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Stewart Coggin

World Cup Fantasy Tips: Defenders

By June 9, 2010

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You are allowed unlimited transfers after the group stage, so it is about picking a team you believe will do well over the next three sets of matches.

When picking defenders for your World Cup fantasy team, it is a case of looking at the group stage matches and deciding which sides have the best chance of keeping the most clean sheets.

Defenders are awarded four points for every clean sheet in Fifa's official game, but lose a point for every two goals they concede.

Italy may not be one of the most entertaining sides on show, but their group of Paraguay, Slavakia and New Zealand should see them keep two clean sheets. Gianluca Zambrotta is a strong attacking full-back and may represent good value at 6 units, while Giorgio Chiellini (7) is a certainty to start in the middle.

Despite the loss of Rio Ferdinand through injury, England look well capable of keeping out the US, Slovenia and Algeria. John Terry, Ashley Cole and Glen Johnson are all expensive at 7.5 units but should deliver.

The French remain resolute at the back, despite their problems going into the tournament. They are in an unpredictable group containing South Africa, Mexico and Uruguay. William Gallas, who is refusing to talk to the press in this tournament, has scored more goals as the years have gone on, and fitness permitting, looks a good acquisition at 6.5. If you are lucky enough to pick a defender who can keep clean sheets and also score a couple of goals in the tournament, you are on to a winner.

When looking at Spaniards, Joan Capdevila is probably the most attacking of the back four and may be worth a punt at 7.5.

These players are all expensive, and with seven defenders to pick, you will have to choose two or three cheaper ones.

Paraguay are likely to be one of the more defensive sides in South Africa, and full-back Dario Veron is cheap at 4.5.

Slovakia are in the same group, and two of their defenders are available for 3.5 units: Jan Durica and Radoslav Zabavnik. They should keen clean sheets against New Zealand at least.

Other cheap alternatives to flesh out your squad include Wigan's attacking Honduras left-back Maynor Figueroa (2) and adventurous Algeria left-back Nadir Belhadj (3). They may not keep many clean sheets, however both are more likely than their fellow defenders to score a goal, and good players to have on the bench.

The likes of Brazil and Germany are in difficult groups so it may be prudent to stay away from their defenders at first, and while Argentina have a relatively simple assignment, it remains to be seen how they will defend under Diego Maradona because they looked susceptible to high balls in qualification.

Defenders to consider

John Terry (7.5)

Ashley Cole (7.5)

Glen Johnson (7.5)

Joan Capdevila (7.5)

Giorgio Chiellini (7)

William Gallas (6.5)

Gianluca Zambrotta (6)

Dario Veron (4.5)

Jan Durica (3.5)

Radoslav Zabavnik (3.5)

Nadir Belhadj (3)

Maynor Figueroa (2)

For tips on goalkeepers, click here.

For tips on midfielders, click here.

For tips on strikers, click here.

I have set up an about.com league. If you fancy going up against me, just create a squad of 23 players, click on 'my leagues' and enter the league code 128471-123260.

Michael Steele / Getty Images

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