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Euro 2020 Semi-Final Fantasy Player Picks

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It's now or never to use your chips

Ukraine v England - UEFA Euro 2020: Quarter-final
Star man of the semi-final?
Photo by Alessandra Tarantino - Pool/Getty Images

The Euro 2020 quarterfinals saw Italy put Belgium to the sword in what is so far the heavyweight match of the tournament. Played at a frenetic pace, it was decided by goals from Lorenzo Insigne and Nico Barella. Although Romelu Lukaku netted a PK for Belgium on the stroke of half-time, that goal proved to be a mere consolation as the Italians kept tight at the back throughout the second half.

Switzerland’s dogged display pushed Spain to its limit, dragging La Roja to penalties despite having a man sent off in the 77th minute. Mikel Oyarzabal scored the decisive spot kick that propelled Spain to the semifinal.

On the second day of quarterfinal play, Denmark got the better of the Czech Republic through goals from Thomas Delaney and Kasper Dolberg. Abrace from Harry Kane along with goals from Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson helped England cruise to a comfortable 4-nil victory over Ukraine.

But with the quarterfinals behind us, we fantasy managers must now turn our attention to MD-6. With only four teams still alive, the menu of players available for selection has shrunk considerably, and getting your choices right will be crucial. To that end I’ve listed my top player picks below.

By the way, if you’re still holding a wildcard, it’s time to use it. After the semis, chips will be relatively useless due to the very limited number of players that will remain available for selection. The Euro tournament has no consolation match, so we will be left with only one fixture in MD-7, so chips (and your bench for that matter) will be fairly pointless.

We should see confirmed lineups for Spain & Italy about one hour before their match, so for a margin of safety, consider deferring the actual saving of your transfers until the starters from that game are released.

Also, be sure to captain a player from the first calendar day of semifinal play so that you have a chance to double good points before deciding whether to twist the armband to someone playing the next day.

Similarly, you want keepers who play on different days. If you were reading NMA’s picks for the quarterfinals, you lined them up to be just so, but if you find yourself with two keepers on the same day (or buying a keeper to replace one who crashed out), be sure to get the day right.


Goalkeepers

Belgium v Italy - UEFA Euro 2020: Quarter-final Photo by Christof Stache - Pool/Getty Images

Gianluigi Donnarumma (€5.7 Spain v Italy)

Paris Saint-Germain new goalkeeper Donnarumma was sensational in the victory over Belgium, the world’s top-ranked team. Donnarumma was instrumental in helping the Azzurri preserve their lead as he made save after save to deny the Belgians an equalizer. His triumphant roar at the sound of the final whistle showed how much he wanted the win; he will now be motivated to help Italy get the better of Spain in the semifinal. In this match, Donnarumma will come up against an inconsistent Spanish attack that has flirted with both the sublime and disastrous.

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Jordan Pickford (€5.7 England v Denmark)

Pickford is the only netminder yet to concede a goal at Euro 2020. At the beginning of the competition, following an unconvincing season with his club side, the Everton goalkeeper had to deal with calls for him to be dropped as England’s #1. But Pickford’s impressive performances at the Euros have turned doubters into believers. England faces an attack-minded Denmark side in the semifinal, and Pickford will once again be called upon to help keep the streak of clean sheets.


Defenders

Joakim Maehle (€4.7 England v Denmark)

Atalanta right wingback Maehle has been one of the brightest performers in the tournament. The midfielder has been tasked with playing as a left wingback for Denmark, and he has excelled in this new role. Maehle has produced eye-catching displays that have seen him score two goals. His assist in the quarterfinal was gorgeous as he played an outside-of-the-boot cross for striker Dolberg to tuck home. I can’t seem to get enough of it, and I bet you can’t either:

Caveat: Maehle took a knock to his ankle on the stroke of half-time. Though he remained in the match, keep an eye out for updates on his availability. That match occurs on the second day of the semis so we will not know the lineups in advance of the transfer deadline.

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Switzerland v Spain - UEFA Euro 2020: Quarter-final Photo by Anatoly Maltsev - Pool/Getty Images

Jordi Alba (€6.2 Spain v Italy)

Barcelona left-back Alba has proven to be one of Spain’s most reliable attacking outlets. Alba was the architect of Spain’s opener against Switzerland as Zakaria deflected his long range shot into the back of the net. Alba’s constant driving runs on the left wing and his ability to deliver beautiful cut-backs have been pivotal to Spain’s creation of chances. Spain will have to get the better of Italy’s disciplined defense to go through to the final, and Alba will be heavily relied-upon to help keep the back tight while also providing marauding runs forward.

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Leonardo Bonnuci (€5.7 Spain v Italy)

Juventus defender Bonucci’s partnership with club teammate Giorgio Chiellini in the middle of the defense has been pivotal to Italy’s impressive defensive performance, conceding just two goals so far. Bonnuci has been ever-present in Italy’s defense, seemingly rolling back the years with his exceptional tackling ability and pin-point passing. Bonnuci will be relied upon to marshal the Italians’ back line against a Spanish attack that has struggled for consistency all through the competition.

