Welcome to Part 1 of our 3 Part preview of FanTeam’s Euro 2020 Fantasy game. In this first part, we discuss Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Finland and France. For the second part of the series, we will be going over Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, North-Macedonia, Poland, Portugal and Russia and in the third and final part of the series we will cover the remaining countries: Scotland, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and Wales.
The 2020-21 season was a strange, unique year of football for all clubs in all competitions. That’s why the fact that in most countries, when the final few games of the season were played in front of (limited) crowds for the first time in more than a year they sparked such enormous enthusiasm. Now that the domestic leagues have finished though, football is immediately taking the next big step by organising the postponed 2020 European Championship. The pandemic prevented the tournament from taking place last summer, but this summer in just over a week, from June 11th to July 11th, it’s on.
Of course, as the biggest daily fantasy site in Europe, FanTeam had to get in on the upcoming footballing festivities and they did so in style. Their Euro 2020 Full Tournament offers 87,109 seats and an incredible prize pool of £1,000,000 (Yes, £1million!) with the winner taking home a cool £200,000. Tickets for participation are available at a price of £20 per ticket.
As a participant, the concept is very much similar to the regular FanTeam tournaments, like the Weekly Monsters for the Premier League, for example. Each manager needs to select a squad of 15 players from the countries participating in Euro2020, maximum 3 players from the same country, and they will get a free transfer after each round. An additional transfer will cost -4 points, but managers can also carry a maximum of 1 unused transfer over to the next round, so that they will have two free transfers then. Do check out the Euro 2020- Full Tournament for all details regarding the rules.
For the FanTeam Weekly Monster regulars, the FanTeam scoring system has undergone the following adjustments:
|Player points for a win reduced from +1 to +0.3 and players points for a defeat changed from -1 to -0.3.||To reduce the impact of a team’s performance and put more focus on the selected player, making more players desirable (especially in formats with few fixtures).|
|Players will be rewarded for a shot on target: +0.4 for a forward or midfielder, +0.6 for a defender, and +1 for a goalkeeper.||To reward attacking play, while reducing the amount of ties in our tournaments. A “shot on target” is simply a shot that’s going in, but is stopped by the last line of defence. This could be a goalkeeper, an opposing player ‘on the line’, or even your own teammate if they’re goal hanging. Points for a shot on target are not awarded when a goal is scored from the shot, either if the player is the scorer or is awarded the assist.|
For the managers brave enough for the FanTeam ride during the upcoming European Championship in June 2021, we have created a complete tournament guide. Consisting of three parts, we will take a look at each of the 24 participating countries and highlight two players from each country who could, for more or less obvious reasons, be valuable additions to any FanTeam Euro 2020 Full Tournament squad. In this first part of our Euro2020 preview series, we are going over these 8 countries: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Finland and France.
Austria’s group could be worse, which makes them one of the teams where potential budget value could be found. The first name popping into your head when thinking of the Austrian national team is David Alaba (5.0M), former Bayern Munich star and brand-new Real Madrid recruit. He is not cheap, but we can see him booking at least one clean sheet in the group and even more importantly, Alaba plays in the middle for his country and regularly takes on set-piece challenges as well.
Our second Austria fantasy pick was between Marko Arnautovic and Marcel Sabitzer (5.5M), and we ended up going with the latter. The RB Leipzig midfielder, who is rumoured to be in Juventus’ good books for this summer’s transfer window, forms an extremely dynamic and technical midfield with the previously mentioned Alaba for Austria. His versatility allows him to shine anywhere in the middle, but he performs best further up front and sometimes even all the way up front. This also explains his 9 goals and 7 assists in 39 games for Leipzig this season.
On paper, Belgium look to have been drawn in one of the most favourable groups of the tournament. As a result, we can imagine several of their players becoming popular fantasy picks at the start and over the course of the group stages. Every Belgian and every football enthusiast got a bit of a scare when Kevin de Bruyne (12.5M) had to come off after a collision with Antonio Rüdiger in the recent Champions League final, but the City midfielder has fortunately been cleared for inclusion in Belgium’s Euro2020 squad, although it looks like he could miss the opening match against Russia. Still, he should be a top pick for the tournament. KDB is one of the best midfielders in the world, instrumental to his squad and with a kind opening schedule.
One of the players who will be looking to profit from De Bruyne’s genius is Romelu Lukaku (11.5M). With 24 goals this season, the Inter Milan striker ended seventh on the goalscoring rankings of Europe’s five biggest leagues, playing a key role in his club’s domestic title success. For Belgium, Lukaku is not only a nailed-on starter, but also their all-time top scorer with 59 goals from 91 games. We’d be surprised if he doesn’t net at least once during the group stages.
|June 18||Czech Republic|
Croatia drew a pretty tough group with England, Czech Republic and Scotland, but they’re quite a good bunch themselves as well. Somehow, they keep producing top-class talent for the national team and they can combine it with some of the biggest names in world football. One of those well-known, experienced names is Ivan Perisic (8.0M). The Inter Milan midfielder/winger will be playing his 100th game for the national team on June 13th (27 goals, 22 assists), and with Ivan Rakitic and Mario Mandzukic having retired from the national team, Perisic will be looked at by the nation as a principal source of goals.
In the more affordable category of players, Croatia also offers a few interesting fantasy picks, like Mislav Orsic (5.5M). The 28-year Dinamo Zagreb winger has had a phenomenal season with 24 goals and 9 assists in 51 games, including a hat trick against Spurs in the Europa League Round of 16, and will be looking to carry that form into the European Championship. He currently sits on just 8 caps for Croatia (2 assists), but he’ll likely build on that tally as it will be difficult for coach Zlatko Dalic to keep him out of the starting eleven in his current form.
