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Euro 2024 fantasy football: cheat sheet with best players and tips

Harry Kane celebrates after scoring for England in Euro 2024 qualifying
Harry Kane will be a popular Euro 2024 Fantasy Football selection - PA/Nick Potts

Fantasy Football has become an integral part of many fans’ weekly routine, and you can keep up the habit this summer by playing the Euro 2024 Fantasy Football game.

Unlike a 38-game Premier League season, there is not much chance to recover from a slow start to your campaign, so it is important to nail your selections from the off. Here are some tips to help you do just that.

How to select players

You have a budget of €100 million to spend on a squad of 15 players. To put that figure in some context, the game’s most expensive players are France’s Kylian Mbappe and England’s Harry Kane at €11 million. Your 15-player squad must feature two, goalkeepers, five defenders, five midfielders and three forwards.

You can line up in any formation you choose, as long as you’ve picked one goalkeeper, at least three defenders, at least two midfielders and at least one forward. There is a limit to how many players from one national team you can select, starting at a maximum of three from one country in the group stage, and increasing each round.

For each matchday throughout the competition you will need to select 11 starters from your 15-man squad, as well as a captain who will score double points. There is also the option to change captains to a player involved in a later game if your captain has not scored as many points as you would like.

Between matchdays you can make a maximum of four substitutions.

Transfers are part of the game, but your quota will vary throughout the tournament. You are only allowed two free transfers per match day in the group stage, an unlimited number before the knockout rounds start with the last-16, and then three, four and five per matchday thereafter leading up to the final

How to score points

Players score one point for every appearance and an additional point for playing 60 minutes or more. Defenders will score six points for scoring a goal, midfielders five and forwards four.

Goalkeepers and defenders will win four points apiece for keeping a clean sheet.

Goalkeepers will win one point for every three saves made, and can scoop up five points for saving a penalty (not including penalty shootouts). Players in any position can also gain two points by winning a penalty.

You want to avoid deductions. Players can lose three points for a red card or two for an own goal, two points for missing a penalty (not including shootouts) and one point for every yellow card. Players can also lose a point for conceding a penalty. Goalkeepers and defenders will lose one point for every two goals conceded.

Tips

The case for the defence

In Premier League Fantasy Football, it often pays to front-load your team with as much attacking talent as possible. However, the different dynamics of international tournament football mean it might pay to prioritise defence. Summer tournaments are typically low-scoring affairs, and it is fair to expect fewer goals than a record-breaking Premier League season. Portugal conceded just two goals and 17 shots on target across 10 games in qualification, surprisingly stingy for a team managed by Roberto Martinez. Ruben Dias at €6 million is likely to be a mainstay, while Diogo Dalot could be a value selection at €5 million after a strong season with Manchester United.

Consider penalty takers

Uefa’s interpretation of the handball law is far less liberal (or far more ludicrous) than we see in the Premier League. With VAR also in use, recent tournaments have produced a high number of penalties. The likes of Kane and Cristiano Ronaldo are the obvious names when it comes to scoring penalties but other countries have some more unorthodox takers. Rodri, available at €6.5 million, takes penalties for Spain, and likewise €7 million-rated Ilkay Gundogan for Germany. Just another reason to find a place for two midfield masters.

Look out for players in different roles

A potential edge to gain on the competition is identifying players who will be deployed in a different tactical role than we see at club level. One example of this is Oleksandr Zinchenko, who is listed at €5.5 million and plays in a more advanced midfield role with Ukraine rather than at left-back as he does at Arsenal. Germany’s Joshua Kimmich, at €6.5 million, is another player who traverses full-back and midfield roles.

Joshua Kimmich celebrates a late Germnay goal against Hungary at Euro 2020
The versatile Joshua Kimmich will feature prominently for Germany - Reuters/Alexander Hassenstein

Shop for emerging striking talent

A shortage of centre-forwards has been a theme of recent international tournaments, but there are some promising players emerging. Denmark have 21-year-old Rasmus Hojlund, available at €7.5 million million. Benjamin Sesko is the same age and a transfer target for Europe’s biggest clubs, and the Slovenian will set you back just €7 million. Another option is Adam Hlozek at just €5.5 million. The Bayer Leverkusen striker could partner club team-mate Patrik Schick up top for Czech Republic. Niclas Füllkrug is a late developer, but the German led the line for a Borussia Dortmund team who reached the Champions League final. At €7 million, cheaper than Alvaro Morata, he could prove value playing for the host nation.

Defenders who take corners

Set-piece takers will feature prominently in the assist rankings, and there are a couple of teams who ask defenders to take their corners. If Italy want a left-footer to take a corner, they sometimes use Inter left wing-back Federico Dimarco, who is available at €5 million. The same is true of Scotland’s Andy Robertson, available at €5.5 million. Trent Alexander-Arnold would be a candidate to do likewise for England, if he gets on the pitch.

Pay attention to the draw

This might sound obvious, but is worth remembering. A team can play a maximum of seven matches in Euro 2024, and three of them come in the group stage. Italy, Spain and Croatia are in a devilish-looking group, and will play tough matches against each other. France are in a group with Holland, Austria and Poland. If you wanted to go the flat-track bully route, then Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku at €9 million looks a strong candidate. He was top goalscorer in qualifying and Belgium are in a soft group with Slovakia, Romania and Ukraine. Even if you do not fancy Belgium to win the thing, four or five Lukaku goals in the group stage could propel your Fantasy team up the leaderboard.

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