Nothing too surprising about the way Euro 2012 has played out, other than Holland’s early exit.
The remaining four nations have rich recent footballing history, and all but Portugal have won a World Cup or a Euro competition in the past. Portugal were runners-up of course in 2004 when they were beaten by Greece on home soil.
Spain vs Portugal: The battle of the Iberian peninsula should be a good one with Spain, the best team in Europe, the obvious favorites. From a fantasy footballing perspective, it’s the usual (expensive) suspects like Xavi and Iniesta, though our pre-tournament pick Jordi Alba has proven to be a star budget purchase, racking up 25 fantasy points – the most of any remaining defender in the McDonald’s Euro 2012 game. Pick Alba if you haven’t listened to us already, as he costs just 6.5M.
Up front it’s the classic Fabregas vs Torres debate. No one knows which one will start from the bench, which makes their selection a bit dangerous. Perhaps Fabregas will keep his place in the famed 4-6-0 lineup leaving Torres to make another substitute appearance. Torres did start two group games and does have two goals in the tournament, however…
Portugal, of course, rely on Ronaldo (11m). Not much more needs to be looked at than that. Meireles and Moutinho are affordable midfield selections who could burst forward but they won’t see much of the ball against Spain.
I think Spain wins this one 2-1, but Ronaldo does get a goal on the big stage. He’s in form.
Stick with your Spaniards.
Germany vs Italy: Germany are the big favorites here. A few more days of rest than Italy – who just completed 120 minutes last night (or into the early morning today in Ukraine). Italy are injured, and though they controlled the game for long spells against England, they lacked the cutting edge.
That said, Cassano and Balotelli are both affordable fantasy options in the 8m – 8.5m range and I am not one of those pundits who thinks Germany will walk over the Italians 3-1 or 4-2 as they did the Greeks. Yes, this is not Italy 2006 edition (vintage, brilliant, organized) but it is also NOT Italy 2010 edition (poor, slow, lacking attacking prowess). This Italy team is somewhere in between.
Balotelli and Cassano (and Di Natale, if he gets any minutes) will cause problems for Germany’s back four.
But will it be enough to counter-act the Gomez, Klose, Schweinsteiger, Ozil, and Khedira show up front? Perhaps.
I’ll go for a 1-1 or 2-2 draw with this one being decided in extra time or on penalties. Let’s take Germany on penalties.
Enjoy the week.