One of the lesser known squads comes from the Czech Republic this summer, but that doesn’t mean that it boasts no quality. On the contrary, the Czechs have the roster to create a hard-working, hard-to-beat unit, and the Premier League fans and FPL managers among us will definitely recognize a few of this season’s most popular FPL assets. Top of the list is Vladimir Coufal (5.0M), who had a fantastic debut season for West Ham at right-back this season. He’s strong, dynamic and loves to whip in crosses, leading to a more than decent 10 assists in all competitions. Coufal is an essential part of the Czech Republic’s set-up, both defensively and offensively, which might make him worth his price tag.
Tomas Soucek (5.0M) is another key part of the Czech squad who earns his living in the Premier League, at the Hammers, just like Coufal. And just like Coufal, Soucek had a great first full season in England. As a defensive midfielder, he has shown a keen tactical sense and an outstanding physique, as well as an excellent feeling for timing his forward runs. His 10 goals and 1 assist this season did not just appear out of thin air, after all.
At first sight, the Danish team seems to contain some very interesting targets as they combine quality players from top clubs, a decent overall team, relatively affordable player prices and a schedule with potential. No player embodies this combination more than Christian Eriksen (7.0M). The Inter Milan star is central to most of what Denmark do in attack and he is also first-choice for practically every set-piece. The team is built around him and coach Kasper Hjulmand gives him all the freedom he needs to do what he does best.
In a group with Switzerland, Ireland, Georgia and Gibraltar, Denmark conceded 6 goals in eight Euro2020 qualifier games, which is a decent average. The Danes can defend well and are not afraid to lean on their defence to book a result when necessary, which is why our eye fell on Simon Kjaer (4.5M). The central defender is a nailed-on half of the Danish central duo and represents certain budget-enabling value. We don’t expect too much from him against Belgium, but the Finland and Russia games could be interesting in terms of clean sheet potential.
|June 22||Czech Republic|
Harry Kane (13.5M) is the most expensive player in the entire FanTeam Euro 2020 Full Tournament game, so we contemplated whether picking him as part of our recommendations would be too easy or not, but there’s simply no getting around the Spurs man. England have a tough three games waiting for them and we would surprised if any of them end up being a very high-scoring one, but Kane is Kane. He has been spectacular at Spurs this season and he’s surrounded by a better team at the Three Lions, so he’s probably worth that considerable chunk of budget.
At the other end of the pitch, Harry Maguire (6.5M) is key to England’s hopes and dreams of European success. We were first set on Champions League winner Ben Chilwell for this pick, but with Luke Shaw coming off a great season, Maguire looks to be the only nailed-on defensive asset on the English team roster. Do keep an eye on his fitness in the build-up to the tournament, but he could be a good set-and-forget option during the group stages (and beyond, hopefully). Also do be aware that Trent Alexander-Arnold (aka TAA) has been ruled out of Euro 2020 through injury and is likely to be replaced in the England squad by James Ward-Prowse (another dead-ball specialist) or perhaps Jesse Lingard (England already have 3 quality 20/21 trophy-winning right-backs in their squad: Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier & Reece James).
Finland are one of the two countries making their European Championship debut, having never previously qualified for a major tournament. The Fins are definitely the underdog in Group B and though we don’t recommend focusing too much on their fantasy assets, the Finnish squad does contain some interesting differential / budget value, starting with Teemu Pukki (5.0M). The Norwich City striker, where he recorded 26 goals and 4 assists this season to help the club back to the Premier League, is probably the biggest name in the national team and the man all Finnish eyes will be on this summer. In the bargain striker category for the FanTeam Euro 2020 Full Tournament, there are few better options available.
Staying in the budget category, we’ve also highlighted goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky (4.0M). Finland will probably not keep many clean sheets this summer, but they might be a goldmine for save points (0.5 points per save). With Hradecky, Finland have a very experienced quality man between the sticks. He’s a starter for Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen, where he kept 10 clean sheets in 37 games this season. For Finland, his totals sit at 25 clean sheets from 64 games at the moment, which is not bad at all and which is why we think that your squad could do a lot worse than having Hradecky as your second goalie.
France are one of the absolute favourites for the Final this summer, but they will have to sweat for it. They were drawn into Group F with Germany, Portugal and Hungary, making this the “Group of Death” of the upcoming European Championship. Our first fantasy pick from Les Bleus is part sentiment and part stone cold fact: Karim Benzema (10.0M). The French forward has been a mainstay at Real Madrid for an incredible 11 years already, in which he played 559 games and scored 279 goals (plus 144 assists), but wasn’t called up for international duty for the past six years due to some private issues. Coach Didier Deschamps has now decided to recall the Madrid superstar and we’re expecting him to make an immediate impact as France’s starting number nine (Extra: he’s also less expensive on FanTeam than teammates Kylian Mbappé and Antoine Griezmann).
Much of France’s international footballing success in recent years is down to a rather defensive approach to games, building a very solid unit of world-class talent based on defensive discipline and speedy killers up front. Keeping that in mind, we figured that a defensive fantasy pick from France could be a smart investment. Seeing as all of France’s supposed starting defenders are priced at 6.5M, we have chosen right-back Benjamin Pavard (6.5M) as our Bleu. He had some injury issues this season, but nevertheless still featured in 36 games (1 goal, 2 assists), for German giants Bayern Munich. Pavard is pricey, but he’s also a starting and attack-minded right-back for one of the best teams in the tournament, hands down.