The Scout Picks have returned in time for the first day of EURO 2020 Fantasy, as Turkey and Italy kick-off the tournament on Friday evening.
Our editorial team has deliberated over all 24 teams in the build-up to the opening match, and have together chosen a squad of 15 players to get the most out of Matchday 1.
We have used up our entire €100.0m budget and have made sure we have a healthy selection of captaincy options across the first round.
Ugurkan Çakir (€4.5m) is now the nailed-on goalkeeper in a Turkey side that impressed defensively during qualification.
Their total of three goals conceded was the joint-lowest across the continent while nobody outperformed them in terms of clean sheets as they recorded eight from a possible 10.
With manager Senol Gunes experimenting of late, Turkey’s defence has relapsed somewhat but they have retained a penchant for frustrating big sides. France and the Netherlands are two of their recent scalps and it does not get too much bigger than facing Italy as a host nation in the opening match of EURO 2020.
Lukas Hradecky (€4.0m) is a key budget enabler for this squad, as a nailed-on starting €4.0m goalkeeper. While we think Denmark could do well against Finland, Hradecky has produced 3.1 saves per international match over the last two years.
There is a great selection of budget defenders playing at the start of Matchday 1, starting with Denmark’s Simon Kjær (€4.5m).
On Saturday, he faces a Finland side that failed to find the net in two of their three tournament warm-up games (against Sweden and Estonia) while Denmark have conceded just once in their last five internationals.
Later that day, Jason Denayer (€4.5m) offers the cheapest route into Belgium’s defence when they face Russia. The Red Devils conceded the joint-lowest number of qualification goals (three) and kept seven clean sheets, beating Russia home and away in the process.
Ezgjan Alioski (€4.5m) looks an exciting prospect to own, especially for Matchday 1 when North Macedonia play Austria in Bucharest on Sunday. Das Team have blanked in each of their last three internationals while Leeds defender Alioski is the penalty-taker for his country.
His colleague Stefan Ristovski (€4.0m) also looks an exciting option, who we can substitute in on Sunday if any of our Friday or Saturday players score poorly. Not only is a nailed-on route into North Macedonia’s defence, Ristovski is marauding right-back who has provided three assists and one goal since the conclusion of their EURO 2020 qualification campaign.
João Cancelo (€6.0m) completes our defensive selection and currently sits on the bench, waiting to come in for any failed assets by the time Portugal visit Hungary on the last day of Matchday 1. His side have kept clean sheets in three of their last five while Hungary are missing their key midfield creator and scored just once in their EURO 2020 warm-up matches (against Cyprus and the Republic of Ireland). Furthermore, Cancelo registered a goal and assist in Portugal’s last friendly.
Winger Domenico Berardi (€6.0m) scored in Italy’s last pre-tournament match, which means he has two goals in each of his last two starts for his country. Given his price, he is an easy inclusion in the squad so that we have a captain option for the opening day.
Christian Eriksen (€9.0m) is our chosen asset from Denmark’s attack as they take on an out-of-form Finland side on Saturday. The former Spurs man is the set-piece hub for his country and takes penalties too. In October and November of 2020 he netted four goals in as many games for Denmark.
Mason Mount (€7.0m) is perhaps the most nailed-on route into England’s attack outside of Harry Kane (€11.5m). The set-piece taker has four goals in his first 16 caps and has produced a goal and assist across his past three starts for the Three Lions.
Denis Zakaria (€5.0m) is our budget midfield punt, something of an upgrade on the €4.5m and €4.0m options available in this position. The midfielder has started two of the last three for Switzerland and netted twice in qualifying. He makes the starting XI on account of playing earlier in Matchday 1, when Switzerland face Wales. Should he blank, he makes an easy fall-guy for Ristovski or Cancelo to come in.
Diogo Jota (€8.5m) could also replace Zakaria in the event of a Matchday 1 blank considering he is facing Hungary on Tuesday.
Kane is an easy inclusion for Matchday 1 as he faces a Croatia side with just two clean sheets in their last 13 internationals; even those came against Cyprus and Malta. England’s number-one centre-forward scored more goals than any other player in EURO 2020 qualification, has 29 strikes in his last 42 international appearances (0.7 per match) and was joint-top among Premier League players for Fantasy assists in 2021/22.
Romelu Lukaku (€11.0m) is in equally impressive form. He was involved in 40 goals from 44 Inter Milan matches this season and averages the best part of two goals per every three outings he plays for Belgium having scored 59 times in 91 caps.
Memphis Depay (€10.0m) is on his way to becoming as much of a talisman for Netherlands as Kane and Lukaku are for England and Belgium respectively. The Lyon man produced 20 goals and 12 assists in 37 appearances this season and has six goals and two assists in his last five international outings. While there has been some concern about off-the-field narratives on this Netherlands squad, as well as Frank de Boer’s controversial new formation, Depay showed against Scotland that he can shrug all of that off, netting a brace.
- Friday: Domenico Berardi
- Saturday: Romelu Lukaku
- Sunday: Harry Kane
- Monday: None
- Tuesday: João Cancelo
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