Midfield watch for 9 and 10

FIFA.com looks at some of the midfielders available for selection on Matchdays 9 and 10 in the McDonald's FIFA World Cup Fantasy, including some who dazzled last time out. 

Midfielders on fire
Timofei Kalachev scored a brace in Belarus's 5-1 win in Kazakhstan, making him the second-best performing midfielder last time out, and will hope to maintain this form at home to Andorra on 6 June. Leon Andreasen and Christian Poulsen both scored in Denmark's 3-0 win over Albania, while Venezeula's Juan Arango also impressed in a 2-0 defeat of Colombia. Walter Centeno's 69th-minute header ensured Costa Rica edged El Salvador 1-0, and Konstantin Zyrianov scored the winner in Russia's important away win over Liechtenstein.

Overall leaders
Costa Rica and USA players currently dominate the overall midfielder rankings. The former's Celso Borges leads the way, followed by Americans Michael Bradley and DaMarcus Beasley and his Ticos team-mate and Walter Centeno. All four are only available for Matchday 9.

Tips in the middle
With midfielders returning eight points per goal, and three points per clean sheet, managers must try and track down those who are capable of both. And remember, a forward that both scores and keeps a clean sheet earns seven points, while a midfielder who does the same earns 11.

Potential hot-spots
Europe: Slovakian midfielders could prove good signings for managers, as they face bottom-placed San Marino with the chance of hitting the Group 3 summit. England face Kazakhstan and then Andorra in Group 6, while Group 9 leaders the Netherlands take on Iceland and Norway.

Asia: Korea Republic, Australia and Japan are all undefeated thus far in the final round of Asian Zone qualifying.

South America: Big upsets in recent qualifiers have made the South American Zone very unpredictable.

Africa: Of the sixteen nations involved in the tussle for five FIFA World Cup™ qualification seats, only five teams recorded losses on the first matchday. Côte d'Ivoire seem to be the only African big guns living up to expectations, while favourites such as Egypt, Cameroon and Nigeria are under threat courtesy of underdogs like Togo, Gabon, Zambia and Mozambique.

North, Central America and Caribbean: Upcoming matchdays could reshuffle the top spots in what has turned into one of the most exciting South Africa 2010 qualification sections. Will USA remain undefeated? Can Mexico launch a comeback? Are El Salvador set to make history? Make sure to answer these questions before picking your midfield.

Midfield watchlist: Amado Guevara (Honduras), Eliseo Quintanilla (El Salvador), Michael Bradley (USA), Shunsuke Nakamura (Japan), Tim Cahill (Australia), Mun In Guk (PRK), Park Ji Sung (Korea Republic), Mark Van Bommel (Netherlands), Stanislav Sestak (Slovakia), Ivan Rakitic (Croatia), Nani (Portugal), Romaric (Côte d'Ivoire); Fahid Ben Khalfallah (Tunisia), Konstantin Zyrianov (Russia); Keon Daniel (Trinidad and Tobago), Cristian Riveros (Paraguay), Kaka (Brazil), Javier Mascherano (Argentina), Matias Fernandez (Chile).

Matchday 9 deadline: 02:00 (GMT), 06 June, 2009
Matchday 10 deadline:04:00 (GMT), 10 June, 2009