Having failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, Italy went on to win all 10 of their qualifying games for Euro 2020 and have won 8 out of 11 since qualifying finished. In fact, they are the form team heading into this summer’s tournament.
Since the start of Euro 2020 qualifying, they have kept 15 clean-sheets in 21 games and have only failed to score on one occasion (0-0 away against Poland in the Nations League). These results have seen them finish top of Group A1 in the Nations League and extend their unbeaten run to 25 games.
Roberto Mancini took over in 2018 following Italy’s failure to qualify for the World Cup and has consistently had his teams play in a 4-3-3 attacking formation, with two of his central midfielders playing higher up the pitch than the third.
With the exception of friendlies, Donnarumma (FT: £6m / EO: £5.5m) has started every game since qualifying finished and only missed three games in qualifying (he was on the bench v. Liechtenstein, and was absent with a muscle injury v. Greece and Bosnia).
In defence, Bonucci (FT: £5.5m / EO: £5.5m) is the assured centre-back in a back four and should be joined by his Juventus teammate, and national captain, Chiellini (FT: £5.5m / EO: £6m). However, should concerns remain around the latter’s fitness (he has had no fewer than five muscle injuries over the last 12 months) then his likely replacement should be Inter Milan’s Bastoni (FT: £5.5m / EO: £4.5m).
PSG’s Florenzi (FT: £6.5m / EO: £6m) seems to be nailed on at right-back having only missed the last World Cup Qualifier due to muscle fatigue, but the left-back position is uncertain with Emerson (FT: £6m / EO: £5.5m) seemingly preferred over Spinazzola (FT: £5.5m / EO: £5.5m) despite his lack of minutes at Chelsea.
Things seems more certain in central midfield. Jorginho (FT: £7m / EO: £6m) played every game bar one in qualifying, as well 5 out of 6 Nation League games before missing the latest World Cup Qualifying squad due to a knock he picked up in training for Chelsea. Meanwhile Inter Milan’s Barella (FT: £7m / EO: £7m) scored 3 goals in 8 qualifying games, and has only missed 2 games since (both friendlies). The third midfield spot is a little more uncertain and will probably be between Locatelli (FT: £7m / EO: £5.5m) and Verratti (FT: £7m / EO: £6.5m), with the latter the likeliest.
Napoli’s Insigne (FT: £8m / EO: £8.5m) is often deployed on the left side of a front three and has started 6 out of the last 11 games for Italy (he missed the Nations League games through injury and was benched in the last World Cup Qualifier v. Lithuania). He will be looking to end a run of not scoring in those six games having scored 3 times in 4 qualifying games, and will have a decent Serie A season behind him having scored 17 goals & assisted a further 6 in 31 games.
On the other side of the attacking trident, it could possibly be Chiesa (FT: £8m / EO: £7m). He has appeared in 7 out of Italy’s 11 last games, missing the latest Nation League games due to injuries. He does not have the best goal scoring record for Italy, but will go into Euro 2020 after a good season on loan at Juventus from Fiorentina having been involved in 24 goals in 41 appearances in all competitions.
Both players face the risk of rotation though, with the likes of Bernardeschi (FT: £7m / EO: £7.5m) and Berardi (FT: £7.5m / EO: £6m) offering stiff competition. Especially with the latter having scored 4 goals in his last 5 appearances for Italy, whilst also having a sensational season with Sassuolo where he has scored 15 goals in 26 games and assisted a further 6.
The sole striker position is just as much risk of rotation as the front two wide positions – if not more so. Belotti (FT: £8.5m / EO: £8m) seems to be slightly favoured having started in 5 of the last 11 games (scoring in his last 2) and has scored 12 goals and assisted 7 in 30 games for Torino this season in Serie A. Meanwhile, Immobile (FT: £9m / EO: £10m) has started in in just 4 of the last 11 games (scoring once), but has had a much better season at club level, scoring 19 goals and assisting 9 in 31 games for Lazio in Serie A.
The Swiss have managed to reach the final 16 in their last three major tournaments, and reached the semi-final stage of the inaugural Nations League.
In qualifying, they only lost one game (0-1 at Denmark) but then went on a winless run of seven matches. However, that run did include two draws against Germany and one against Spain.
Since that run, they have picked up form winning three games on the run, as well as being awarded a 3-0 win for a forfeited match against the Ukraine.
Despite keeping four clean-sheets in their eight qualifying matches, they have only kept one since.
