clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Euro 2020 Final Fantasy Player Picks

New, comment

The trading window is open, and we have five free transfers. If six of your players survived, then that is just enough to have a full playing squad!

Gareth Southgate and Roberto Mancini - UEFA Euro 2020 Final Draw Ceremony Photo by Matthew Lewis - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

The world of football is set for a classic match when England plays against Italy in the Euro 2020 finals. England qualifies for its first major tournament final since 1966 World Cup. The Italians failed to win the Euro Cup in their last two finals, not lifting the trophy since 1968. So both teams are looking forward for a long awaited triumph.

Most predictions are calling for a draw in the first 90 minutes, but here is a look at both team’s journeys throughout one of the most exciting tournaments in this lifetime:

England won Group D with seven points, scoring only two goals and conceding none. The scoreless match against Scotland was England’s worst performance, but the Three Lions managed to finish the 90 minutes unharmed.

Gareth Southgate was forced to make some changes to the line-up in the R16 match against Germany due to minor injuries, but Harry Kane’s return to form was enough to knock out the tired German.

In the quarterfinals, England defeated Ukraine with ease, resting many key players with early 2nd half subs. Ukraine had played a difficult match against Sweden, so the difference in stamina and fatigue was apparent.

Denmark in the semi may be the only strong team that England had to play against. England conceded for the first time, an astonishing Mikkel Damsgaard free kick. Simon Kjaer and Co managed to push the match into extra time before conceding the deciding goal, a controversial VAR-confirmed penalty.

~

Italy won Group A with ease scoring seven goals and conceding none. Roberto Mancini redefined the Italian team since his takeover in 2018, switching to an attractive style. Playing Austria in the round of 16, Italy had trouble sending the ball beyond the goal line to be forced into extra time. Federico Chiesa scored a goal displaying many skills at once to win Italy a 2-1 victory in extra time. The Italian forward was rewarded with a starting place, displacing Domenico Berardi since. In the quarterfinals, Italy played an early final-level match against Belgium, scoring two goals in the first half. At that point in the tournament, Italy switched back to its old habits of playing defensively, knocking out Belgium followed by semifinal opponent Spain on penalty shootouts.


Goalkeepers:

Italy v Spain - UEFA Euro 2020: Semi-final Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images

G. Donnarumma (€5.8 m, Italy vs England): It is well known that finals are approached with caution, so neither team will risk their defensive coverage for an early goal. Comparing both goalkeepers, Gianluigi Donnarumma is much less likely to make mistakes compared to Jordan Pickford who is yet to be seriously tested.


Defenders:

Emerson (€5.5 m, Italy vs England): The Chelsea man is trusted with the left-back position after Leanorado Spinazzola ruptured his achilles tendon against Belgium in the quarterfinals. His early substitution against Spain has been criticised since Mancini was forced to play unfamiliar Giovanni Di Lorenzo in his place. Emerson’s early substitution at minute 73 was a strike of luck for me since the defender’s clean sheet (earned at 60’) was preserved before Spain’s goal spoiled it for the other Italians still on the pitch.

~

England v Denmark - UEFA Euro 2020: Semi-final Photo by Justin Tallis - Pool/Getty Images

Luke Shaw (€6.3 m, Italy vs England): He is always up front with high potential of assisting / scoring. With Harry Kane back in scoring form, any Shaw cross may end up in the back of the net.

~

Kyle Walker (€5.7 m, Italy vs England): This is a tough match, and I expect no clean sheet for either team. This player pick is for assist potential if you expect England to score.

~

Leonardo Bonucci (€5.7 m, Italy vs England): If you believe Italy has the upper hand, then Bonucci is my pick instead of Walker. The Juventus defender has a strong potential to score from set pieces. With no clean sheet expected, I strongly advise fantasy players to keep the number of defenders to the minimum (3).


Midfielders:

Italy v Spain - UEFA Euro 2020: Semi-final Photo by Frank Augstein - Pool/Getty Images

Federico Chiesa (€7.4 m, Italy vs England): Keeping Italy’s youngster as my captain in the semifinals boosted my ranks heavily since even the top English players earned only four or five, most of them only two, and some (e.g. Maguire) even less. Make sure that he is confirmed as a starter since he pulled a muscle against Spain and may not be available to play.

~

Lorenzo Insigne (€8.7 m, Italy vs England): The absence of Spinazzola hindered Insigne’s performance in the semifinals, but it could be argued that Spain’s high possession did not really allow his talent to show up. Italy should be able to resume some of its attacking style against England compared to the last two matches, so Insigne is one of the best choices out there.

~

Raheem Sterling (€9.9 m, Italy vs England): Standing at the top of the midfielders chart of returned points, Sterling may jump from 53% selection to almost 90% (all but those some managers who’ve abandoned their teams). Love or hate the lad, there is no denying his impact in this tournament.

~

Nicolo Barella (€7.5 m, Italy vs England): The Serie A champion and Inter Milan midfielder is not consistent in points returned. Like Insigne, when Italy attacks he will most probably return points.

~

Mason Mount (€7.3 m, Italy vs England): He missed MD-3 and MD-4 due to a minor injury. Otherwise, the UEFA Champions league winner is a player who can make a difference.


Forwards:

England v Denmark - UEFA Euro 2020: Semi-final Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images

Harry Kane (€11.7 m, Italy vs England): The only max-price player remaining in the competition is on PK duty, making him a must-have pick and popular captain candidate. He is one of the few remaining No.9 type strikers in the world; if England wins the trophy then he will be one of the key factors.

~

Ciro Immobile (€10.2 m, Italy vs England): Well, besides Kane there is basically no other choice except for the underperforming Lazio top goal scorer unless you plan to play with only one striker. Immobile returned a total of 16 points in MD-1 and MD-2. He was rested in MD-3 and has since returned a total of six points in MD-4 through MD-6, disappointing fantasy managers.


The Final Verdict

How you pick your starting-11 is heavily dependent on which team you think will win. Therefore, the suggested ratio of winning team players to losing team players is 7:4. Here is how my team could look based on each guess:

~

If Italy favored:

~

If England is favored:

Another option would be to switch one of the English defenders with Bukayo Saka to maintain the 3-5-2 formation.

~

Needless to say, personal gut feeling is also an indicator when deciding which players make up your squad in a given round. Lineups will be confirmed before our deadline, so you can minimize rotation risk by postponing your save (but set an alarm so you don’t forget!). You could also seize random opportunity, as some players like Matteo Pessina, Phil Foden or Jack Grealish may be given an unexpected start.

~

NMA team of authors will be publishing an article tomorrow discussing the captain choices. Chiesa is the captain in the above snapshots only because he was my captain in the semifinals. Visit us tomorrow for all the details!

~

So how did the price changes affect your team? Who’s on your shopping list? Did you add any from my picks above? And did I miss a sitter, so to speak? Where do you see maximum reward? Where do you see risk? Please share your thoughts and feel free to ask questions in the comments!

~