EURO 2020 Fantasy Football: Differential picks for semi-finals
Sunday, July 4, 2021
With only four teams still involved, UEFA.com digs deep to find out if there are still any players whose contributions have not been widely acknowledged.
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The EURO 2020 semi-finals are set in stone, but although the pool of Fantasy players is dwindling, there are still differentials to be had. UEFA.com assesses some of the options ahead of Matchday 6.
The fact that Kasper Schmeichel (€5.1m), at 15%, is currently the third most owned of the four keepers expected to start in the semi-finals makes him very much a differential option. The Denmark No1 may not have kept a clean sheet in the quarter-finals, but four saves still gave him three points.
The Danes next face England at Wembley, a venue which holds fond memories after their 1-0 away win there last October in the UEFA Nations League. Schmeichel kept a clean sheet that night and although he is expected to be a busy man against an in-form Harry Kane, he represents an enticing alternative route for those managers looking for a differential between the posts.
With an ownership of 8%, Spain's Unai Simón (€5.3m) is seen by the majority of Fantasy managers as the least appealing option for the semi-finals, but that may not be doing the Spanish custodian justice.
Simón has two clean sheets to his name at EURO 2020, one more than Schmeichel, along with four more Fantasy points than the Dane. He has also managed five saves over the course of the last two matchdays, so even if he does not keep a clean sheet against Italy, Simón has the capability to pick up more save points.
The limited ownership of Harry Maguire (€5.6m) will have been delighted with the centre-back's performance in England's 4-0 triumph against Ukraine. Not only did Maguire, who currently sits in 11% of teams, record a clean sheet, he also got on the scoresheet – once more demonstrating his threat in the opposition penalty area by heading in a free-kick.
Since recovering from an injury sustained ahead of the tournament, Maguire has started each of England's last three matches, accumulating 23 Fantasy points in the process. But despite his popularity being understandably on the rise, right now he is the least owned of the England defenders expected to start the semi-finals.
Following a tournament-ending injury to Leonardo Spinazzola during Italy's 2-1 quarter-final win against Belgium, Emerson (€5.5m) was given a rare opportunity off the bench. It now looks likely that the reserve left-back will be given his second start of the competition against Spain. Emerson's only previous start at EURO 2020 came on Matchday 3, when he recorded six points as part of a defence that kept a clean sheet in a 1-0 victory against Wales.
Mancini utilised Spinazzola very much as an attacking full-back and Emerson should be afforded the same luxury, making him a highly exciting asset – especially considering he is owned by less than 1% of Fantasy managers.
However, Emerson is not the only Italian defensive asset with an exceedingly low ownership who is set to play a key role for the Azzurri. Captain Giorgio Chiellini (€6.0m) returned to the starting line-up against Belgium after missing Italy's last two fixtures due to injury. The veteran centre-back was as solid as ever and was slightly unlucky not to come away with a clean sheet.
A similar performance in the semi-finals would give himself and Italy a great chance of a fourth shut-out of the competition. With a current ownership of just 5%, those managers looking to make up ground should be turning their attentions towards him.
An injury to Pablo Sarabia led to his half-time substitution in Spain's quarter-final defeat of Switzerland. He was replaced by Dani Olmo (€7.2m), who is likely to step in from the start against Italy should Sarabia fail to recover.
Olmo's previous starting appearance came in the round of 16, when he provided two assists in a 5-3 victory against Croatia, and a repeat performance would prove very lucrative for managers looking to bring Olmo into their squads. Being able to know Spain's starting line-up before the Matchday 6 deadline should come in very handy here, enabling managers to make a late call on Olmo.
After impressing from the bench in the last 16 and scoring Italy's opening goal against Austria, midfielder Federico Chiesa (€7.2m) was rewarded with his second start of the tournament in the quarter-finals.
Though the winger failed to register an attacking return against Belgium, he was a constant threat on the right of the Azzurri's front three, with his direct style of play and ability with both feet posing the Belgian defence plenty of problems. It would be no surprise if Roberto Mancini keeps faith with the 23-year-old, which would make Chiesa a tempting Matchday 6 midfield option indeed.
While many Fantasy managers continue to bring in England's Raheem Sterling, another midfielder could be set to steal the show from an attacking perspective on Matchday 6. Mason Mount (€7.1m) returned to the starting line-up in their victory against Ukraine, having not featured in England's previous two fixtures.
Most intriguingly from a Fantasy point of view, it was Mount who took command of a number of set pieces and it was his corner that was headed in by Jordan Henderson for England's fourth goal. The Chelsea man is expected to retain his place for the semi-final against Denmark, and Mount boasts the creative capabilities to improve on his six-point score against Ukraine.
As the tournament reaches the semi-finals and only four countries remain, the pool of starting forwards continues to shrink rapidly. However, there are still a couple of gems to be unearthed. One is Kasper Dolberg (€7.2m), who marked his second successive start for Denmark with his third goal of the competition as Kasper Hjulmand's men edged past a resilient Czech Republic.
Dolberg has now scored 16 points across the last two matchdays and Denmark will be hoping that he can play a crucial role in breaching what has been a watertight England defence up to now. At his current price, Dolberg has to be considered excellent value despite the tough opposition.
Another cheap forward worth monitoring is Spain's Gerard Moreno (€6.9m) who, like Dolberg, is currently in 8% of Fantasy teams. Once again, knowing the Spanish starting line-up will be most helpful, especially given Moreno has not started either of Spain's last two games.
However, he served up two assists over the course of his last three appearances, both in matches he started. The 29-year-old is certain to provide a large attacking threat, even if his role is that of an impact substitute. And with such a low price, he could well turn out to be the ideal budget enabler that allows Fantasy managers to invest precious funds elsewhere.