EURO 2020 Fantasy Matchday 1: Popular Picks
Wednesday, 9 June 2021
While a host of big names are proving highly sought after, plenty of other players have also been drawing the attention of Fantasy managers for the opening matches.
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Ahead of Matchday 1, UEFA.com looks at some highly sought-after picks that have already proven extremely popular within EURO 2020 Fantasy Football circles.
Belgium's defensive record in qualifying means it is no surprise that goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois (€6.0m) is proving such a popular asset ahead of Matchday 1. The Red Devils conceded just three goals over the course of ten qualification matches and such stability may well lead to another clean sheet against Russia in the first Group B fixture. Courtois featured in nine of those ten games, conceding just twice, and the Belgium first choice stopper has unsurprisingly courted much attention, currently sitting in 27% of fantasy squads.
Just behind Courtois with a 26% ownership is Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma (€5.5m). Roberto Mancini's side are an extremely solid defensive unit, having kept clean sheets in their last five competitive matches. Given the Azzurri conceded only four goals across their ten qualification matches, it's easy to see why Donnarumma is in demand.
Those Fantasy managers looking for a cheap budget enabler as a second-choice goalkeeper have jumped on board Finland stopper Lukas Hradecky (€4.0m). The 31-year-old registered six clean sheets in qualifying and despite his low price, is expected to start against Denmark on Matchday 1. This has led to him becoming the highest owned goalkeeper at present, with an ownership of 35%.
Other popular choices: Kasper Schmeichel (20%), Manuel Neuer (12%)
Many Fantasy managers will be expecting Portugal to record a clean sheet against Hungary on Matchday 1, which has led to Rúben Dias (€6.0m) being brought into 41% of teams at present. Dias has enjoyed an excellent season for Manchester City, accumulating 23 clean sheets across the Premier League and UEFA Champions League. The centre-back will play a huge role in Portugal's bid to defend their European crown and has proven a highly popular Fantasy asset.
With Netherlands captain Virgil van Dijk unable to feature at EURO due to injury, the onus will fall on 21-year-old Matthijs de Ligt (€5.5m) to lead the Dutch defence throughout the competition. Frank de Boer's men are coming off the back of successive shut-outs in their World Cup qualification campaign earlier this year and Fantasy managers will be confident that De Ligt can provide them with those all-important clean sheet points on Matchday 1 against Ukraine.
However, it's worth nothing that the centre-back missed the Netherlands' final warm-up friendly against Georgia after limping out of training with a groin injury. With a current ownership of 38%, it would be wise to wait for more information on De Ligt's injury status before making a decision on whether to include him in your side.
Two other defenders boast an ownership of over 20% at present. One is Dias's team-mate at Manchester City and Portugal, full-back João Cancelo (€6.0m), who also represents an attacking threat to go with his clean-sheet potential so opening up further avenues of points. The other is Simon Kjær (€4.5m), who at such a cheap price represents excellent value as part of a Denmark defence that heads into Matchday 1 having kept clean sheets in their last three competitive fixtures.
Other popular choices: Pau Torres (22%), Luke Shaw (16%)
Currently the joint second most popular asset among Fantasy managers with a 41% ownership, just behind N'Golo Kanté (€5.5m) of France, Hungary's Loïc Négo (€4.0m) has been latched onto in bulk as a cheap budget enabler in midfield. However, Négo is more than just a bench warmer, with the 30-year-old not only finding the net in Hungary's play-off final qualification win over Iceland to make it to EURO 2020, but also scoring in their most recent competitive match back in March.
Injury doubts over Belgium midfielder Kevin De Bruyne (€10.5m) have led to his ownership dwindling slightly leading up to Matchday 1, the City stalwart having at one point been the highest-owned asset in all four positions. National coach Roberto Martínez has stated his confidence that De Bruyne will be fit for the start of the tournament and, providing the influential playmaker is available, he looks virtually impossible to ignore. The beating heart of Belgium's attacking style of play, De Bruyne accrued four goals and six assists in his six qualification appearances.
In contrast, England's Mason Mount (€7.0m) has seen his ownership steadily rise and the newly crowned UEFA Champions League winner is now in 31% of teams leading into Matchday 1. Mount is coming off the back of an excellent season at club side Chelsea and has found the net in three of his last seven competitive appearances for England. The Three Lions get their EURO campaign under way against Croatia at Wembley and his relatively low price means Mount looks an enticing prospect considering that he is likely to be afforded licence to roam forward.
Other popular choices: Joshua Kimmich (24%), Federico Chiesa (21%), Bruno Fernandes (18%)
With 12 goals over the course of qualifying for England, it is no surprise that 2018 FIFA World Cup top scorer Harry Kane (€11.5m) is currently the most popular forward among Fantasy managers. The Tottenham striker racked up 23 goals and 14 assists for his club in this season's Premier League, winning him both the golden boot and the playmaker award. Kane also has previous for England against Matchday 1 opponents Croatia, having scored a late winner against Zlatko Dalić's side the last time the two met at Wembley in the UEFA Nations League back in November 2018.
Romelu Lukaku (€11.0m) trails Kane in ownership by just 1% and, like the England striker, big things are expected of the Belgium forward on Matchday 1. Lukaku has scored 60 goals in 93 appearances for his country and is the focal point of an attack that found the net 40 times over the course of ten qualification fixtures.
Despite a tough Matchday 1 fixture against three-time European champions Germany, it would be no surprise if Kylian Mbappé (€12.0m) makes his mark in front of goal for France. The 22-year-old is the third most popular forward and it's easy to see why, with the Frenchman having racked up 42 goals in all competitions for club side Paris this past campaign. If the reigning world champions are to get off to a good start on Matchday 1, Mbappé will surely play a crucial role from an attacking point of view.
Other popular choices: Cristiano Ronaldo (27%), Memphis Depay (19%), Robert Lewandowski (16%)