Welcome to our first group preview article for the upcoming Euro 2020 tournament! Italy is up first as one of the host nations this year, playing against Turkey on Friday June 12. Wales and Switzerland then follow on Saturday.
This group may not be quite as strong as Group H, which is the tournament’s “Group of Death”, but there isn’t a clear underdog in this group either. None of the sides here are likely to roll over, so each is more than capable of grabbing a result.
The Italians have the most famous brand here, with some serious pedigree to their name. Four-time World-Cup winners, they also won this tournament back in 1968. Italy is the group favorite, especially after a clean-sweep performance during qualifying.
Andrea Belotti was top-scorer for the previous champions with five goals, but he’s not guaranteed to start. Italy has many strong attacking options available, Lorenzo Insigne and Ciro Immobile looking favorites to start; the former is an especially good pick as a midfielder. Jorginho will be on penalties, but he doesn’t offer any real attacking potential otherwise. And don’t be fooled by his high points total in fantasy UCL — the fantasy Euros platform doesn’t reward ball recoveries.
Italy is well-known for defensively-sound performances, and goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma is one of the favorite picks in the fantasy game. Veteran defender Leonardo Bonucci is a nailed-on starter, with right-back Alessandro Florenzi likely to be first-choice and a popular pick.
The British side may not have any real international pedigree, but it did have a great tournament back in 2016, reaching the semifinals and losing to eventual winners, Portugal.
Star man is Real Madrid forward (until recently on loan to Tottenham) Gareth Bale who finished strongly after a slow start; he will be on set-piece duty. Aaron Ramsey is the other star player, but injury and lack of form could put a damper on his tournament.
Cardiff City striker Kieffer Moore was joint top-scorer with two goals during qualifying, but he’s not guaranteed a starting place. He has competition from Harry Wilson (who scored back in March during the WC qualifiers). Defensively, Neco Williams offers decent attacking potential as a wing-back, but the Welsh defence will find it hard to keep out a strong Italian side.
A regular in these International tournaments, but with no real glory (reaching the round of 16 in 2016), Switzerland is a solid enough side (ranked 13th) and usually give a decent account of themselves.
Switzerland topped a relatively easy qualifying group, pipping Denmark for first. The side isn’t graced with a host of attacking stars, Rangers forward Cedric Itten their top scorer during the qualifiers with three goals. However, he was snubbed for their provisional squad.
The Swiss have a couple well-known EPL faces: Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri. The latter hasn’t featured much for Liverpool but remains an integral part of his national team. With a goal plus two assists in his last three international games, he offers some attacking threat. The experienced defender, Ricardo Rodriguez has potential as he usually steps up for set-pieces and has done well recently in recent games; otherwise there isn’t obvious picks outside of this.
Turkey had an impressive qualifying campaign in group H, finishing second and pushing group winners France all the way, even taking four points off of them! Turkey lost only once in ten qualifiers so may well be the dark horse in the tournament.
With three goals, Cenk Tosun was the Turks’ top-scorer in the qualifiers, but he will miss out due to injury. On the back of a strong season for Lille, veteran captain and striker Burak Yilmaz is the star pick in the team and is on penalties and free-kicks. Turkey has been in form recently, with Yilmaz scoring four goals in three games.
Midfielders Hakan Calhanoglu and Ozan Tufan offer attacking potential, scoring three goals between them in their last three games. Both are differentials in the fantasy game. Turkey plays an open game, so defensive picks aren’t the best, but attack-minded fullback Zeki Çelik offers good value and has lower ownership than Leicester’s Caglar Soyuncu.
Don’t forget to join NMA’s fantasy Euros mini-league! See how here.
Which team will top Group A?
This poll is closed
What do you think of group A? Which players are you backing to do well? Which team will finish where? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments!