I'm not going to do a protracted post because I'm typing on a touchscreen which isn't the most efficient way to write large volume posts. For those who think I go on too long, you can thank Steve Jobs and my disinterest in getting out my laptop for the brevity. For those who enjoy the longer posts, they'll resume soon enough. As I did last time around, I won't go through the entire set of options but I'll give you some sense of how I'm thinking about my decisions. Here's the breakdown:
1) My sense of strategy in a short tournament is that you need to do well in the group stages because there are only so many options to separate yourself from the rest once the knockout stages start.
2) The fact that there were so many draws means that lots of teams will be forced to play their best players on Match Day 2 & 3.
Those two factors are leading me to think that the time to play your wild card is now. The reasons to save it would be if you're mostly happy with your current team and can save it one more Match Day. After the group stages it will be less valuable since you have more free transfers available.
So, where do you go from here? If you're spending only a single free transfer then I'd go with the best Spanish player you can find for the match-up with Ireland. I'm going with Cesc Fabregas and Jordi Alba but Xavi, Iniesta, and Silva could also make sense.
If you're full up on Spanish players then I'd be looking at Russians (Arshavin and Dzageov) and Italians (Buffon and Pirlo) based on match-ups over the next two matches. I'd recommend an Italian forward as well but I'd have a hard time figuring out who will start between Di Natale and Balotelli. I'd start Di Natale in a second if he were a confirmed starter.
Outside of those options, I like the Ukrainian wingers against France's Poor outside fullbacks. I also wouldn't object to keeping anyone from Group A not playing Russia and the strong players from any team in Group D (Benzema, Ibra, Kallstrom, Ashley Young, and sadly John Terry).
If you're wondering, I'm staying away from the highest priced forwards and anyone in the Holland/Germany match. I'm not sure how much to buy in to the Danes even after te beat Holland and beat Portugal for first in their qualifying group. The Danes certainly won't score a ton and you definitely don't want them against even a second string Germany so I'd not invest heavily even if you're buying the story.
So, as you can probably tell, I've decided to use my wild card. I hope that helps you decide on yours and prioritize your transfers even if you save the wild card.
Good luck with your picks and we'll see you back for The Barn Door Live tomorrow.