English Dream Team Euros gaffers face agonising head-or-heart decision ahead of Sunday’s final

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SPAIN v ENGLAND: a style clash for the ages.

The final of Euro 2024 pits the best team at the tournament against a side that have developed a habit of well-timed magic moments.

La Roja topped what appeared to be the toughest group on paper with Albania, Croatia and Italy for company before vanquishing Georgia, Germany and France in the more competitive side of the knockout draw.

In contrast, the Three Lions have looked disjointed for the most part but Jude Bellingham’s (£6m) overhead kick, Trent Alexander-Arnold’s (£5m) winning penalty, and Ollie Watkins’ (£3.5m) last-gasp winner have been among the most dramatic moments of the summer.

Dream TeamChoose your winner[/caption]

English Dream Team Euros managers now face an agonising head-or-heart decision ahead of Sunday’s final.

Even the most partisan supporter of Gareth Southgate’s troops will admit that Spain have played the best football and, on current form, deserve to start as favourites in Berlin.

But every football fan knows the best team doesn’t always win and finals are often tense and cagey, which tends to benefit the team more adept at the dark arts.

Gaffers can hedge their bets to a certain extent but they should strive for the most cohesive XI possible.

For example, a midfield that contains Rodri (£4m), Lamine Yamal (£4m), Declan Rice (£3m) and Jude Bellingham (£6m) is perfectly viable as all four players could provide decent returns regardless of the result – through tackles, bonus points, etc.

But a team stacked with Spain attackers and an all-England defence is counter-intuitive – if one of those units succeeds, the other is highly likely to fail.

GettySouthgate has been criticised but his side have made another Euros final[/caption]

Dream Team Euros bosses who need something special from the final Matchday might as well gamble on one of the teams keeping a clean sheet by selecting Unai Simon (£4m) or Jordan Pickford (£4m) with the corresponding defence.

For gaffers leading their Mini Leagues with a relatively comfortable cushion, it’s more feasible to split allegiances.

TOP DREAM TEAM EUROS PERFORMERS AMONG SPAIN AND ENGLAND PLAYERS:

Dani Olmo (£4m) – 48 pts

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Fabian Ruiz (£3.5m) – 42 pts

Lamine Yamal (£4m) – 41 pts

Jude Bellingham (£6m) – 39 pts

Harry Kane (£7.5m) – 37 pts

England’s captain is a particularly intriguing case study.

Kane looks immobile, fatigued and/or injured but it’s simply a fact that no player has scored more goals at the tournament ahead of Sunday’s showdown.

The 30-year-old displayed his poacher’s instincts with opportunistic strikes against Denmark and Slovakia before a well-struck penalty against Netherlands, albeit from a fortunate decision upon VAR review.

Watkins scored England’s dramatic winner in the semi-finalGetty

That it was Watkins, Kane’s direct replacement, who fired England into the final is unlikely to impact Southgate’s starting line-up.

The long-serving coach has remained loyal to his favourite players (some would argue to a fault) and so it would be an uncharacteristic decision to drop England’s all-time top scorer for such an occasion.

Despite his sluggish performances, Kane is the third-best striker in Dream Team Euros (top among players still active) and nine points clear of counterpart Alvaro Morata (£5.5m).

Helpfully, gaffers will be informed of the confirmed line-ups for both teams just prior to Sunday’s 7pm deadline.

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And it should go without saying that any remaining Boosters should now be activated – 12th Man will come in handy for those unable to reach a fully active XI through transfers alone.

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