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Luke Shaw & Harry Maguire (6.2 & 5.6 England v Denmark)

Shaw began the Euros on the bench, but he has since proven himself to be more than capable of being England’s first choice left-back. He was at his attacking best in the quarterfinal fixture against Ukraine where he provided two assists and also helped England stop Ukraine from scoring. Notably, Gareth Southgate subbed him off in the 65th minute with the game already decided, presumably to preserve him for the semifinal.

Like Shaw, Maguire also began the Euros on bench duty due to injury, but the Three Lions captain has recovered and regained his place in the back line. To the delight of his fantasy owners, Maguire capped what has been an impressive return to action with a goal and a clean sheet in the quarterfinal. England has the best semifinal matchup of any of the four teams, and its perfect clean-sheet record suggests that a defensive triple-up could be worthwhile.

If you like many others find yourself shopping to replace the injured Spinazzola, consider an Englishman.


Midfielders

Nicolo Barella (€7.3 Spain v Italy)

Hard-working Inter Milan midfielder Barella was the star man of Italy’s quarterfinal victory over Belgium as he scored the opener and also provided the assist for Insigne’s match-winner. Only 4% owned, the few managers who trusted him were rewarded with a handsome nine-point return. The tireless midfielder has steadily grown into this Championship, and his work rate should continue to pay dividends.

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Raheem Sterling (€9.8 England v Denmark)

Man City winger Sterling scored the only goal in England’s first game, and he hasn’t looked back since. Sterling’s three goals and an assist have been instrumental to England’s run to the semifinals. Although Sterling didn’t score in England’s rout of Ukraine, his assist for Harry Kane’s opener means he has produced attacking returns in four out of England’s five games so far.

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Lorenzo Insigne (€8.6 Spain v Italy)

Italy’s most reliable attacking outlet, Insigne capped off what was a brilliant performance against Belgium with a signature Insigne goal. The Napoli winger cut inside and curled a beauty of a strike beyond Courtois from 30 yards out:

The diminutive forward has contributed two goals to Italy’s run to the semis, and he looks primed to take advantage of a leaky and disorganized Spanish defense.

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Pablo Sarabia (€6.9 Spain v Italy)

Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Sarabia has been Spain’s most reliable attacking outlet at the Euros, contributing two goals and two assists despite limited minutes. Sarabia plays a slightly more advanced role for country than for club, looking like the most reliable provider of points in a Spanish attack that has been inconsistent. Sarabia is expected to play from the start on Tuesday, but in any case we will have the confirmed lineup for Spain in time to react.


Strikers

Czech Republic v Denmark - UEFA Euro 2020: Quarter-final Photo by Valetin Ogirenko - Pool/Getty Images

Kasper Dolberg (€7.2 England v Denmark)

Three goals in his last two appearances for Denmark says all you need to know about Nice forward Dolberg. The striker picked up where he left off against Wales by scoring Denmark’s second goal from Maehle’s ridiculous cross in the quarterfinal fixture against the Czech Republic. Dolberg’s hold-up play was instrumental, and he also helped the Danes spring counterattacks. While Yussuf Poulsen had been the recognized No. 9 coming into the tournament, current form should see Dolberg start the semifinal fixture against England. Denmark will need him to be at his impressive best for them to stand any chance of breaching the Three Lions’ so-far impervious back line.

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Harry Kane (€11.6 England v Denmark)

A brace in the last fixture against Ukraine shows the kind of form Kane is in right now. The Three Lions’ striker was the subject of heavy scrutiny at the beginning of the tournament due to a lack of goals, but Kane has shown his mental strength by rebounding and scoring three goals in his last two games. The streaky striker will be full of confidence and raring to go against Denmark in the semi-final.

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Did you add any of my picks from above? Did I miss what seems like a sitter? Or did I take too much of a risk? On whom are you depending to produce the highest number of points? Have you exhausted your chips, or are you playing one for these semifinals? What questions do you have? Please take our polls and then share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Poll

The best captain for Day 1 of the semifinals is:

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    Nicolo Barella
    (43 votes)
  • 74%
    Lorenzo Insigne
    (437 votes)
  • 2%
    Pablo Sarabia
    (15 votes)
  • 4%
    Gianluigi Donnarumma
    (24 votes)
  • 4%
    Jordi Alba
    (27 votes)
  • 7%
    Other; please specify in comments
    (44 votes)
590 votes total Vote Now

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Poll

The best captain for Day 2 of the semifinals is:

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    Kasper Dolberg
    (8 votes)
  • 1%
    Joakim Maehle
    (8 votes)
  • 69%
    Harry Kane
    (324 votes)
  • 13%
    Raheem Sterling
    (61 votes)
  • 11%
    Luke Shaw
    (52 votes)
  • 1%
    Harry Maguire
    (6 votes)
  • 0%
    Jordan Pickford
    (4 votes)
  • 0%
    Other, please specify in comments
    (4 votes)
467 votes total Vote Now

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