The World Cup has got off to a great start, with some very unpredictable results coming our way in Russia. Argentina were held by Iceland, Brazil by Switzerland and Germany suffered the first big shock of the tournament at the hands of Germany.
Today, Belgium take on World Cup debutants Panama, whilst England get their tournament away against Tunisia in Volgograd. The two big hitters in Group G will be looking to avoid those banana skins as they battle it out for top spot in the group.
Sweden and South Korea get things underway today, and with Germany suffering defeat to Mexico on Sunday, Group E is wide open. Who can take advantage and take a big step towards the knockout stages?
The Man of the Match in these games will receive ratings boost on FIFA 18’s World Cup Ultimate Team mode, so RealSport predicts which men are most likely to pick up the prize.
Romelu Lukaku (OVR 86 – 88)
Belgium face minnows Panama, and striker Romelu Lukaku will be licking his lips going up against that defence. Being flanked by two inside forwards in the form of Eden Hazard (OVR 90) and Dries Mertens (OVR 86) should free up space for Lukaku, who can score all sorts of goals. The Manchester United man is a strong forward, and if Panama do sit deep, Belgium can get the ball wide and swing them into the big man. Belgian’s all-time top scorer is in fine form, scoring 13 times in his last nine matches for his country.
Keep an eye on: Kevin De Bruyne (OVR 90)
Harry Kane (OVR 87 – 89)
A rival in the Premier League, but Harry Kane sits in a very similar situation to Romelu Lukaku in England’s clash against Tunisia. Tunisia aren’t as weak as Panama, but are still ranked 51st in the world and without a win at the World Cup since 1978, England should be flexing their muscles in Volgograd. As for Kane, he will be looking to take his 41-goal season form into the World Cup, and with eight goals in his last seven games for England, don’t bet against him find the net against Tunisia.
Keep an eye on: Dele Alli (OVR 83)
Eden Hazard (OVR 90 – 91)
Romelu Lukaku may be the biggest goal threat in this Belgian team, but Eden Hazard is the most exciting. The Chelsea man has had an up and down season, but the national team captain showed his class in the warm up game against Costa Rica, receiving praise from the opposition manager. Against a similar, but weaker opponent, expect Hazard to be at the forefront again, whether that be with goals or assists. He could be in the shop window this summer, and a strong World Cup showing would increase his transfer price.
Keep an eye on: Dries Mertens (OVR 86)
Jesse Lingard (OVR 80 – 83)
Back to England, and perhaps the most important man after Kane in Gareth Southgate’s side is Jesse Lingard. The Manchester United midfielder is a tireless runner, and although he is playing out of position in central midfield for England, his energy is key to the way they play. Lingard may only have one international goal to his name, but he has a reputation for scoring in big games for United, having notched in both the Community Shield and FA Cup final. Him and Dele Alli (OVR 83) will be looking to support the England strike pairing and may be able to lose their markers in the final third.
Keep an eye on: Marcus Rashford (OVR 81)
Emil Forsberg (OVR 83 – 85)
Sweden have lacked a talisman since the retirement of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but Emil Forsberg is slowly filling that role. He should receive a lot of joy down the left flank for Sweden against a very weak South Korean team. RB Leipzig man Forsberg scored five goals and chalked up four assists in the Bundesliga last season, but his country will need more from him this summer. If Sweden are to progress out of a tricky group, Forsberg must be at his best, with a significant lack of striking power in the Swedish side.
Keep an eye on: Heung-Min Son (OVR 83)