to introduce the official fantasy game and give you all the details. Since player prices are not announced yet, you’ll have to wait a day or two for us to give you any roster advice.
Grand Prize: A brand new Kia Soul!
Other prizes include: Soccer boots, jerseys, phones, copies of 2014 FIFA World Cup game, soccer balls
You can win prizes for finishing in the top 10 overall or top 3 in each of the seven rounds of play. You can also win the respect of your peers.
How the game works
This is a fairly straightforward fantasy game. You have a budget that you can use and purchase a 23-man squad that will earn you points based on how players perform in the World Cup. Each round, you will select 11 players that will earn you points. Only your starting 11 will earn you points.
Your squad must be made up of:
5 Any position
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The game is split into seven rounds. The group stages are split into three rounds: One from June 12 – 17, one from June 17-22, and one from June 23-26. Each phase after that represents a round in the fantasy game.
Maximum players per country
You can only choose 3 players per country in the first three rounds. The limit increases afterwards as teams are eliminated as shown in the official rules.
- You cannot make any transfers during the first three rounds.
- You can make unlimited transfers between rounds after the group stages.
- What that means: If you pick an absolutely horrendous squad during the group stages, you can still come back strong and win prizes in the rounds afterwards. Poor mistakes in your initial squad can be erased after the first three rounds and you will have a second chance to rebound. You also don’t need to consider what teams you think will make it through past the group stages since you can completely redo your squad after group play is finished.
You can make substitutions between your bench players and your starting 11 at any time as long as both players involved have not started their match yet.
Edit: You can change every player in your line-up that has already played during the current round for any other relevant player in your squad that hasn’t already played.
Scoring is very similar to some Premier League games we are accustomed to. The breakdown is shown nicely in a chart at the bottom of the official rules page: http://en.mcdonalds.fantasy.fifa.com/rules
You can join or create as many private leagues as you wish.
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Considering the format, there are many strategies one can employ here. Since we don’t know the pricing and budget yet, I’ll just outline some basic info you should keep in mind.
- A 23-man squad is very, very big. Since you can only use 11 players at a time, I wouldn’t try to get 23 great players on my squad. I will probably try to get around 15-17 good players and fill the rest of my roster spots with cheap players who I’ll keep on the bench.
- Focus on the weaker groups: Generally, I’d much rather own someone from Brazil than from Spain. It’s not that Spanish players aren’t great but Spain is in a really tough group while Brazil is expected to cruise through theirs. Do your research. We will have a lot of information here on Rotoworld in the next few days but there are many websites that have been doing team-by-team previews that go in great depth about the strengths and weaknesses of each group and nation.
- Don’t be afraid to pick players you’re accustomed to: Unless you’ve spent the last four months reading about the World Cup and watching friendlies, you probably don’t know every player on all 32 squads. If you are an expert on the Premier League, don’t be afraid to pick a lot of Premier League players that you know perform well on a regular basis. If you’ve followed the European qualifications in great depth, don’t be afraid to pick most of your players from the European squads. There are 736 players available for you to choose from and many of them will perform great in this tournament. Use the ones you know well.
Will you be playing Fantasy World Cup this summer?
EDIT: Join our private league.