Ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, there is still a chance to prove your football knowledge as the Official Fantasy League Game gets underway!
With five West Ham United players involved in Qatar – not including loanees – there are plenty of Irons to choose from in the FIFA Fantasy Classic.
Here are the Hammers you could select – and what they would bring to your team!
LUCAS PAQUETÁ, BRAZIL ($7M)
The most expensive Hammer in the game is Lucas Paquetá, who will feature for, one of - if not the - pre-tournament favourites, Brazil.
Seeking a sixth World Cup title, Paquetá and company will hope to record their first triumph at the tournament since 2002. And make no mistake, the Hammers’ No11 could be key to any success for those in yellow and green.
While an injury sustained against Southampton in mid-October limited Paquetá’s minutes towards the mid-season break, the creative midfielder has shown flashes of brilliance as he started his Claret & Blue career – notably, picking up assists in Premier League matches against Crystal Palace and Fulham, and almost firing home a winner on his West Ham United debut against Tottenham Hotspur.
Importantly, only two players featured more regularly in Brazil’s successful 2022 World Cup qualification campaign than the Hammers’ No11. As such, Paquetá is a trusted member of Tite’s squad and his price-bracket is slightly low considering his expected minutes. He will hope to add to his seven goals for his country in Qatar.
Brazil face Serbia, Switzerland and Cameroon in Group G.
DECLAN RICE, ENGLAND ($6.5M)
One of the first names on the teamsheet for Club and country, Declan Rice has become a formidable presence in the heart of Gareth Southgate’s starting XI since he made his international debut in March 2019.
Currently owned by 1.5% of FPL bosses, Rice has represented England on 34 occasions, scoring twice – first in a UEFA Nations League tie over Iceland in 2020, then a year later against Hungary in a World Cup qualifier.
As Rice heads to his first World Cup finals, the Hammers’ skipper has shown he has an eye for goal this Premier League season too. The No41 drove in a stunning equaliser from distance in West Ham’s 1-1 with Southampton on Saturday 16 October.
The talented 23-year-old will now hope to follow in the footsteps of West Ham legends Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters, who helped England lift the World Cup trophy for the only time in the country's history in 1966. And Rice could grab a few FPL points for the managers who back him in the process.
England take on Iran, USA and Wales in Group B.
THILO KEHRER, GERMANY ($5m)
Like Rice, Thilo Kehrer will also be heading to his first World Cup finals and will look to play his part as Germany seek a fifth triumph at the prestige global tournament.
Priced at $5m, Kehrer could provide a cheap way into Germany’s defence, with the 26-year-old set for regular minutes at the World Cup having missed just two matches since Hansi Flick took charge of his first Germany fixture in September 2021.
Part of the Germany squad that lifted the UEFA European U21 Championship, Kehrer will be under no illusion to the challenge his side face in progressing from what looks to be one of the toughest groups on paper.
But still, Kehrer could prove to be a useful asset. Often deployed at full-back for Club and country, the 26-year-old could return points at both ends of the pitch at this World Cup.
Germany take on Japan, Spain and Costa Rica in Group E.
NAYEF AGUERD, MOROCCO ($4m)
Nayef Aguerd will also head to his first World Cup finals and could prove a valuable Fantasy League asset should Morocco spring and surprise or two.
Morocco seek a first knockout-stage appearance at a World Cup finals since 1986, but know Group F will be a tough task with 2018 World Cup finalists Croatia, FIFA Ranked No2 side Belgium and a talented Canada side in their pool.
In Qatar, Aguerd will aim to return to international duty for the first time following an ankle injury he sustained in a pre-season friendly with Rangers.
Morocco will face Belgium, Canada and Croatia in Group F but at $4m Aguerd could prove to be a steal.
ALPHONSE AREOLA, FRANCE ($5M)
Seeking a successive World Cup title having been part of the France squad that lifted the trophy in 2018, Alphonse Areola heads to Qatar in good spirits.
While Hugo Lloris is expected to start as France’s No1, Areola will look to add to his five senior caps in Qatar and could add a few FPL points should he stand in at any point for the Tottenham Hotspur keeper.
The French goalkeeper made his international debut in the UEFA Nations League tie with Germany in September 2018 and has shown similar qualities for his Club this campaign.
Match-winning stops against RSC Anderlecht are perhaps the highlight of a UEFA Europa Conference League group-stage campaign in which the Hammers No13 helped his side to sixth successive victory.
France take on Australia, Denmark and Tunisia in Group D in Qatar.
HOW DOES THE FIFA FANTASY LEAGUE WORK?
After you select a squad of eleven players with your $100m budget, you will be given a limited amount of transfers to use throughout the tournament.
You also have a selection of boosters to use throughout the tournament:
Wildcard – Let’s you make unlimited transfers within a specific round (cannot be used for the first match of the group stage or for the round of 16)
12th Man – Allows you to select one additional player to score points for your team in a matchday. When selected, the 12th man cannot be substituted, captained or transferred. You can select any player to be your twelfth man and budget or team restrictions do not count here.
Power Captain – Double points from whichever player scores the most points from your 15-man squad. This player will automatically be assigned the captaincy.
For more on the playing rules you can read here.