Having previously cast our eye over the talent to consider from the squad of Euro hopefuls Roy Hodgson has banded together, it’s time to see what kind of amuse-bouche England’s longstanding rivals from across the channel can offer Fantasy managers…
As mentioned in our last article we will witness France kick off their Group D campaign on Monday June 11 with a 5.00pm match against England. Saving on travel expenses, they will then play another tie in the Donbass Arena exactly four days later but this time against joint-hosts Ukraine at 5.00pm. A cross-country flight to the nation’s capital will see a game against Sweden on Tuesday June 19 at 7.45pm tidy up the group stages for France.
Group D is ripe for an upset or two. Any of the four sides are capable of either making it to the knockout stages or equally floundering at the first hurdle, leaving ample time for introspection from a nation’s press. France seem to have exorcised some of their past demons experienced under previous boss Raymond Domenech, Sweden have a team capable of threatening anyone on their day, England have enough to talent to pester the final eight and hope for more, while the Ukraine will be banking on the boost that tournament hosts often receive in this situation.
The Road To Qualification
Laurent Blanc’s outfit were handed what looked like one of the easiest groups to traverse but it still took them to the tenth and final fixture to secure qualification. With a home defeat against Belarus in their first match, things couldn’t have started any worse but four solid 2-0 victories on the bounce saw Blanc’s men quickly get themselves back on track. A draw away at Belarus (and then another in Romania a little later) made things a little more precarious for Les Bleus heading into the final furlong. In the end, it was a 78th minute penalty from Samir Nasri at home to Bosnia-Herzegovina in their final fixture that allowed France to keep their closest rivals at bay and clinch top spot in their group.
Blanc’s side were hardly scintillating in attack, scoring more than two goals just the once – they grabbed 15 goals over their 10 matches, finding the net twice on five occasions. At the back, they shipped a mere four goals over qualifying and, with six clean sheets returned, didn’t concede more than one goal in any of those 10 games.
Most Appearances: Lloris (10), Rami & Malouda (9), M’Vila & Nasri (8)
Most Goals: Benzema, Gourcuff & Malouda (3), Remy (2)
Most Assists: Nasri, Benzema & Payet (2)
The Likely Lads
As the captain of his national side, there isn’t anyone safer to select from France’s backline than the hot property that is Lyon goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. With those afore-mentioned six clean sheets and four goals conceded, France had the second best defensive record in qualifying, with only Italy shipping less. All of which indicates that the 6.0 price-tag in the McDonald’s Euro 2012 game is a more than fair price point, considering Lloris is found a mark or two cheaper than the goalkeepers regarded at the very top of the echelon.
Samir Nasri is fast becoming one of the most important members of Blanc’s starting XI – his aforementioned crucial penalty against Bosnia-Herzegovina last October only typifying this fact. The recent Premier League winner will be travelling to the Ukraine on cloud nine and his manager and team-mates alike will be looking to the 8.5 McDonald’s offering to help his nation make a mark on this tournament. Nasri also appears to be in the driving seat for corners and free-kicks, further enhancing his appeal for Fantasy managers.
Priced at 9.5, Franck Ribery doesn’t come cheap. The Bayern Munich man arrives on the back of a strong domestic campaign, with 12 goals and 12 assists in 27 starts for the Bundesliga runners-up. Despite Nasri’s lesser price and set-piece duties, Ribery has so far proven to the more popular pick with Fantasy managers – over 13.5% have snapped him up, more than double the City man’s 6.3% ownership, with his opener in Thursday’s friendly win over Serbia serving a timely reminder of his capabilities.
Fresh off his most prolific season to date, helping Real Madrid amass 100 La Liga points and topple Barcelona, Karim Benzema is rich in form heading into this summer’s tournament. Very much anticipated as the leading striker in France’s 4-2-3-1 formation, Benzema should be relied upon to push his country through the group stages and into the knock-out arena of Euro 2012. Costing just 9.5 in the McDonald’s format, he, like his fellow countrymen, comes in at a lower price than that of the heavy hitters. This, in turn, opens up a nice value for money option for Fantasy managers needing a striker without having to break the bank.
With some incredibly rotten luck Bacary Sagna managed to break his fibula not once but twice last season – the most recent fracture coming just a week before the end of the league campaign and ruling the Arsenal man out of the Euro 2012 tournament. His loss, however, will ultimately prove to be advantageous to Lille’s Mathieu Debuchy. The right-back has caught the eye of many managers in recent times, with Sir Alex Ferguson and Alan Pardew supposedly keen admirers of late, and at a 5.5 McDonalds price his under the radar status could prove a handy differential for those Fantasy managers aware of this fact. Underlining his potential at both ends of the pitch, Debuchy grabbed a goal in this week’s home win over Iceland, as the French battled back to overcome their visitors 3-2.
Florent Malouda hardly had the most impressive of domestic campaigns with Chelsea, starting just 11 of the Blues’ league games, but he was an integral figure in helping France qualify for the finals. Malouda played all but one of his nation’s 10 games and ended as joint-top scorer with Benzema on three goals. Factor in the occasional share of corners and a price of 8.0, he has been an overlooked asset in the attacking midfield three thus far – with just 0.7% ownership, there’s a definite case for him as a decent differential; his strike from outside the box in the Serbia win attests to that.
Fantasy Football Scout Euro 2012 Leagues
Fantasy Football Scout are running several leagues and tournaments over various games for the Summer tournament…
We’re running two Tournaments in the Picklive game, a free to enter league here and a £5 entry with prize pot league right here. There’s also £2500 in the prize pot for Picklive’s big tournament game.
Our McDonalds UEFA Euro 2012 League code is : 638-996