EURO 2020 Fantasy Football: Popular picks for the semi-finals
Sunday, July 4, 2021
Fantasy managers have been focusing in on a small number of highly-owned assets ahead of the semi-finals.
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With Matchday 6 comes the semi-final stage of knockout matches at EURO 2020 and with just four countries remaining in the competition, UEFA.com examines a number of players that are proving highly sought after among Fantasy managers.
Following the elimination of Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku in the quarter-finals, goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma (€5.8m) now currently stands as the most popular asset remaining in the competition. The Italian stopper has kept three clean sheets over the course of EURO 2020 so far, conceding just two goals. With Italy once again likely to prioritise defensive stability in their semi-final with Spain, Donnarumma is expected to maintain his huge ownership.
Whilst Jordan Pickford (€5.8m) may not boast an ownership as high as Donnarumma's, the England star is the second-highest owned goalkeeper of those remaining in the tournament and for good reason. Pickford is yet to concede at EURO 2020, having recorded five straight shut-outs and made nine saves, racking up a total of 31 Fantasy points, nine more than Donnarumma. England's 4-0 quarter-final triumph against Ukraine means they return to Wembley for the last four brimming with confidence and Pickford's already high ownership will no doubt continue to soar ahead of the Three Lions' semi-final showdown with Denmark.
Centre-back John Stones (€5.8m) continued his incredible Fantasy consistency on Matchday 5, acquiring his fifth successive six-point score following yet another England clean sheet. With 30 Fantasy points to his name over the course of EURO 2020, Stones is not only the highest owned defender among the EURO Fantasy community at present, but has also gained the second most number of points in his position. England head into their semi-final on the back of seven successive clean sheets for the first time in their international history and, with that in mind, Stones remains as enticing a Fantasy prospect as ever.
The only defender left in the competition to have secured more points than Stones after five matchdays is his England team-mate Luke Shaw (€6.2m). The 25-year-old left-back put in an outstanding performance at both ends of the pitch against Ukraine, not just contributing towards an England shut-out but also registering two assists that helped him to a huge score of 12 points. Shaw now has three assists over the course of the tournament and, despite not featuring on Matchday 1, has racked up 33 points.
The two England defenders are set to face off against Denmark's Joakim Mæhle (€4.9m), who has been making waves among Fantasy managers for his considerable offensive threat. Deployed as a left wing-back by head coach Kasper Hjulmand, Mæhle has been a consistent attacking outlet, playing virtually as a left-winger with licence to roam forward. An assist in Denmark's 2-1 quarter-final win against the Czech Republic was Mæhle's third attacking return in his last three games, with 25 EURO Fantasy points accumulated over that period.
For the first time since Matchday 1, Italy's Lorenzo Insigne (€8.6m) managed to get on the scoresheet as the Azzurri edged past Belgium 2-1 in a thrilling quarter-final. A brilliant curling effort from outside the box reminded everyone why Insigne has continuously been so highly sought after among Fantasy managers. Italy have notched 11 goals across their five matches at EURO 2020 and take on Spain in the semi-finals. With Luis Enrique's side having conceded four goals in their last two games, Insigne's high ownership can be confident of at least one attacking return and a healthy amount of Fantasy points as a result.
Spain themselves boast a number of midfielders who have the potential to pick up attacking returns via goals and assists on Matchday 6. This is reflected by both Pablo Sarabia (€6.9m) and Ferran Torres (€8.2m) being among the top five highest-owned players in their position going into the semi-finals. Despite neither managing to achieve an attacking return last time out, each has shone going forward as the tournament has progressed with Sarabia bagging two goals and two assists over the course of Spain's last three matches, whilst Torres has supplied two goals and an assist over the same period. Both are continuing to court heavy interest but it would be wise to wait until Spain's starting line-up is revealed ahead of the Matchday 6 deadline before locking Sarabia into your team.
Unsurprisingly, Raheem Sterling (€9.8m) is comfortably the most popular midfield asset with an ownership of over 40% and although the England star failed to get on the scoresheet on Matchday 5, he did muster an assist. That swelled Sterling's overall attacking returns to four, following his three goals in the first four matches, and he has amassed nine more points than Sarabia, the next highest scoring midfielder.
England players have unsurprisingly featured prominently among the most popular Fantasy selections in all positions so far, and that is once again the case when we look at the forwards set to line up in the semi-finals. After Harry Kane (€11.6m) opened his EURO 2020 goalscoring account against Germany in the last 16, normal service has been resumed in front of goal. It took Kane less than four minutes to break the deadlock against Ukraine, his second goal in the second half giving him ten Fantasy points, and he was only denied a hat-trick by an outstanding save by Ukraine goalkeeper Georgiy Bushchan. With the England captain's ownership now beyond 40%, much is expected of him from a Fantasy perspective for the semis as he aims to add to the 16 points that he has harvested over the last two matchdays.
However, Kane is not the only attacker still involved who boasts an ownership over 40%. Italy's Ciro Immobile (€10.2m) may not have found the net for the Azzurri since Matchday 2, but Fantasy managers have continued to put their faith in the striker, who netted 25 goals in all competitions for Lazio in 2020/21. As the focal point of Roberto Mancini's attack, and against a Spanish defence who are yet to keep a clean sheet in the knockout phase of EURO 2020, this match could be ideal for Immobile to rediscover his scoring touch.