EURO 2020 Fantasy Football: Popular picks for quarter-finals
Wednesday, June 30, 2021
With only eight teams remaining, UEFA.com rounds up the players who are proving most popular with Fantasy managers.
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As we head into Matchday 5 and the quarter-final stage at UEFA EURO 2020, UEFA.com runs the rule over a number of players who are currently proving popular assets among Fantasy managers.
After securing his fourth straight clean sheet against Germany on Matchday 4, Jordan Pickford (€5.7m) is unsurprisingly attracting widespread interest. The England goalkeeper is the third-most popular in his position still left in the competition and it would be no surprise if his ownership climbed even higher than its current 17%. Three saves in England's 2-0 victory over Die Mannschaft boosted Pickford's score to seven Fantasy points and his overall tally now stands at 25 points – the highest of any keeper still in the tournament.
Belgium's Thibaut Courtois (€6.2m) also racked up seven Fantasy points on Matchday 4 with a fine individual performance in his side's 1-0 elimination of holders Portugal. Courtois recorded five saves as the Red Devils set up a quarter-final against Italy. It would be fairly logical if the Belgium goalkeeper was busy once again, but that might enhance rather than reduce his EURO Fantasy credentials. Courtois has conceded just one goal at the championship so far, with three clean sheets and 22 Fantasy points to his name, and features in 23% of teams.
Owners of Gianluigi Donnarumma (€5.7m) suffered rare disappointment on Matchday 4 as the Italian goalkeeper was beaten for the first time at UEFA EURO 2020, but at 46% ownership he remains a hugely popular asset heading into the Azzurri's quarter-final. With injury doubts over two of Belgium's key attacking players in Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard, Italy and Donnarumma will be quietly confident of another clean sheet in their bid to reach the semi-finals.
Despite failing to keep a clean sheet, Italy's Leonardo Spinazzola (€5.6m) still managed to accrue a respectable Fantasy score, gaining five points after registering his second assist of the competition. The 28-year-old's attacking output, combined with the Azzurri's defensive steel, makes him the highest-owned defender remaining in the competition at 36%. As is the case with owners of Donnarumma, those with Spinazzola within their ranks will be hopeful of an Italian shut-out on Matchday 5 and, when taking into account the wing-back's additional attacking potential, his popularity is unlikely to drop any time soon.
Whilst Spinazzola is the highest-owned defender, he is not the highest points scorer. That is Belgium's Thomas Meunier (€5.7m), who also picked up his second assist of EURO 2020 on Matchday 4. That assist, allied to a clean sheet in the 1-0 win over Portugal, gave Meunier nine Fantasy points and the wing-back now has a sizeable 27 points overall and figures in 27% of teams heading into Matchday 5. Roberto Martínez's side showed their defensive capabilities against elite opponents in Portugal and will attempt to do so again in the quarter-finals against Italy.
From a consistency point of view, Fantasy managers should look no further than England defender John Stones (€5.7m). Four matchdays have brought the centre-back four successive six-point scores, regularly rewarding his loyal ownership – 23% and climbing – with a healthy return. While attacking contributions have eluded him so far, Stones does provide a threat from set pieces and, with that in mind, it would not be a surprise if a larger haul lies ahead. England's quarter-final with Ukraine may be the game for it and Stones' rapidly rising ownership will certainly hope so.
Another popular defensive pick is Aymeric Laporte (€6.2m), who has been selected by 22% of Fantasy managers. The centre-back has started all four of Spain's EURO 2020 fixtures so far, notching two clean sheets and a goal. His 12-point harvest on Matchday 3 justifies that large interest among Fantasy managers, who will hope to see Laporte back on the points trail as Spain take on Switzerland in the quarters.
Whilst he is currently the second-highest-owned midfielder at 23%, there is a serious injury concern over Belgium talisman Kevin De Bruyne (€10.7m) after the Red Devils playmaker was forced off early in the second half against Portugal. Many Fantasy managers will have a decision to make over whether to transfer him out ahead of the deadline. Should De Bruyne be passed fit to face Italy, his credentials speak for themselves with a goal and two assists already at the tournament despite limited game time. Be sure to listen out for team news leading up to Friday's deadline for updates on his fitness.
There are no such injury worries for the most popular midfielder, 25%-owned Raheem Sterling (€9.7m), who maintained his scoring form for England in the last 16 with his third goal of EURO 2020, bringing home eight Fantasy points in the process. It was also the attacking midfielder's third eight-point score of these finals and managers will now be finding a way to draft the already popular Sterling into their squads. England's quarter-final opponents Ukraine have failed to register a clean sheet at EURO 2020, so an in-form Sterling must therefore be considered one of the most enticing options available for the quarter-finals.
Italian midfielders have been a decent source of points throughout the competition and two in particular command a significantly high ownership going into the last-eight stage. Both Lorenzo Insigne (€8.6m) and Manuel Locatelli (€5.9m) are presently among the top five most owned EURO Fantasy midfield players at 21% and 20% respectively. Despite this, however, each selection comes with its own individual risk. Insigne has failed to register an attacking return since Matchday 1 whilst central midfielder Locatelli started the round of 16 extra-time win against Austria on the bench. There are advantages with both though, with Insigne unlucky not to score against Austria, and Locatelli representing a reasonably cheap midfield enabler.
With De Bruyne and Eden Hazard both injury concerns, the onus could fall heavily on Romelu Lukaku (€11.3m) to provide Belgium with the attacking spark they will require if they are to advance to the semi-finals. Despite his failing to net against Portugal in the last 16, loyalty to Lukaku has not wavered as he still features in well over 50% of squads. Whilst Italy are likely to pose his toughest challenge yet, Lukaku is a player capable of scoring against any opposition and with the potential for penalties to add to his quarter-final duties, his Fantasy appeal remains strong.
In the rival camp, Italy's Ciro Immobile (€10.2m) has just two fewer Fantasy points than Lukaku despite appearing in one less matchday than the Belgian star. Immobile remains the focal point for a side who have racked up nine goals to date at UEFA EURO 2020, and he will be desperate to get on the scoresheet for the first time since Matchday 2.
After three blanks in front of goal, England captain Harry Kane (€11.5m) claimed his first EURO finals goal with the clincher in the 2-0 win over Germany at Wembley last time out. With such an expensive price tag, plenty was expected of the 2018 FIFA World Cup top scorer at EURO 2020 and despite his lack of attacking returns, at 25% Kane remains comfortably among the top three highest-owned Fantasy forwards. A player with a habit of scoring in bursts, having ended his drought the 27-year-old's stock is set to soar further for the quarter-finals.