Our coverage of each group in the Euro 2020 tournament continues with an overview of group E. Please see our previous articles on Group A, Group B, Group C, and Group D as well as our tips and tricks guide to succeeding at fantasy Euro 2020. Then join NMA’s mini-league!
Following recent performances, not even a behemoth like Spain can feel comfortable with their odds in Group E which comprises:
The schedule for Group E matches:
- 14 June: Poland vs Slovakia - Estadio de La Cartuja (Seville - Spain)
- 14 June: Spain vs Sweden - Estadio de La Cartuja (Seville - Spain)
- 18 June: Sweden vs Slovakia - Gazprom Stadium (Russia)
- 19 June: Spain vs Poland - Estadio de La Cartuja (Seville)
- 23 June: Sweden vs Poland - Gazprom Stadium (Russia)
- 23 June: Slovakia vs Spain - Estadio de La Cartuja (Seville)
The Polish national team debuted at Euro 2008 for its first major tournament since the fall of communism. Its golden era was back in the 1970s when Poland beat both Argentina and Brazil in the same World Cup in 1974. The team then entered long years of drought before appearing again in recent years as a force to reckon with.
Robert Lewandowski (2019-20 season UEFA Best Forward Award) and Wojcjech Szczesny (Juventus No.1 Goalkeeper) are the main and best known players of this team. Defender Jan Bednarek appeared 36 times this season for Southampton in the English Premier League. There are a few more names known among football fans, but my hopes for strong fantasy returns are probably lying with Piotr Zielinski after his strong display at Napoli.
Poland is set to play its last friendly match on June 8 against Iceland in preparation for their Euro Cup opening match against Slovakia on June 14.
The Poles won 8, drew 1 and lost 1 in Euro 2020 qualifying, comfortably winning group G six points ahead of Austria. September 2020 witnessed their only draw and defeat, at the hands of Austria and Slovenia respectively, However, four consecutive victories before September and four more after were more than enough join in on the action as a major contender in their new group.
Slovakia is a 29 year old country, so its team history merges into former Czechoslovakia. The honors achieved by the dismantled nation must be shared to the newly formed ones. Most reports suggest that Czechoslovakia’s national team always featured more Slovakian players. Before dissolution, it qualified for the World Cup eight times and played in two finals. Czechoslovakia also won the Euros in 1976.
Since dissolution, Slovakia has been inconsistent, qualifying for only the 2010 World Cup and the 2016 Euros, reaching the round of 16 in each. It is safe to predict that Slovakia is probably going to end up at the bottom of this group, but here are a few names that may catch your interest for fantasy consideration: Milan Skriniar (Serie A Champions Inter Milan defender). Napoli’s defensive midfielder Stanislav Lobotka, and FC Koln attacking midfielder Ondrej Duda.
A new system was implemented for the first time in the qualifying to the Euro 2020. After 20 national teams qualified through the existing method of 10 qualifiers groups, 16 other national teams were selected to go through four bracket knockout paths depending on performance in the UEFA Nations League.
Slovakia ranked third behind Croatia and Wales in its regular qualifying group, but it earned a spot through UEFA Nations League standing and subsequent survival in the brackets. The young country won path B by defeating Republic of Ireland in a penalty shootout 4-2 after a 0-0 draw. In the final, Slovakia had to wait until additional time to score the winning goal 2-1 against Northern Ireland.
The 2010 World Cup champions and one of the best national teams in the world is currently ranked 6th by FIFA. The Spanish have appeared in 15 World Cups and 11 Euros, winning three; most recently 2012. It is hard to identify the best players to pick in the fantasy game, but here’s a quick search of superstars who won trophies during the club season:
- Marcos Llorente and Koke: Atletico Madrid midfielders and winners of Spanish La Liga, Llorente is valued highest among the Spanish players.
- Rodri, Aymeric Laporte, Ferran Torres and Eric Garcia: The Manchester City trio won the Premier League title, but none of them featured in the final against Chelsea (I am speechless).
- Cesar Azpilicueta: Captain of Chelsea and winner of the Champions League 2020-21
- Gerard Moreno: Villarreal forward and Europa League winner 2020-21)
- Other unavoidable mentions are Jose Gaya (left back), and
- David De Gea (keeper)
Spain topped qualifying group F, winning eight matches while drawing twice. The draws were against Sweden and Norway, both away from home. Spain qualified with only one match left to play. Even though the Spanish are favored to win this group, winning only seven of their last 15 matches is worrisome.
Sweden has always been a European powerhouse, but just below the bar. The strongest team to date was in 1958, and only a brilliant Brazil squad was able to put an end to their World Cup dream in the final. The Swedes have participated in 12 World Cups and 7 Euros. In Europe their luck has been worse, never reaching in the final. I was looking forward to welcoming back Zlatan Ibrahimovic to the international scene, but a knee injury will deprive us of his talents this summer. Players to watch include Dejan Kulusevski (Juventus winger), Victor Lindelof (Man United center-back), and high demand forward Alexander Isak (Real Sociedad 21 year old forward).
Sweden qualified directly from qualifying as group F runners-up, four points behind Spain. It will be interesting to watch a deciding match after a loss and a draw for the Swedes in the qualifiers.
Who’s on your watch-list from this group? Which teams do you expect to advance? Also please vote in the poll and then share your thoughts and questions in the comments!
If you picked a forward from this group, who would it be?
This poll is closed
UEFA 2019-20 Best Forward, Robert Lewandowski (11.5 M)
Traditional Striker, Alvaro Morata (9 M)
Europa Cup Winner, Gerard Moreno (6.5)
One of the best up and coming strikers, Alexander Isak (8 M)