SOCCER

FanDuel Euro Final Single-Game Helper: England vs. Italy (7/11/21)

The Euro final is at 3 p.m. EST Sunday, and FanDuel is offering single-game contests for the big matchup. While scoring is the same to the normal offerings, roster requirements are different. You have $50 to work with and need to roster four forwards/midfielders -- one in a captain slot, where the player's points are multiplied by 1.5 -- along with a defender.

Now that we have the lay of the land, which players should you roster for the final?

Slate Overview

It's Italy and England meeting up for the title after a pair of thrilling semifinals. England -- who has the home-field advantage at London's Wembley stadium -- is a slim +165 favorite, per FanDuel Sportsbook, but this match is super even, as Italy is +195 to win.

That makes for a pretty wide-open slate, although England may be the more popular side in DFS thanks to being at home as well as the name recognition of their players. Nearly all of them play in the EPL, the only domestic league for which FanDuel offers contests.

It's worth noting that this match profiles as a low-scoring affair. It is -198 to go under 2.5 goals, and the most likely scoreline -- priced at +490 -- is 1-1.

Looking at the numbers, England is probably a deserving favorite, as they've improved throughout the tourney. After not tallying more than 1.0 expected goals (xG) in any of their three group stage matches, according to FBRef, the Three Lions have amassed 1.0, 1.3, and 1.8 xG in three knockout games. Italy, meanwhile, have been trending the other direction, but they've also had a much tougher road to the final. After recording at least 1.3 xG in their first five matches of the tournament, Italy mustered only 0.4 xG in the semis, getting outplayed by Spain but advancing on penalties.

I'm intrigued to see is how each side sets up and whether or not one team chooses to let the other have the majority of the ball. England has been fairly conservative -- in both formation and team selection -- all tourney, but Italy has had more than 53% possession in just two of their six matches, including 31% against Spain. That hasn't hindered their ability to create chances, so Italy may be fine with ceding possession to the English, especially if Roberto Mancini's side gets a lead.

All in all, this looks like a tight match, and I'll probably go with a two-two split between the two teams in my attacking slots.

Captain Choices

Raheem Sterling ($13) and Harry Kane ($15), England

Sterling and Kane have been the main men for England. They've scored seven of the squad's nine goals, with Sterling netting three and Kane getting four.

Kane is +185 to score, and if there is a chalk captain play on this slate, it'll likely be him. His goal odds are a slate-best mark by a good distance, as no other player has better anytime goal odds than +250. Kane has scored all four of his goals in the knockout rounds, netting once against Germany, twice versus Ukraine, and following up his own penalty miss to score the winner against Denmark. Kane's role on penalties is a big boost to his outlook, and he's taken nine shots (seven on target) over the last three matches.

Sterling has an assist to go with his three goals, and he leads England with 2.5 non-penalty xG in this tournament. Despite not scoring a goal versus Denmark, he was a bright spot all match long, totaling 1.1 xG and taking six shots (three on target). He also drew the "foul" that set up the winning goal. At +330 to score, he's an appealing captain pivot off Kane, and that's where I'll land in a lot of my lineups.

Ciro Immobile ($14), Italy

Immobile is a fun captain play and is the kind of "weird but not that weird" option I usually flock to in the captain slot. While he has the slate's second-best goal odds (+250), he likely won't see as much captain love as Kane and Sterling do. And he shouldn't as a guy who hasn't put a shot on goal in three straight and has played the full 90 just once in this tourney.

But the goal odds are there, and he scored twice in the group stage, adding an assist, as well. Outside of the Spain match, Immobile has taken at least three shots in every game he's played.

Mason Mount ($11), England

Mount is a somewhat off-the-radar pick as his +650 goal odds aren't going to attract much attention for the captain spot. It makes sense, too, because if there's a goal in this match, you're probably going to need that goal in your multiplier spot to win big. But what if the goal comes from a sub or a defender, or what if there isn't a goal? Then Mount at captain can work.

