Are You Underestimating Greece? ESPN Euro Manager – Quarterfinals

The final two teams made their way through the group stages of Euro 2012 this afternoon.  Wayne Rooney scored the winner for England against co-host Ukraine and despite a 2-0 loss to Sweden, France are moving on.  We saw four different teams that won their opening game fail to make the quarterfinals and there still hasn’t been a 0-0 draw.  My Euro Bracket may be in shambles, but I am moving  on to the Quarterfinals of ESPN Euro Manager.

The next scoring period starts on Thursday when the winner of Group A, Czech Republic takes on Portugal.  This match and Friday’s game (Germany vs. Greece) are the best matchups for fantasy managers to take advantage of in the Quarterfinals.  Look for key players in these two fixtures and don’t forget to keep the 6 Ways to Dominate ESPN Euro Manager in mind when selecting your starting eleven.

My squad is set for the Quaterfinals: GoPro City – Starting 11

GOALKEEPERS

Iker Casillas was the top performing GK in the group stages.  He earned 17 points with 11 saves and 2 clean sheets.  In second, with 15 points, is my top choice for GK in the Quarterfinals.

“Arguably the finest goalkeeper in world football, Emanuel Neuer has filled the void left by Oliver Kahn both in the German national team and the Bayern Munich side with some class.”

The German goalkeeper made 9 saves in the opening round matches.  I can’t see the sneaky Greeks getting past Neuer and the German defense during the Quarterfinals.

Starting GK:  E. Neuer (GER)

DEFENDERS

Defenders were held scoreless in Group Stage 3 of ESPN Euro Manager.  Only Vassilis Torossidis (GRE) tallied more than 6 points. Group Stage 1 scorer Joleon Lescott (ENG) remains the top scoring fantasy defender in Euro 2012.

This week I’m going with a combination of goal scoring and clean sheet appeal.

Starting Defenders: M. Hummels (GER), Pepe (POR), P. Lahm (GER), G. Pique (ESP)

MIDFIELDERS

The top 4 scorers in Group Stage 3 earned 9+ points, yet they were only on a combined 3.1% of ESPN Euro Manager entries.  Meanwhile, the five midfielders owned by the most Euro Managers in the game (Ozil, Silva, Xavi, Ribery, Iniesta) scored 7 or fewer points.  The midfield will separate the men from the boys in the Quarterfinals.

Despite only giving his owners 4 points in Group Stage 3, David Silva is the top scoring fantasy footballer thus far in Euro 2012 with 26 points.  Only 3 midfielders (Pilar, Jiracek, Fabergas) have scored more than one goal in the tournament.  Each are still available for Euro Managers to call upon in the Quarterfinals.

I’m giving the nod to David Silva this week against France after seeing what Sebastian Larsson and the Swedish midfield were able to do to Les Bleus.

Starting Midfielders: D. Silva (ESP), Nani (POR), A. Pirlo (ITA), Schweinsteiger (GER)

Pepe (3), Ronaldo (7), and Nani (17) all have goal scoring appeal against the Czech defense that gave up 4 goals to Russia on the opening day of the tournament. Photo Courtesy of http://www.ronaldo7.net

FORWARDS

Mario Gomez is the current points leader amongst available forwards.  He has scored the most goals in the tournament (3) and is a must start against Greece.

I know Greece only gave up 3 goals during group play but, it took every once of energy they had to beat Russia 1-0.  They will also be missing two of their regular starters on Friday due to yellow card suspensions (Euro 2012 Disciplinary Records).

Bleacher Report Football Blogger Michael Cummings isn’t necessarily underestimating Greece, but I don’t see them having any chance of surviving the Quarterfinals.

Germany has the patience and depth needed to breakdown the Greek defense.  They have won 14 consecutive competitive matches since losing to Spain in the 2010 World Cup semi-finals. Mario Gomez will be an integral part of extending that streak.

I am also excited about Portugal’s matchup against the Czechs. I’m not sure what happened to Russia, but I trust Portugal will be more motivated and better prepared than the Czech Republic’s last opponents.

Ronaldo was world-class in Group Stage 3, netting both goals in Portugal’s 2-1 victory over the Netherlands.  I am counting on him to carry the Portuguese into the Semi-finals.  I’m looking forward to a potential Spain vs. Portugal matchup!

Starting Forwards: M. Gomez (GER), C. Ronaldo (POR)

Over to you…

What do you think of my starting 11? Is there anyone missing from my team?  Anyone that doesn’t deserve to be included?

If you’d like to discuss your ESPN Euro Manager tactics in more detail, please email me at goprofantasysports@gmail.com or follow me on Google+ and Twitter @GoProFS24.

Best of luck & enjoy the Quarterfinals of Euro 2012.  Cheers!

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