Vladimir Petkovic has been in charge since 2014 and has become their most successful manager to date in terms of victories and tournament progression. He generally tends to play three at the back in either a 3-4-3 or 3-5-2 formation, but does convert to 5-4-1 when out of possession in an attempt to being hard to break down.
In goal, Borussia Mönchengladbach’s Sommer (FT: £5m / EO: £5m) played 90 minutes in every match since qualifying began with the exception of friendlies against Croatia, Belgium and Finland. Recently he saved two penalties in one match as Switzerland drew against Spain.
The back three seems to pick itself. Newcastle’s Schar (FT: £5m / EO: £5m) missed the last Swiss squad due to a knee injury, and before that he missed the final Nations League game against Spain due to suspension after been sent off against Germany. He will more than likely be flanked by two technically gifted centre-back’s in Dortmund’s Akanji (FT: £5m / EO: £5m) and Gladbach’s Elvedi (FT: £4.5m / EO: £4.5m).
Veteran Rodriguez (FT: £5m / EO: £5.5m) should operate as the left wingback with one of either Wolfsburg’s Mbabu (FT: TBC / EO: £5m) or FC Basel’s Widmer (FT: TBC / EO: £4.5m) as the marauding right wingback.
Atalanta’s Freuler (FT: £5.5m / EO: £5.5m) will partner Swiss captain Xhaka (FT: £6m / EO: £6m) to provide the back three with security in a double-pivot, and the only other midfielder of note for Switzerland would be Liverpool’s Shaqiri (FT: £7m / EO: £7m) who would play on the left-hand side of a front three.
An outside chance of playtime within the Swiss midfield could lie with Eintracht Frankfurt’s Zuber (FT: £4.5m / EO: £7m) who could also operate as a left wing-back should Rodriguez be moved inside as a centre-back. Alternatively, he could play on the left hand-side of a front three should Shaqiri either move to the right-hand side of a front three or take up a more central role.
Up top, Benfica’s Seferovic (FT: £6.5m / EO: £8.5m) seems to have the no.9 spot nailed down. Despite not being a prolific goal-scorer by nature, he is nearing 20 goals at league level for only the second time in his 13-year career and has scored twice in his last 3 international outings. Mönchengladbach’s Embolo (FT: £6m / EO: £8m) should play on the right-hand side of the front three and could profit from Seferovic’s superb hold up play, although he isn’t in the best of current form having scored just 5 times in 28 games in the Bundesliga this season.
This will only be the Turk’s 2nd major tournament in 12 years, but they will approach the tournament with confidence having taken four points off current reigning World Cup champions France in qualifying, where they won 7 out of 10 games; losing only once (1-2 at Iceland)
Since qualifying, they have only won 3 out of their last 11 games, but that does include a 3-3 draw against Germany and a 4-2 victory over Holland.
Despite their recent turn of events, they finished bottom of League B in the Nations League and have only kept two clean-sheets in their last 11 games having kept an amazing 8 in 10 qualifying games.
Senol Gunes took charge of Turkey in 2019 at the beginning of Euro 2020 qualification, for his second stint at the helm of the national side having previously guided Turkey to 3rd place at the 2002 World Cup. He alternated between a 4-1-4-1 and 4-3-3 attacking formation during European Qualification, but played a 4-2-3-1 in four of the six Nations League games before deploying three different formations during World Cup Qualifying.
I am really unsure of the GK position. During Euro 2020 qualification, Gunok (FT: £4.5m / EO: £4.5m) was the man between the sticks until the last game when Cakir (FT: £4.5m / EO: £4.5m) took over. Gunok then took the no.1 shirt back for the majority of the Nations League campaign, but Cakir has taken it back for the recent World Cup Qualifiers.
However, the back four seems more settled.
Lille’s Celik (FT: £4m / EO: £4.5m) looks likely to be locked in at right-back having only missed the last two World Cup Qualifiers due to Coronavirus, whilst Leicester’s Soyuncu (FT: £5m / EO: £5m) is primed to be partnered at centre-back with Juventus’ Demiral (FT: £5m / EO: £5m) who missed the trio of World Cup Qualifiers due to a thigh injury. The only threat to this partnership is Liverpool’s on-loan Schalke defender Kabak (FT: £5m / EO: £4.5m) who has deputised in their absence.
Meanwhile, Le Havre’s Meras (FT: TBC / EO: £4.5m) seems to be favoured over Fenerbahce’s Erkin (FT: £4.5m / EO: £5m).
Fenerbahce’s Tufan (FT: £4.5m / EO: £6m) seems to have one of the double-pivot spots nailed down, with it seeming more likely that the other slot will be filled by Yokuslu (FT: £4m / EO: £5.5m) due to the fitness issues surrounding Tekdemir (FT: £4.5m / EO: £5m).
AC Milan’s Calhanoglu (FT: £5.5m / EO: £8.5m) should be stationed in the no.10 position having got 2 goals in his last 3 international appearance and being involved in 13 goals in 29 appearances in Serie A this season.
The right-hand side of the supporting three is a little more complicated with Lille’s Yazici (FT: £4.5m / EO: £5.5m) competing with Leicester’s Under (FT: TBC / EO: £7m) with the former having the slightest of edges having played more minutes during the season. It should also be noted that the latter is listed as a forward in the Official game.
Fortuna Dussledorf’s Karaman (FT: TBC / EO: £6.5m) seems nailed to complete the supporting three on the left hand side, with the front-line to be led by skipper Yilmaz (£4.5m) who despite being 35 is still as prolific as ever having scored 15 goals in 26 games for Lille in Ligue 1, and also banging in a hat-trick against Holland.
With Tosun (£5m) ruled out of the tournament with a Patella rupture, the only real competition is provided by Getafe’s Unal (£5m) who is struggling for form in La Liga. However, Altinordu’s 18-year old Destan (FT: TBC / EO: £5m) is waiting in the wings having scored 11 goals in 25 games in TFF Lig. 1.
This will be Wales’ third major tournament, with their most recent exploits seeing them reach the semi-final at Euro 2016.
They went undefeated in their last five Euro 2020 qualifying games having lost 2 out of their opening 3. Since qualification they have improved defensively keeping 7 clean-sheets in their last 11 games, which has seen them promoted to Division A of the Nations League. However, they have had a mixed start to their World Cup qualification.
At the time of writing, it is uncertain who will be in charge for Euro 2020 due to the controversy surrounding Ryan Giggs. If he does not make it to the tournament, then the reigns will pass over to current caretaker manager Rob Page who has seen the Welsh play in a 3-4-3 formation.
The GK position is not certain for Wales. Hennessey (FT: £4m / EO: £5m) played every minute of the Euro 2020 qualifiers and started their Nations League campaign before coming off injured against Bulgaria, therefore missing remainder of the fixtures. Since then, he has lost his place to Ward (FT: £4.5m / EO: £4.5m) who has played both World Cup Qualifying matches, with Hennessey playing the friendly against Mexico that was sandwiched by them both.
Bournemouth’s Mepham (FT: £4.5m / EO: £4.5m) and Tottenham’s Rodon (FT: £4.5m / EO: £4.5m) will seemingly make up two thirds of the Welsh back three, with Lawrence (FT: £4.5m / EO: £4.5m) set to deputise for Davies (FT: £5m / EO: £5.5m) should the Spurs man fail to recover from his current shinbone injury.
Swansea’s Roberts (FT: £4.5m / EO: £4.5m) seems to have the right wing-back nailed down, with Liverpool’s Williams (FT: £4.5m / EO: £4.5m) seemingly having the edge over Stoke City’s Norrington-Davies (FT: £4.5m / EO: £4.5m) for the left wing-back position.
Meanwhile Sheff United’s on-loan Chelsea defender, Ampadu (FT: £4.5m / EO: £5m) has been played in a central defensive midfield role in the most recent set of fixtures and is listed a midfielder in the Official game.
Muscle and then thigh problems have meant that Juventus’ Ramsey (FT: TBC / EO: £8.5m) has missed the last two Welsh squads. If he is fit for Euro 2020, then he is more than likely going to partner Ampadu in central midfield. In his absence, Luton’s Morrell (FT: £4m / EO: £5m) has played in 3 out of the last 4 of Wales’ competitive games, with Stoke’s Allen (FT: £5m / EO: £5.5m) playing in the other. However, it should be noted that they have only played a combined 28 games in the Championship this season.
Up top, Cardiff’s Wilson (FT: £5.5m / EO: £7.5m) has recently been deployed in a false-nine role with Man United’s James (FT: £5m / EO: £6.5m) and the national teams talisman and captain Bale (FT: £6m / EO: £9.5m) flanking him.
Should Wales not opt for a false 9, then Wilson’s club team-mate Moore (FT: £4.5m / EO: £6.5m) should get the nod up top. He has scored 20 goals in 41 Championship appearances this season and his introduction to the Welsh line-up helped turn round their Euro 2020 qualification after a dismal start.
Group A Summary:
Using a budget of £80m on the Official game and a restriction of three player’s maximum per team, here is my best XI for Group A: