Euro 2020 being played in 2021 tells you that nothing about this competition is ordinary. For the first time in the competition’s history, it is being hosted across various venues in multiple countries. And to keep the trend of the unusual happening, Italy scored thrice in a Euro match for the first time.
We are almost a week in, and the action has been breathtaking. The countries on parade have treated fans at home and in the stadiums to non-stop entertaining football. The near-death experience suffered by Christian Eriksen also reminded us of the importance of good health and family. It showed that as much as we love football, it’s just a game and that good health or family will always come first. Seeing fans from Finland and Denmark unite by chanting Eriksen’s name was beautiful, and football fans from all over the world pray and hope for his complete recovery.
The Euros also see fans testing their managerial abilities by playing fantasy teams. A couple of fantasy assets stood out in the first round, but some others left fantasy managers red faced (or at least eye-rolling). The importance of properly understanding the rules of the Euro fantasy league and executing effective chip strategy cannot be overstated; it might be hard to recover from a poor match-day as there are only seven in the competition. You can check out Dhivakhar’s MD-1 Player Picks article for its chip strategies, but if you had a poor MD-1 or find yourself beyond 1000th place in NMA’s Euro fantasy mini-league, you should consider activating your limitless chip in MD-2 so you don’t fall too far behind.
Fixture difficulty swings from MD-1 TO MD-2 will play a big part in player selection for MD-2. Countries like Croatia, England, France and Ukraine that had difficult fixtures in MD-1 have favorable fixtures in MD-2, but some of those with favorable fixtures in MD-1 now face difficult fixtures in MD-2.
The first match of MD-2 is Finland vs Russia, so those will be the only lineups confirmed before the deadline.
Take care to understand the deadline time in your time zone so you get your transfers and June 16 captain choice saved beforehand.
And don’t wait to the last minute — The fantasy server can become sluggish in the final minutes before a deadline.
Thibaut Courtois (€5.5m, Denmark v Belgium)
Real Madrid keeper Courtois helped Belgium stay tight at the back against host Russia in the first round of fixtures, and he is expected to make it two clean sheets from two when the Red Devils take on Denmark in their second match. Like Russia, Denmark without talisman Christian Eriksen will find it hard to carve out chances against a well drilled Belgium back line.
Hugo Lloris (€6m, France v Hungary)
France squares off against Hungary; Les Blues will look to build goal differential, scoring as many goals as possible in this fixture while remaining tight at the back. In a group of death that contains defending Euro champion Portugal and former World champion Germany, Hungary is the team other three will look to exploit for net advantage. French captain Hugo Lloris should start in goal in this fixture and also help the Les Blues keep a clean sheet.
Tyrone Mings (€4.5m, England v Scotland)
Aston Villa defender Mings who started in place of injured England captain Harry Maguire produced an impressive performance to help the Three Lions hold Croatia at bay for 90 minutes. Mings was solid alongside Man City defender John Stones in central defense, and he looks to maintain that level of performance when England face neighbors Scotland. England looks a good value for another clean sheet, and Mings looks set to start once again as Harry Maguire is reportedly yet to return to full team training.
Mario Fernandes (€5.5m, Finland v Russia)
Despite the a 3-nil loss, Mario Fernandes was one of the few bright spots in Russia’s tepid performance against world number one ranked Belgium. The Russian team playing in front of home fans failed to get going in attack while the center-backs gifted Belgium the first two goals due to mistakes and lack of concentration. Amid a poor team performance, Fernandes showed his class by more than holding his own on the left wing. He wasn’t afraid to attack and deliver crosses that went unconverted by his teammates. Russia will look to bounce back against Finland who upset Denmark, and Fernandes will be crucial to their chances of keeping a clean sheet and creating chances at the other end of the pitch.
Oleksandr Zinchenko (€5.5m, Ukraine v North Macedonia)
Man City defender Oleksandr Zinchenko struggled in the first-round match against the Netherlands due to his inability to track the runs of midfielders Gini Wijnaldum and Frankie De Jong. The City winger also found it hard to show his creativity and technique on the ball due to Ukraine’s inability to retain possession against the Netherlands’ high pressing style of play. Ukraine now faces North Macedonia, and Zinchenko should have all the time in world needed to display creativity against a more conservative style of play. The Ukraine defense, which conceded just four goals in Euro qualifiers, should be able to stop first timers’ North Macedonia from scoring.
Leonardo Spinazzola (€5.5m, Italy v Switzerland)
In the Azurri’s first match against Turkey, Spinazzola bombed forward in attack after attack, defying the old stereotype of Italian defenders being conservative and slow. The left wing-back eventually got a reward when he set up Ciro Immobile for Italy’s second goal. Spinazzola will look to continue being tight at the back and also joining the attack against Switzerland.
Lorenzo Insigne (€8.5m, Italy v Switzerland)
Napoli winger Insigne was highly touted as the star man of the Italian team before the opening fixture, and he didn’t disappoint against Turkey, involved in most of Italy’s best attacking play. Insigne was able to cap his impressive performance by tucking home the third goal of the game. The winger looks set to start in the second round as Italy faces Switzerland in what is expected to be an open game, perfect for Insigne’s fast and slick style of play. Italy is favored to take home the three points in this fixture, and Insigne looks well primed to increase his goal tally.
Andriy Yarmalenko (€8.5m, Ukraine v North Macedonia)
Yarmalenko continued from his impressive pre-tournament form by scoring a stunning goal in the first match against the Netherlands. The shot from 25 yards was the fire in the belly the Ukrainians needed to mount a fightback against the Oranje. Yarmalenko was a menace to the Netherlands back line with his trickiness, and he is expected to continue his impressive form when Ukraine square off against Austria.
Georginio Wijnaldum (€8m, Netherlands v Austria)
The top scorer in the Euro qualifiers with eight goals picked up from there by scoring the opening goal of the tournament for the Oranje. The Liverpool midfielder was impressive against Ukraine as he helped drive the ball forward, hold up play and also track back. The Netherlands take on Austria in their second match, and you wouldn’t put it past Wijnaldum to come up with a goal or two in this fixture.
Ivan Perisic (€8.5m, Croatia v Czech)
Inter Milan winger Perisic will be instrumental to Croatia’s hope to bounce back after a disappointing performance against England. Croatia found it hard to get going, unable to create chances or even also keep the ball against England’s young and vibrant team. Croatia must get it right against Czech Republic in its second match to keep any hopes of advancing to the next round. Ivan Perisic will be crucial as he is one of the team’s most experienced players and best finisher.
Kylian Mbappe & Karim Benzema (€12m & €10m, Hungary v France)
France faces group D punching-bag Hungary and is expected to run riot as goal difference could factor into survival and position in this group of death. Crucial to the attack will be forwards Mbappe and Benzema, both looking to put Hungary to the sword. Mbappe’s pace and fast feet will be crucial as Hungary will look to set up a low block. The Magyars will soak up pressure with hope of hitting Les Blues on counter and getting unlikely points out of the match. Benzema who just returned to the French squad after a six-year absence will also be looking to cement his starting place by scoring a goal or two.
Roman Yaremchuk (€7m, Ukraine v North Macedonia)
After four goals to emerge as Ukraine’s top scorer in Euro qualifiers, Yaremchuk added another goal plus an assist in Ukraine’s first match against the Netherlands. The striker who has recently been linked to Arsenal has been quite sublime all season for his club Gent, and he will be eager to continue his goal scoring form in Ukraine’s next match against North Macedonia.
Romelu Lukaku (€11m, Denmark v Belgium) (Captain Pick)
Two well-taken goals in the first round of fixtures says all you need to know about Inter Milan Striker Romelu Lukaku. Lukaku who is having the season of his life continued his excellent form by scoring a goal in each half of Belgium’s win against Russia. Belgium squares up against a Denmark side sadly missing the services of star player Christian Eriksen. Belgium comes into this game full of confidence, and the expected return of Man City midfielder Kevin de Bruyne should see them get the better of the Danes who lost to underdog Finland in the first round.
What is your chip strategy? Is using a wildcard in the group stage too much of a risk? Do you think now is the perfect time to activate your limitless chip? Which players did you miss out in MD-1 and who will you be banking on in MD-2? Who are your prospective captain picks for the four days of MD-2? What questions do you have? Please let us know in the comment section below.