EURO 2012 Fantasy Round-Up
Anticipation has been building for months now, and we are only counting down the hours before Poland kick off the tournament in Warsaw with a game against Greece on the 8th of June. Euro 2012 also gives us the chance to flex our fantasy team managerial muscles, which have been lying dormant since the end of the Premier League season at the beginning of May. Thankfully, there are numerous websites that offer the armchair manager the opportunity to prove his (or her) prowess in all things football over the summer.
People play fantasy football for many different reasons, whether they think that they know better than the likes of the Trappatonis and Hodgsons of this world, or simply that they know more than their favourite team’s particular group of fans. Some play just for the banter and the bragging rights of a private league between friends, while others play to win the various prizes that could be on offer. And of course it turns even the most boring dead rubber game, Czech Rep versus Poland anyone? into a must see ninety minutes! Here we will look at a number of the biggest fantasy football competitions that are available for the Euro 2012 tournament, to see which ones are worth investing our valuable time in.
Firstly we should look at the official UEFA game of the tournament, which is presented in association with McDonalds. In this game you are given a budget of 100m and asked to pick 15 players for your squad. Your first 11 will gain points and you will have one substitute for the goalkeeper, defence, midfield and forward positions. Your designated captain will earn you double points for the round. There are six rounds, three for the group stages and three afterwards, and you are allowed only one transfer between the early rounds once the game kicks off, so getting your squad ready from the outset is very important.
Points wise the UEFA game should have you pouring over every incident in a match. On top of the usual points gained for playing, scoring, keeping a clean sheet etc. there are points available for every five recovered balls. This is added up from a player winning tackles and making clearances. Goalkeepers also gain an extra point for every three saves they make. Be warned though, UEFA have changed their definition of what constitutes an assist. Usually an assist is awarded to anyone who makes the pass before a teammate scores, but now they only consider an assist if the goal is scored immediately afterwards, if the goal scorer has taken it past an opposing player it’s considered another passage of play and the assist is lost.
So with lots of points on offer and the fact that it is the official game, people should have a large number of players to play against. A another popular game should be the Irish Times Fantasy Football competition, the paper has a large readership to draw from and has been running fantasy games for all types of sporting events for some time now. Unfortunately they still haven’t got the hang of running a decent fantasy game. With points only available for goals, assists and clean sheets, minus goals conceded, it would prove to be a very boring tournament with the majority of participants choosing the same players. It really is the one to avoid this summer.
Other newspapers make a better fist of the fantasy football format for the Euros. The Sun runs its DreamTeamFC website for the tournament, giving you a budget of 50m to pick your team. The Irish Daily Star ramps up the difficulty by only allowing you to pick 3 players from any single group. This ensures a good spread of players and means you have to keep an eye on every game played, as most points are given to the Star Man of the Match, crucial if you are to be up near the top of the leader board and in contention for prizes. The Sun has a similar points awarded to their Star Man, but also have extra points to any player awarded 7 or more in their match ratings. This and a fairer spread of points mean it is the best of the newspaper led fantasy games.
Sportal.com.au is better known for their rugby and aussie rules fantasy games, but this summer they give you a chance to be a football manager. There is no budget but they only allow you to pick two players per team during the group stage. You also get to choose a squad of 15 players and place your starting eleven in nine different formations, the most of any of the fantasy games we are looking at. Again like other games your selected captain gains double points for his efforts, but an added dimension this time is that your four subs earn half the points they would earn if they were in your starting eleven. There are lots of points on offer for the usual stats, playing 60 mins, goals, clean sheets, team wins etc. and it has all the ingredients to being one of the best fantasy games of the summer.
Another popular game will be Sky Sports Euro Fantasy Football. Similar to their premier league fantasy game, you have a budget of 75m and your captain scores double points. The key to this game seems to be the switching of your captain before every days matches. If the updating and navigation issues are ironed out from their normal game, it has every chance to be above average, but as it is, it isn’t very exciting.
Sky Sports will also be continuing their Super6 competition during the tournament. Top prize is £20,000 and all you have to do is predict six results correct. Simple, yes? If managing a team seems to take up too much of your time, but you still fancy proving your footballing knowledge, then games like these are perfect for you. TalkSport will be running a Euro Predictor where you earn points by correctly guessing the score of every game at the euros. And if picking the final score of games is not your cup of tea either, you could enter the ESPN Euro Bracket Predictor, where you purely enter who gets out of each group and who beats who in the knockout stages up until the final.
So with the competing nations sorting out their final 23 players for the tournament, it’s prime time to get your managerial hat on and begin formulating a plan to demonstrate to the world, or just your close friends, who knows the most about international football. Some of the best, most expensive players in the world are set to showcase their skills in Poland and Ukraine, but can you predict which ones will come out on top?
The games I looked at, so you know I did my homework!
- ESPN Euro Manager
- Sky Sports Euro Fantasy Football
- The Sun DreamTeamFC.com Euro Fantasy
- McDonalds UEFA Official Euro2012 Fantasy
- Irish Times Fantasy Football
- StarBets.ie Fantasy Euro 2012
- Sportal.com.au Euro Dream Team 2012
- Talk SPORT Euro Predictor
- Sky Sports Super 6
- ESPN Euro Bracket Predictor
- Telegraph Fantasy Football European Championships
- Metro Euro 2012 Fantasy Football
- FantasyLeague.com Free Pro Euro 2012
Posted by Robert McNamara, Sports Editor on at 5:11 pm.
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