Giorgos Karagounis grabs the only goal of the game as Greece clinch victory against Russia to send the Group A favourites home. Petr Jiracek breaks the Polish resistance to scupper the tournament co-hosts’ dreams and end a disappointing campaign that harvested a mere two points for Franciszek Smuda’s side. For Fantasy managers, the fire sale is now on as we wield knockout stage wildcards and transfer out our assets from Russia and Poland respectively:
Russia 0 Greece 1
Dick Advocaat made just one change to the Russia first-team, with Denis Glushakov replacing Konstantinov Zyryanov in the midfield three. The Russia boss lost patience with the misfiring Aleksandr Kerzhakov – the forward had three shots (all off target) and was replaced by Roman Pavlyuchenko at half-time. Pavel Pogrebnyak and Marat Izmailov were both thrown on late in the second half as Advocaat’s side pushed for the draw that would take them through to the last eight but, despite a total of 31 attempts, they managed just two on target as Greece stood firm to send the Group A favourites home.
From a Fantasy perspective, it’s significant news. With the knockout wildcards now up and running, it’s time to rapidly ditch our Russian assets. Midfielders Alan Dzagoev and Roman Shirokov looks particularly susceptible to price drops – they rose 0.4 and 0.2 respectively since the beginning of the tournament. At the back, Yuri Zhirkov was a popular choice, while Aleksandr Kerzhakov’s 8.0 McDonald’s price tag frees up plenty cash for Fantasy managers – their owners will be scouting for alternatives in light of last night’s shock exit.
Fernando Santos made plenty alterations to his side for the Russia showdown. Micahlis Sifakis took over from Konstantinos Chalkias in goal after the latter picked up a thigh problem in the previous game against Czech Republic. Giorgos Tzavellas came in for Jose Holebas at left-back, while Konstantinos Katsouranis returned to midfield, with Konstantinos Papastathopoulos back in at centre-half after a one-match suspension. Up front, Theofanis Gekas was handed a starting role after scoring against the Czechs – Kostas Fortounis dropped to the bench. Giorgos Karagounis was the Greek hero; he provided three goalscoring opportunities and grabbed the game’s only goal to ensure his side’s progress but is now suspended for the quarter finals after receiving a somewhat debatable yellow card.
Greece’s unexpected progress certainly affords Fantasy managers the chance to grab themselves a couple of squad fillers and possibly capitalise on price rises before the quarter finals kick off. Giannis Maniatis comes in at 4.0 and is classified as a defender, though plays in midfield – he has played every minute of the tournament thus far and is nailed-on. Kyriakos Papadopoulos costs just 4.5 at the back and looks a certainty to continue at centre-half in light of Avraam Papadopoulos’ knee ligament injury. Sifakis is also 4.5 and seems set to maintain his role as number one, 5.0 priced Giorgos Samaras in the only attacker to start every game, while Konstantinos Fortounis – a 4.0 priced midfielder – started the previous fixture in the front three, though is by no means guaranteed game time.
Poland 0 Czech Republic 1
Franciszek Smuda kept faith in the same starting XI that drew with Russia in the previous game. Wojciech Szczesny warmed the bench, despite being available after serving a one-match suspension, with Przemyslaw Tyton keeping his place between the posts. Robert Lewandowski and Jakub Blaszczykowski went into last night’s match with plenty of Fantasy managers pinning their hopes on decent returns; they were second and fifth in the Matchday Three, Day One Captain Poll but, despite managing a couple of shots apiece, failed to produce the goods as their side limped out of the tournament. Both were heavily owned and will now be subject to significant sales as we freshen up our squads.
The Czech Republic made just one change for last night’s match. Tomas Rosicky failed to recover from an Achilles injury sustained in the previous match, allowing Daniel Kolar a chance to start in the hole behind Milan Baros. Petr Jiracek found the net for the second game in succession to clinch victory for Michael Bilek’s side – since moving from a role in the double pivot to wide right against Greece he has proven to be a strong source of Fantasy points and has flown under the radar, with a mere 1.2% ownership. Jaroslav Pilar failed to pick up the points but was his side’s main creator once again, providing five goalscoring opportunities for his team mates, while three of the back-four earned an extra point due to the recovered balls rule, with only Tomas Sivok missing out.
Similar to Greece, the Czech Republic also afford Fantasy managers plenty of mid-price options to capitalise on. Right-back Theodore Gebre Selassie sits on 14 points and looks a bargain at 4.6 in the McDonald’s game, as does fellow full-back David Limbersky. Handed a start against Greece in a defensive reshuffle that has seen Michal Kadlec shift to centre-half, Limbersky is just 4.0 and his energy on the flank and forward forays look crucial to his team’s cause. Jiracek’s back-to-back goals has helped him to 17 points thus far, making a mockery of his 5.5 price tag, while Vaclav Pilar costs even less in midfield at 5.2 – he has also notched twice for the Group A winners.
Team of the Season 2012/13
- van Persie
Next Six Ticker
|No Change||Hart||MCI||B, Vs|
|Up||Robles||WIG||C, Vs, £|
|No Change||Lloris||TOT||C, Vs|
|No Change||Foster||WBA||C, Vs|
|No Change||Vorm||SWA||C, Vs|
|No Change||Mignolet||SUN||B, Vs|
|No Change||De Gea||MUN||A|
|Up||Boruc||SOT||B, Vs, £|
|No Change||Kompany||MCI||B, Vs, Rest|
|No Change||Vertonghen||TOT||A, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Luiz||CHE||A, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Boyce||WIG||C, Vs, OoP|
|No Change||Cuéllar||SUN||B, Vs, £|
|No Change||Rangel||SWA||C, Vs|
|Up||Clyne||SOT||B, Vs, £|
|No Change||Mata||CHE||C, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Hazard||CHE||B, Vs, Rest, Inj|
|Up||Maloney||WIG||B, Vs, £|
|No Change||Y Touré||MCI||B, Vs|
|No Change||Silva||MCI||B, Vs, Inj|
|Up||Tevez||MCI||A, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Koné||WIG||B, Vs, £|
|Down||van Persie||MUN||A, Vs|
|Up||Lukaku||WBA||B, Vs, Rest|
|Down||Aguero||MCI||B, Vs, Inj|
|Up||Rodriguez||SOT||A, Vs, £|
|Up||Defoe||TOT||B, Vs, Rest|
|Up||Ba||CHE||C, Vs, Rest|
|A, B, C||Current Form|
|Inj||Injured/Returning from Injury|
|OoP||Out of Position|
“We have dynamic players with good movement, so if he can link with them fine. He can play a bit higher because his timing getting into the box is very good.”Rafa Benitez talks up the role that Frank Lampard can play in his Chelsea revolution