Euro 2020 Fantasy: Knockout Stages
As we reach the midway point of Euro 2020 Fantasy, Online Sports Editor Floris de Bruin has a few insights and suggestions that could help give you the winning edge.
We have reached the round of 16 in UEFA Euro 2020, and with that, the halfway point in the Euro 2020 Fantasy game. Gifted unlimited transfers, an increased budget of €105m but with a smaller pool of players to choose from, you have some thinking and tinkering to do.
Whether you are sitting comfortably at the top of Exepose’s Fantasy Football league or are stubbornly sitting at the bottom of it, this scouting guide can be helpful to all who wish to stay in contention.
Italy has looked extremely solid in defending, which is hardly a surprise given their history. Having avoided conceding a single goal in the group stages, they look to continue this superb run of form as they are the heavy favourites in their fixture against Austria. Gianluigi Donnarumma (€5.6m) has one of the safest hands in the tournament at the moment, protected by a concrete wall. Leonardo Spinazzola (€5.6m) carries significant potential as a wing-back and has proven his attacking potential with an assist already so far.
Whereas the Dutch defence looked extremely disorganised in their thriller against Ukraine, they have significantly improved since then. The return of Matthijs de Ligt (€5.5m) at the heart of the defence has brought much-needed stability, which showed as they collected clean sheets in their last two group matches. The players look more comfortable with Frank de Boer’s unconventionally conservative formation every game, at first an alien concept to a historically attacking side. As a result, steam engine Denzel Dumfries (€5.6m) is a must-have as he bombs up and down the flanks of the pitch. He has proven to be a force to reckon with by scoring two goals and registering four shots on target. You may also consider the budget option of Maarten Stekelenburg (€4.7m). While the oldest keeper at 38 to play in the Euro, he has both the experience and the fixture to back him up.
Spain’s defence also looks solid as they shape up to face Croatia on Monday. While Luis Enrique is known to rotate his players, his defence is safest from that. Expect Aymeric Laporte (€6.1m) and Jordi Alba (€6.1m) to play as they have featured in every game for them so far.
France also has an opportunity for a clean sheet against Switzerland. Consider choosing between Lucas Hernandez (€6.6m) and Benjamin Pavard (€6m), who provide attacking potential.
If you are low on funds, here are some budget options to consider. Pau Torres (€4.6m) and Unai Simon (€5.1m) show promise. But, if you want to play high-risk, high reward, Joakim Maehle (€4.5m) from Denmark could boost your points this week. Going into his game with Wales, he has had seven shots in the competition so far – the maximum number among defenders. He could always feature as a super substitute, you know.
Consider avoiding defenders from England, Germany, Belgium and Portugal. Clean sheets are not expected here.
Italy and the Netherlands have players to consider in light of the relative ease of their fixtures. It will cause manager’s a headache to choose between the Gli Azzurri’s wingers Domenico Berardi (€6.2m) and Lorenzo Insigne (€8.6m). While Berardi provides assists and Insigne scores goals, it’s up to you to decide. Manuel Locatelli (€5.7m) is also on the radar after scoring two goals against Switzerland in the group stages. Having been rested by Roberto Mancini, he looks set to be featured again. In terms of the Netherlands, you cannot ignore Gini Wijnaldum (€8.1m). He plays an advanced role for Oranje, registering three goals and more shots on target than any other midfielder. You may be punished by leaving him out of your team, be warned.
Between Wales and Denmark, Gareth Bale (€9.6m) and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (€5.5m) are the ones to choose from. We all know how much Bale loves to play for Wales, and if they do cause an upset against Denmark, he is the one to instigate it and drive his team to the next round. However, Hojbjerg has done marvellously well after the horrors of matchday 1. He has provided three assists, created nine chances and has also taken over set-piece duties for Christian Erikson.
The match between Sweden and Ukraine is going to be hard to predict. Nevertheless, the returns provided by Emil Forsberg (€7.7m) and Andriy Yarmolenko (€8.6m) are hard to neglect. If you feel one team has the edge over the other, go for it. But if you want to play a bit more conservative, I would suggest turning your attention elsewhere.
Looking back at Spain, Ferran Torres (€8m) is worth a shot, having scored in Spain’s thumping of Slovakia. But, Ivan Perisic (€8.6m) could be lethal in Croatia’s attack.
Also, it is hard to neglect Kevin de Bruyne (€10.6m) when he plays like that for Belgium. Yes, it is a tricky fixture against Portugal. Yes, it may be better to wait it out. But if anything happens for Belgium, expect it to come by his efforts.
It is incredibly tempting to choose either Cristiano Ronaldo (€12.2m) or Romelu Lukaku (€11.2m) to spearhead your team’s attack. The former is a legend in the game and loves the competition; the latter has enjoyed a stellar season in Italy and is a serious contender for the Golden Boot. But, who will outshine the other? Or will they both perform? Will you take a gamble or step aside and watch the heavyweights fight it out?
Clearer cut choices include Ciro Immobile (€10.1m) and Memphis Depay (€10.1m). Immobile is Italy’s central striker and has enjoyed an excellent start to the campaign with two goals and an assist. However, if you have watched any of Italy’s games, you will have noticed he has also missed many chances. Notably, he has six shots off target – the most of any player. Do you back him? Depay is the star man of Oranje, leading the line with two goals and two assists. He is brimming with confidence after securing a move to FC Barcelona and can reward you with points. Have I mentioned he is also on most set-piece duties?
Picking France’s attack is a tricky one since everyone looks encouraging. Karim Benzema (€10m), Antoine Griezmann (€11.1m) and Kylian Mbappe (€12m) all have the chance to shine against Switzerland. Perhaps Benzema offers the most potential as he is on penalty duties.
Spain also proves difficult, offering choices between Gerard Moreno (€6.6m) and Alvaro Morata (€9.1m). Moreno has not played a full ninety minutes yet but has two assists to his name. Morata, on the other hand, does have a goal, and Enrique may choose to give him another chance after a shaky start.
Budget options include Roman Yaremchuk (€7.3m) with two goals and one assist, along with Yussuf Poulsen (€8.2m) with two goals thus far.
Strategy and Final Notes
The game now allows us to use a maximum of four players from each team, tempting considering some favourable draws. However, remember to plan because you only get three transfers for the next round. In terms of Italy, while they enjoy a fixture against Austria, they arguably have the most challenging side of the draw. Should Italy beat Austria, they await the winner of Belgium versus Portugal.
Nonetheless, you may or may not still have some chips available to use. The Wildcard or Limitless chip may come in handy for the next round when some players have been eliminated. You want to avoid deadwood at all costs lest you risk falling behind in the league. To help, consider choosing players likely to play the full 90 minutes of football. Games go into extra time in the knockout stages, providing opportunities for more points.
In terms of captaincy options, Italy looks promising for Saturday and the Netherlands for Sunday. Then consider France on Monday.
We hope you enjoyed and found this scouting article helpful when building your Fantasy teams. The organisation is vital to success, and remember to turn on notifications of your Euro 2020 app to ensure you are up to date with team news and can make substitutions on time.
Good luck and have fun!
To join Exeposé’s league and compete against your peers at Exeter, enter the league code: 46R9BX9A06.