Mount doesn't handle as much set-piece work for England as he does for Chelsea, but he still takes some free kicks and corners. He fired off two shots against Denmark, putting one on target, and he created a whopping six chances. He was in the mix to be England's top-scoring player on FanDuel until Kane's late goal (which ended up counting as two shots on target due to the saved pen).

Using Mount at captain could be a complete swing and miss, but it could also be a GPP-winning move if it hits. Plus, outside of Kane and Sterling, everyone else on England is a fairly long-shot to score.

Lorenzo Insigne ($13), Italy

Insigne has been in good form all tournament, totaling two goals and posting at least two shots on target in three of his five appearances. While he doesn't have an assist, he's been credited with a whopping 25 shot-creating actions, leading to 1.2 expected assists. His DFS stock is boosted by his role on free kicks and corners.

At +430 to score, Insigne has the fourth-best goal odds on the slate among the expected starters and needs to be on the captain radar.

Utility Forwards/Midfielders

Federico Chiesa ($12), Italy

Chiesa scored a banger to help Italy advance past Spain, and when given playing time in this tourney, he's looked dangerous, scoring twice and averaging 0.51 goals per 90 minutes. He's placed three shots on goal over his last two matches, both of which came against top-shelf opposition (Belgium and Spain). The Juve/Fiorentina attacker is +430 to score, so he's a fine captain play, too, if you want to roll the dice on him there.

Jorginho ($5), Italy

Jorginho is worth a look for one reason -- he will be on pens for Italy. One of the silkiest penalty takers in the world, Jorginho showed his class by calmly cashing the winning penalty versus Spain. He hasn't taken a shot this tourney, so his +700 goal odds are pretty much entirely tied to his spot-kick duties. Jorginho should rack up a decent amount of defensive actions in his holding role, especially if Italy get a lead and sit back, which could help him be a not-terrible play if he doesn't score as long as this is a low-scoring slate.

Bukayo Saka ($7), Phil Foden ($9) and Jack Grealish ($6), England

It seems like one of these three will start on the wing if England rolls out a 4-2-3-1 formation. It's been Saka the last two times they've lined up that way, and while his bottom-line results don't look great, he's played well. Saka sent in a dangerous ball against Denmark that wound up being an own goal on the Danes, and his ability to take on defenders is something the projected England starting XI lacks outside of Sterling. Saka is +600 to score.

If Foden or Grealish start, they'd be worth a long look. Both are attack-minded players who can be dangerous when given minutes. As much as I like Grealish, it seems like Gareth Southgate doesn't share the same level of love for the Villa man, but Grealish has notched two assists in only 154 minutes in these Euros. Foden was a breakout player for Manchester City this past campaign and created two chances in just 26 minutes against Denmark.

With teams allowed five subs per match, you can make a case for rostering a sub in an effort to make a unique lineup. The issue with doing so when it comes to these two is that Foden and Grealish -- assuming Saka starts -- are not locks to come on, especially if England are leading, so you're risking a zero. But if you're banking on an Italy goal or a 0-0 score after the first hour, plugging in Foden or Grealish makes some sense.

Defenders

Harry Maguire ($10), England

Maguire has been a force at the back for England. He racked up 11 combined tackles, interceptions, and clearances against Denmark and would probably generate a lot of defensive points if England are seeing out a lead late.

In addition to his defensive work, Maguire is a threat on set pieces, accounting for one of his team's two goals that weren't scored by Kane or Sterling by scoring a goal versus Ukraine off a set piece. He nearly headed one home against Denmark, too. His +1100 goal odds are tops among this slate's defenders. And England are +150 to keep a clean sheet, so he's a decent bet for the five-point clean sheet bonus, as he won't be subbed off barring injury.

Leonardo Bonucci ($7), Italy

On single-game slates, I'm always tempted to save salary at defender so I can roster the attackers I want. Bonucci fits that mold. He had 11 combined tackles, interceptions and clearances against Spain, and he added three blocks. We can't expect that again since England won't dominate the ball the way Spain did, but Bonucci produced seven combined tackles, interceptions and clearances versus Austria, so he's got a solid floor.