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 that are currently proving popular assets among Fantasy managers.
After securing his fourth successive 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 remaining in the competition and it would be no surprise if his ownership climbs 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 no surprise if the Belgium goalkeeper is busy once again, but that might enhance rather than reduce his EURO Fantasy credentials. Courtois has conceded just one goal in the tournament so far, with three clean sheets and 22 Fantasy points to his name, and is 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 clean sheet on Matchday 5 and when taking into account his additional attacking potential, his popularity does not look set to drop anytime soon.
Whilst Spinazzola is the highest owned defender, he is not the highest points scorer. That’s Belgium’s Thomas Meunier (€5.7m), who also picked up his second assist of EURO 2020 on Matchday 4. That assist, combined with a clean sheet in a 1-0 win over Portugal, gave Meunier nine Fantasy points and the right wing-back now has a sizeable 27 points overall and is in 27% of teams heading into Matchday 5. Roberto Martinez’s side showed their defensive capabilities against elite opponents in Portugal and will be looking 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 well 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, picking up two clean sheets and a goal. His 12-point haul on Matchday 3 justifies that large interest among Fantasy managers, who will be hoping to see Laporte back on the points trail as Spain take on Switzerland in the quarter-finals.
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 be left with 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 any news 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 round of 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 the tournament and managers will now be finding a way to bring the already popular Sterling into their squads. England’s quarter-final opponents Ukraine have failed to register a clean sheet at UEFA EURO 2020 and 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 heading in the quarter-final 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 their own individual risk. Insigne has failed to register an attacking return since Matchday 1 whilst central midfielder Locatelli started the extra-time win against Austria in the round of 16 on the bench. There are advantages to both though, with Insigne unlucky not to score against Austria while Locatelli represents a 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 failing to find the 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 represent 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.
On the opposite side, Italy’s Ciro Immobile (€10.2m) has just two fewer Fantasy points than Lukaku despite featuring in one less matchday than the Belgian star. Immobile remains the focal point for a side who have racked up nine goals so far at UEFA EURO 2020, and 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) registered his first EURO finals goal with the clincher in a 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 has lack of attacking returns, at 25% Kane remains comfortably among the top three highest owned Fantasy forwards. A player who has a habit of scoring in bursts, having ended his drought the 27-year-old’s stock is set to rise further for the quarter-finals.