One of the challenges of selecting Cristiano Ronaldo and his $13,880 price tag is building around him since he essentially counts as two people with his salary. Yet in the final set of group matches at the Euro Championships, help in picking a DFS lineup for FanXT comes from an unlikely source: Italy.
The Azzurri have secured the top spot in Group E with wins from their first two matches, and coach Antonio Conte has the luxury of overturning almost his entire roster for their match against an Ireland team which needs a victory to have any hopes of advancing. Yet since Italy is Italy, there are solid players available for selection that also help cap flexibility.
The other match in Group E pits Belgium against Sweden. The Red Devils regrouped from being outclassed by Italy, easing past Ireland 3-0 and now needing only a draw to secure passage to the knockout round. The Swedes have been a disappointment thus far _ they’ve failed to register a shot on goal and Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been largely anonymous in what will be his last major tournament on the international level.
The scenarios are far different in Group F, where Hungary remains the unlikely leader with four points and is in good shape to advance even with a loss to Portugal. Ronaldo and company are desperate for a victory, more so because they’ve only scored one goal in those two matches and enter this contest behind Iceland due to goals scored.
And speaking of Strakarnir Okkar, they can still win the group with a victory over Austria and a little help. The Austrians, considered a chic darkhorse pick, have also yet to score in this competition but would have a very good chance to progress with a victory over Iceland.
These picks cover the matches for June 22, using a 4-4-2 formation and salary cap of $90,000 as part of Fan XT’s Daily Fantasy rules for the European Championships.
Goalkeeper: Hannes Por Halldorsson, Iceland ($7,030). Halldorsson is the pick for the second straight match with his cap-friendly salary and also the fact he’s yet to concede a goal in the two contests _ Iceland’s lone goal against came on a late own goal by Birkir Mar Saevarsson.
Defenders: Andrea Barzagli ($7,190) and Angelo Ogbonna ($7,560), Italy. Barzagli is expected to be one of the few holdovers from Conte’s original starting XI in Italy’s group finale against Ireland, while Ogbonna is expected to see his first action of the tournament. Barzagli will anchor this new-look 3-5-2, and his partner from West Ham both could earn bonus points for a clean sheet.
Christian Fuchs, Austria ($7,250) – The Leicester City back has done all he can to this point in Austria’s two matches with a team-high nine crosses, but no one’s been able to finish them heading into this must-win against Iceland. Fuchs is a value pick with a little risk given Austria must win and will be open to Iceland on the counter, but his quality means an assist may be n the offering.
Rapahael Guerriero, Portugal ($7,470). It’s a real simple attack plan for Portugal: Every one finds a way to get the ball forward to Ronaldo and Nani, and for the most part, the plan has worked. Ronaldo has 22 shots, and Portugal has placed 16 of its 50 shots on frame, but there is only one goal thus far. A victory over the Magyars will blow the group wide open, and Guerriero whipping crosses in opposite Ricardo Quaresma makes him a strong value pick here for offensive points.
Midfielders: Laszlo Kleinheisler, Hungary ($7,040). While it’s unknown how much of the ball Kleinheisler will see against a Portuguese side that will be pressing forward at all speeds, the Magyars have overachieved thus far and need the Werder Bremen star to deliver one more time to make sure they progress to the round of 16. Kleinheisler has a team-leading seven shots and is one of their corner kick delivery experts.
Gylfi Sigurdsson, Iceland ($7,690). Sigurdsson converted a penalty against Hungary, and it nearly was enough to put his team to the top of the group before the Magyars equalized late. This will be a different match for the Swansea City midfielder, whose team likely needs to beat Austria to make sure its first international tournament does not go three-and-out. But Sigurdsson has delivered two quality performances thus far, and his veteran leadership lends to another such effort.
Nani, Portugal ($8,000). The Fenerbahce winger is a value pick as a midfielder in this lineup given he’ll be leading the line with Ronaldo for Portugal against Hungary in a must-win match. Nani has his team’s only goal through two matches, and with an aggressive approach needed to avoid elimination, the ex-Manchester United star is a good bet to find scoring chances and perhaps add to his goal haul.
Vierinha, Portugal ($7,500) – While Guerriero will bomb forward from the left, Vierinha will do so from the right, sending crosses from all angles hoping either Ronaldo or Nani will latch onto them. The Wolfsburg wide back has already pumped in 19 through the first two matches, and there’s no reason to believe that pace will slow any time soon. Vierinha also has found goal-scoring chances for himself _ he’s put two of his three shots on frame.
Forwards: Romelu Lukaku, Belgium ($9,190). Though Belgium is well-poised to advance, there is still work to be done. The hedge here is that the Everton striker will deliver again _ though perhaps not a brace like he did against Ireland _ to make sure the Red Devils reach the round of 16 and earn a chance at redemption to live up to the lofty pre-tournament expectations placed on them.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal ($13,880). Twenty-two shots and nothing to show for it. His missed penalty that would’ve all but given Portugal a victory over Austria only added to the consternation, and the post-match selfie with a fan didn’t endear himself to many people. Ronaldo still hasn’t had THAT moment for Portugal, and it can be argued this match against Hungary may be one of the last opportunities he has for such a moment. He’s going to demand the ball, he’s going to get the ball, and this should be the match where he finally gets a goal.