Zlatan Ibrahimovic gets amongst the goals but it’s Andrei Shevchenko who steals the headlines by bagging a brace as Ukraine see off Sweden. England and France play out a stalemate earlier in the day, with Man City pair Joleon Lescott and Samir Nasri both finding the net as Laurent Blanc’s side extend their unbeaten run to 22 games:
England 1 France 1
Roy Hodgson saw his side concede for the first time since taking charge but, despite France’s domination, managed to scrape thanks to a resilient defensive display. Joleon Lescott will no doubt be on plenty Fantasy radars after his opener against Laurent Blanc’s side – priced at 5.5 in the McDonald’s game, he offers the cheapest route into England’s backline ahead of the clashes with Sweden and Ukraine.
Hodgson’s decision to opt for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the left of midfield instead of Stewart Downing will also have Fantasy managers on alert. Priced at 6.0 in the McDonald’s game and with just 2.8% ownership, the Arsenal youngster is an intriguing proposition but it’s perhaps debatable whether he will keep his starting role when Wayne Rooney’s suspension finishes ahead of Matchday 3. There’s every chance Rooney could be partnered by Danny Welbeck up front for the game against Ukraine, with Ashley Young possibly moving out to the left at Oxlade-Chamberlain’s expense. England’s midfield work-rate helped Steven Gerrard, James Milner and Scott Parker all pick up an extra point apiece due to the recovered balls rule, with the Liverpool skipper’s assist for Lescott’s goal helping him to a six point return.
Laurent Blanc’s starting XI was as expected. Mathieu Debuchy got the nod at right-back, while Alou Diarra started in the defensive central midfield role due to Yann M’Vila’s recent injury. The latter was fit enough to be handed a role on the bench, however, suggesting he may well come into contention for Friday’s showdown with Ukraine.
Elsewhere, Samir Nasri was the standout Fantasy performer in Blanc’s front three. Coming in at 8.5 in the McDonald’s game, the City man is 1.0 cheaper than both Karim Benzema and Franck Ribery and has just 6.8% ownership – his goal just before half-time helped him to an eight point haul, while Ribery returned five points for providing the assist. Nasri also created eight goalscoring opportunities for his team mates – more than any French player – while Benzema managed six attempts on goal; encouraging for his Fantasy owners ahead of the upcoming couple of matches.
Ukraine 2 Sweden 1
The later game followed the script of the previous three days. All four of the 7.45pm kick-offs in Matchday 1 resulted in victories, whereas three of the four early matches produced draws, with teams a little more tentative in the group openers. Oleg Blokhin’s only surprise was the selection of Andrei Shevchenko up front – the former Milan man had started the last three friendlies on the bench and was hampered with injuries earlier in the year. Shevchenko vindicated his manager’s decision by inspiring the co-hosts’ comeback and grabbing both his side’s goals – priced at 7.0 and with a mere 2.2% ownership he proved an inspired Matchday 1 choice, with a 10 point return showing we should never write him off.
Site favourites Andriy Yarmolenko and Yevhen Konoplyanka also played their part, providing an assist apiece. The latter also looked a lively goal threat and managed five attempts at goal; priced at 5.5 compared to Yarmolenko’s 7.0, he’s a decent mid-price alternative for those Fantasy managers reluctant to splash the cash and, with 0.9% ownership, he also has a share of set-piece duties in the bag.
Erik Hamren picked Andreas Granqvist ahead of Jonas Olsson in the heart of Sweden’s defence, with Martin Olsson slotting in at left-back. Both the latter and Granqvist come in at 4.0 in the McDonald’s game but with a single clean sheet in their last nine, the Swedes will hardly inspire confidence in Fantasy managers ahead of the remaining two games.
Rasmus Elm was handed a slot in central midfield, while Ola Toivonen – who had played up front in the recent friendly win over Serbia – moved to the left flank after Markus Rosenberg recovered from injury to lead the line. Kim Kallstrom rewarded his 2.7% owners by providing the assist for Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s opener and the Milan man can consider himself unlucky to be on the losing side after a strong performance – he managed four goal attempts and created four goalscoring opportunities for his team mates. With Sweden’s schedule now looking far from favourable, though, 8.0 priced Ibrahimovic’s 24.6% of owners have a tricky decision to make, with many deciding to wield wildcards in order to freshen up their frontlines ahead of the Matchday 2 kick-off later on today.