EURO 2020 Fantasy Football: The Scout squad for the final
Friday, 9 July 2021
The Scout opts to focus all efforts – and the majority of funds – on 11 players who will start the final rather than the usual 15.
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One of the major advantages of EURO 2020 Fantasy Football is that managers pick a 15-man squad rather than simply a team; with games usually spread over two or more days, that creates the opportunity to make substitutions and change your captain to maximise returns.
The final is a different matter. While there are no second chances for Fantasy managers this time, the starting line-ups of Italy and England will be known before the Fantasy deadline, and there is no need to worry about squad depth, given only 11 players will be required.
The Scout's final squad of UEFA EURO 2020 therefore focuses heavily on those 11 players, with funds saved elsewhere as much as possible – and an even mixture of both finalists reflecting the fact that the match looks too close to call.
There is little to choose between usual No1s Jordan Pickford and Gianluigi Donnarumma (€5.8m). Although the England man has scored 33 Fantasy points to the Italian's 25, Donnarumma managed three in the semi-finals, one more than Pickford, and could well be the busier of the two goalkeepers in the final. He gets the nod for potential save points.
Following the policy of selecting a reserve priced as cheaply as possible to free up funds for the starting line-up, Sam Johnstone (€4.0m) edges out England team-mate Aaron Ramsdale, who is the same price, for the position as the second-choice keeper.
England's defence has been one of their biggest assets on their way to a first EURO final, recording five successive clean sheets before they conceded against Denmark in the semi-finals, the only goal they have shipped in 570 minutes at this tournament.
That rigour is reflected in their Fantasy showing. Luke Shaw (€6.3m) has added three assists to his defensive returns and is the top scorer among defenders left in the game with 35 points; his England colleague Harry Maguire (€5.7m) has picked up 24 points, a total boosted by the quarter-final goal that illustrated his attacking threat.
In the Italian ranks, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini are the rocks at the heart of defence, but the extra attacking capability of Emerson (€5.5m) – who was replaced before Italy conceded in the semi-final against Spain, thereby preserving his clean sheet – means he is selected instead.
The Scout's preferred final formation will be either 3-4-3 or 3-5-2 depending on the teams picked by the two coaches, but in either case two low-cost defenders are needed to complete the quota in the squad. Ben White (€4.0m) is the cheapest English option, with Rafael Tolói (€4.8m) fulfilling a similar role for Italy. Having collected 11 points to date, the latter could well be included in the team should there be any late changes to the Scout's approach.
In midfield, Raheem Sterling (€9.9m) is the standout option and the overall top scorer left in the game with 37 points. The semi-final against Denmark yielded Sterling's second-lowest points return of any match in the tournament, and even then he managed four thanks to winning a penalty. A key English attacking threat, he is impossible to ignore.
Bukayo Saka (€6.6m) is the other England midfielder to be picked for the squad, not only for his relatively low price but also as he is likely to be fielded on the right of an attacking front three. An assist in the semi-finals demonstrated his threat, and he could exploit the absence of Italy's first-choice left-back Leonardo Spinazzola.
As with Sterling, Lorenzo Insigne (€8.7m) is the obvious selection from Italy's midfield options; not only is he the second-highest scorer in the game in his position with 24 points, but, like Sterling and Saka, he will be pushed into an advanced role to increase his goal threat. The same applies to Federico Chiesa (€7.4m), who has scored in both of Italy's EURO 2020 games at Wembley so far.
It is unlikely the final will be entirely decided by the 22 players in the respective starting line-ups, and as a result Fantasy managers can gain an edge by selecting players they believe could make an impact off the bench. One such option is Italy's Domenico Berardi (€6.3m), who registered six points in each of his first two games. Although he has been unable to match those returns since, he is still likely to get some time to add to his Fantasy total in the final, with 17 Serie A goals for Sassuolo in 2020/21 ample evidence of his attacking threat.
With both Italy and England favouring a system featuring only one out-and-out striker, the selection for two of the three forward positions is clear-cut. Harry Kane (€11.7m) has run into form at the right time with four goals in his three knockout appearances, those 20 points catapulting him to fifth position in the overall Fantasy rankings; his Italian counterpart Ciro Immobile (€10.2m) is still the tenth-highest-scoring player still involved despite not finding the net since Matchday 2 and is the leading Italian option in his position.
The identity of the third striker is more debatable. With no other forward from Italy or England hitting double figures in terms of Fantasy points, the Scout has plumped for Italy's Andrea Belotti (€7.9m). He may have collected only six points over the course of EURO 2020, but none of the other players in his position bar Kane and Immobile have played more than once in the knockout rounds. Belotti, in contrast, has appeared in Italy's last four matches, suggesting he will at least be handed a chance to get off the mark at the tournament.