I’ve spent the weekend having a look at the fixtures for the Euros and reading up on the game rules. It looks very similar to the World Cup game. 20 transfers across the tournament which can be used at any point, but only become active the next day if a player has already played on the day of the transfer.
Before I go much further, I would certainly point out that this is a much faster paced game. It’s also much more of a lottery as it’s hard to predict what might happen with so many good players across different teams. As we’ve seen in the past, there have been some very unpredictable results in big international competitions. I’m also not really up to speed with who plays for who on the international stage (more on that shortly) so I wouldn’t recommend that anyone follows my team exactly. I’ll be doing the best I can but it could easily go either way in terms of a good or bad performance.
From my experience with the World Cup game, I’d say there are a few principles for a successful tournament:
– Use the 20 transfers wisely to target the best fixtures. The earlier group stage is a good example where we could target easy fixtures and also move players around to get more game time. As an example, starting with players who play their first game earlier could allow us to get two games for those players, then switch to players from a team with two fixtures remaining.
– We also need a good core of players who might go deep into the tournament. Picking players for the longer term from some of the favourites to lift the trophy will help ensure we don’t race through the transfer budget.
– Finally having a good understanding of who is likely to start for their country is vital. Once your team is locked in, if a player doesn’t start, you’ll need to use a transfer to switch them out. Having a good idea of who is going to start can be essential for not burning transfers. It’s also very difficult to predict though.
If we take each one of these points, I’ll outline what research and planning I’ve been doing to set my team up.
I honestly think it’s possible to do well in this tournament without much knowledge of players in international football. If we simply start by looking at how the fixtures fall this will give us a huge advantage over other people.
I’ve mapped out the fixtures using the spreadsheet below and have included a graphic of my plan. The key here is game difficulty and the dates on which these games fall. The numbers next to each team represent where they were in the bookmaker’s odds for winning the tournament, which I thought was a good indication of how good or bad they might be.
So what can we take from this? Firstly it’s clear that Spain and Netherlands have the easier group draws. Which could mean they are more likely to pick up clean sheets and a lot of goals. It could also mean that they rest players for the last game if they have qualified.
What is also interesting is the timings of the fixtures. We could easily pick a player from the Netherlands such as Depay for his first two games. In the meantime, France and Germany play each other but won’t make it to their second fixture before Netherlands play theirs. As a result, after the Netherlands play their second fixture, we could swap Depay for someone like Mbappe and get two further fixtures out of him before the end of the group stage. This would be 4 appearances from that striker position rather than 3.
I haven’t got to the stage where I’ve decided how I’ll tackle this yet but this will be the basis of my planning when it comes to picking a starting team.
I found it difficult to compare players from the big nations by price using the Dream Team website, as a result, I’ve placed this data into a single table. I’ve dropped an image of this below but there’s also a link to the spreadsheet as well. This allows me to quickly scan across all of the players from each team to attempt to spot a bargain. As an example, when searching for a keeper, we know the Netherlands have a decent group in terms of easier opening fixtures. Someone like Krul stands out as a decent cheap option compared to the other keepers at only 3m. The big question is will he start. If we are confident that he will, he could be a fantastic budget saving pick. This is easy to spot using the table I’ve created. I’ve also highlighted players in green who could be likely to start.
Within the same spreadsheet, you’ll also see links to a tab for each country. In here, I’ve mapped out each nation, looked at their past 9 games of whoscored and jotted down all of the statistics around appearances, clean sheets, goals scored, assists and 7+ ratings achieved. As I’ve mentioned, I’m not massively up to speed on who starts for each country so I’m going to rely on this data to help me pick my starting line up. I’m also going to put together a separate blog where I pick out some of my top prospects from each nation.
My next step is to start planning out a starting 11 based on the earlier fixtures in the table above. I’m hoping to plan this as far as the knockout stage by allowing between 7-10 transfers. I will post a further update when I make some progress with this. It’s worth noting that my team will be based on only entering one team and for that reason, I’ll probably spread my team across various nations to spread the risk. If I were to be entering more teams, I’d probably make defensive blocks from all of the top nations and then drop the teams which got off to a poor start. However, this post is solely focusing on having one crack at it.