EURO 2020 Fantasy Football Matchday 1 – Differential Picks
Tuesday, 8 June 2021
Ahead of the first round of EURO 2020 group games, UEFA.com rounds up the potentially potent picks currently going under the radar of most Fantasy managers.
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Ahead of Matchday 1, UEFA.com looks at those picks currently going under the radar of most EURO 2020 fantasy football managers that could spring a surprise on Matchday 1.
Despite being first-choice keeper for 2018 FIFA World Cup winners France, Hugo Lloris (€6.0m) is currently owned by just 8% of Fantasy managers. France do face a tough Matchday 1 assignment against three-time European champions Germany in Munich, but their defence is not to be underestimated having conceded just six goals over the course of their ten qualification matches. Didier Deschamps' side head into EURO 2020 having kept clean sheets in their last two competitive matches, Lloris starting both fixtures.
Another country having conceded just six goals through qualifying is England, who kept five clean sheets across their eight games. More recently, the Three Lions have recorded shut-outs in three of their last four competitive fixtures as manager Gareth Southgate looks to tighten up his team defensively ahead of EURO 2020. Whilst Southgate has looked to give a number of English goalkeepers playing time, Jordan Pickford (€5.5m) remains his first choice and is expected to don the gloves on Matchday 1. With an ownership of just 4%, the 27-year-old could prove a highly valuable differential pick.
Switzerland enter this summer's tournament off the back of victories in each of their last two competitive games and know that in order to qualify out of Group A, they will need to be at their best from a defensive perspective. Veteran goalkeeper Yann Sommer (€5.0m) will provide a calming influence between the sticks and with the Swiss up against a Wales side on Matchday 1 who failed to find the net in both of their pre-tournament friendlies, Sommer could turn out to be a bargain.
Other differential choices: Wojciech Szczęsny (€5.0m), Uğurcan Çakır (€4.5m)
Having accumulated clean sheets in their last five competitive fixtures, and shipped just four goals over the course of their ten qualification games, including an Italy defender in your Fantasy side looks essential. Expected to start for the Azzurri at centre-back is Leonardo Bonucci (€5.5m), who may well turn out to be excellent value should Italy carry their impressive defensive form into Matchday 1 against Turkey and with a current ownership of just 6%, owning the veteran could give Fantasy managers the jump on their rivals.
Another defence worth exploring on Matchday 1 is that of Belgium, who racked up seven clean sheets across qualifying and conceded only three goals. Roberto Martinez could well field a back three on Matchday 1 as his side take on Russia and centre-back Toby Alderweireld (€5.5m) represents a safe route into the Belgian defence. The 32-year-old is not the cheapest asset and this is reflected by just 4% of managers having brought him into their Fantasy team, but that increases his differential appeal.
Whilst full-back is his primary position at club level, Oleksandr Zinchenko (€5.5m) has been deployed primarily as a midfielder for his national side. This has seen considerably increased his attacking potential, which should interest many Fantasy managers ahead of Ukraine’s Matchday 1 trip to the Netherlands. Zinchenko has scored six goals for his country and converted from the penalty spot in Ukraine's final warm-up friendly.
Other differential choices: Kyle Walker (€5.5m), Vladimír Coufal (€5.0m)
Whilst Roberto Mancini has experimented with different formations over the course of his time in charge of Italy, he looks to have settled on a 4-3-3 heading into EURO having used this formation in both warm-up friendlies. Setting up with a three-pronged attack will likely mean Lorenzo Insigne (€8.0m) starting on the left of the front line. Insigne recorded both a goal and an assist in Italy's 4-0 victory over Czech Republic in their final friendly leading up to Matchday 1 and is coming off the back of an excellent season for Napoli in which he hit 19 goals in Serie A. Currently owned by just 7% of managers, Insigne has flown very much under the radar and looks an enticing Matchday 1 option, especially given he is registered as a midfielder.
Georginio Wijnaldum (€8.0m) is often to be found in advanced positions for the Netherlands and his recent goalscoring record for his country is impressive. Four goals and an assist in his last five competitive fixtures suggests that he could find himself in amongst the Fantasy points on Matchday 1, rewarding the 6% of Fantasy managers who have so far brought Wijnaldum into their team.
One footballing superstar who has almost gone unnoticed so far is Belgium captain Eden Hazard (€10.0m), largely due to his premium price tag and fitness problems over the past couple of seasons. Whilst it is important to wait for updates on Hazard's fitness leading up to the Matchday 1 deadline before bringing him into your squad, should he start then the 30-year-old represents a route into a Belgium attack that scored 40 goals over the course of qualification – more than any other nation. With a current ownership of just 4%, the Belgian could prove the most explosive of differentials.
Other differential choices: Gareth Bale (€9.5m), İlkay Gündoğan (€7.5m)
Carrying many a Finnish fan's hopes on his shoulders, striker Teemu Pukki (€7.0m) has established himself as one of the premier goal threats heading into EURO 2020. The Finland forward struck ten goals for his country in qualifying and is coming off the back of an excellent season for club side Norwich, in which he found the net 26 times. Pukki is the centrepiece of a Finland attack determined to make an impact in their Matchday 1 fixture against Denmark and if they are to find the net, the likelihood is that Pukki will be the scorer. For a player with his goalscoring record, a current 5% ownership looks far too small.
Marko Arnautović (€7.0m) features in just 2% of Fantasy squads at present but the experienced frontman looks a good prospective source of attacking returns for Austria. The former West Ham striker has notched 26 goals for his country and found the net six times during qualifying so he is certainly not to be underestimated. With many Fantasy managers flocking to the premium choices, taking a risk on this outside-the-box choice could be profitable.
Given the form shown by Artem Dzyuba (€8.5m) towards the end of the season, it has to be seen as a surprise that only 1% of Fantasy managers have included the Russian in their squad ahead of Matchday 1. However, a difficult fixture against Belgium combined with a fairly weighty price tag has led to man looking elsewhere in a bid to fill their quota of forwards. However, the Zenit striker enters EURO as one of the most in-form players in the tournament having scored seven goals in his last three matches for the Russian champions. If Dzyuba can carry that club form into his national side on Matchday 1, then €8.5m will turn out to be a bargain.
Other differential choices: Ciro Immobile (€10.0m), Thomas Müller (€9.0m)