We’ve previewed the tournament’s best fantasy assets – defenders, midfielders, and strikers – over the last week and a half. And this week, we’ve gone group by group and unearthed a few gems on a country by country basis, so let’s wrap up our Euro 2012 Fantasy preview with Group D.
Group D [France, England, Sweden, Ukraine]
France: Clear favorites to win this group, Laurent Blanc’s side have the perfect balance of youth and experience. At the back, Lille’s Debuchy could start at right back and he comes in priced at just 5.5M – cheaper than Evra (6M) and standout goalkeeper Lloris.
Cabaye (6.5M) and Diarra (5M, but more defensive) should earn central starting roles and run the show behind the likes of Malouda / Nasri / Ribery. That’s where the attacking intent comes in. While Ribery is the preferred fantasy selection at 9.5M, Malouda (8M) and Nasri (8.5M) are cheaper and should also earn starts – so fantasy managers have a trio of worthy potential investments. Up front, it’s a one man show: Benzema. He’s pricey at 9.5m, but just finished an excellent season at Real Madrid and will be a massive threat this tournament.
England: England and Sweden will, on paper, look to be battling for that second qualification spot, so let’s take a look at a few of Hodgson’s fantasy men. Lescott comes in priced at just 5.5M and is a guaranteed starter it seems with the injury troubles of Terry / Cahill. Ashley Cole is in great form but it’s tough to invest 6.5M in a left back facing France in his first fixture. In the midfield, Ashley Young has been the talk of the England setup at training. He’s in form, priced at 8.5M, and playing in an advanced ‘second striker’ role. Gerrard is the other 8.5M option – presumably on penalties and free kicks until Rooney returns.
One of Welbeck or Carroll should start against France but at 7.5M it may not be much of a bargain. My money is on Welbeck to be handed the start over Carroll, after his nicely taken goal against Belgium. A Lescott or Young investment shouldn’t be out of the question, but resist the urge to look much further than the aforementioned few.
Sweden: One word: Zlatan. Ibrahimovic is one of the best strikers in the world. Period. If Elmander is fit, he’s another moderately priced striker bargain at just 6.5m, but his status is not certain. Zlatan is priced at a reasonable 8m.
In the midfield, Larsson (6.5m), Kallstrom (6.5m) and Svensson (5.5m) should all earn starts though Svensson is a holding player and the former two are more attacking. The Genoa man Andreas Granqvist comes in priced at just 4m and could be a cheap defensive option if he is awarded a starting role.
Ukraine: The host nation don’t have much of a chance, especially not because they’ve been suffering from food poisoning after eating bad salad at a German hotel. Home field advantage has been replaced by gastrointestinal issues and there really aren’t too many bright spots here. Former Liverpool man Andriy Voronin is still bouncing around and priced at 6m while former AC Milan stud Andriy Shevchenko is part of the squad as well – priced at 7m. Yarmolenko is also priced at 7m, and the midfielder could offer a decent goal threat from the left side. Don’t expect much from this side fantasy wise, however.
There you have it. Good luck to all fantasy managers.