Intro to Euro 2016 Fantasy Football

DraftKings is excited to announce that it is offering daily fantasy football contests on every day of the European Championships in France this summer. Next to its more elaborate sibling the FIFA World Cup, the Euros are one of the periods that football fans look forward to every two years. The launch comes at the same time as we move from 11-man to 8-man rosters and plenty more on the rationale behind that move can be found here. Otherwise, read on for a run-down on Euro 2016.

How do the Euros work?

Euro 2016 will be played at 10 stadiums across France from the opening game on Friday 10th June to the final on Sunday 10th July. 24 teams qualified for the tournament after a two-year qualifying campaign that saw the top two in every group advance and then the third placed sides take part in a number of playoffs to determine who qualified.

This is the first time that 24 teams have taken part in the tournament after UEFA decided to expand from the 16 teams that took part in 2012 and it means the likes of Wales, Albania, Hungary and a clutch of others were able to quality.

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Knockout stages

Once the group stages have finished, the two teams in every group will automatically advance to the round of 16 where there is also room for four of the best third placed teams from the group stage. From there eight teams head to the quarter finals before the semi-finals and final.

What will contests look like?

Anyone that has played Champions League, Europa League, or smaller Premier League slates on DraftKings will know the drill here. Every day there will be a contest including all the games from that day.

The favourites

Germany World Cup Win

France: The hosts are always in with a shout at any tournament but people are getting excited about this French side in a way that they haven’t since their World Cup 1998 win. Manager Didier Deschamps has built a side around central midfield lynchpin Paul Pogba, who is the star of a side that also contains Champions League finalist Antoine Griezmann up front and 1-day fantasy football sensation Dimitri Payet. They should win their group at a canter and have won the last two tournaments held in their home country.

Germany: The reigning World Cup winners, the Germans have to be considered in any tournament, even when their side looks poor. The bad news for everyone is that this side is far from poor and hasn’t been for some time. Since Joachim Löw took the job, he has made at least the semi-finals in every tournament and Germany were only beaten by a resurgent Italy last time out. Thomas Müller has been prolific this season and they have a midfielder in Mesut Özil who managed 19 assists this season. Even though they have a tough group, write them off at your peril.

Spain: Winners of the last two European Championships, Spain were hugely disappointing at the last World Cup and will have to improve. They still have an incredibly talented team and a side built on a backbone of players from two of the Champions League finalists in Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid plus plenty of Barcelona players thrown in for good measure. Cesc Fabregas, Pedro and Andres Iniesta are all back for a stab at a third Euro title in a row but up front there will likely be an unfamiliar lone man in the shape of Aritz Aduriz or Nolito. Another side with a simple group, expect them to be there when the champion is decided.

England:
It’s been 50 years since football came home and this time, like every tournament before it, optimism is beginning to hit fever pitch. An unbeaten qualifying campaign combined with some exciting talent coming through in the shape of Dele Alli, Jack Wilshere and Harry Kane, mean that Roy Hodgson’s men are fourth favourites. If the side led by Wayne Rooney can get off to an impressive start in an average group, anything is possible.

Belgium: At the top of almost every list of possible champions, Belgium have been number one in the world in recent months on more than one occasion and were unlucky not to do better than the quarter finals at the last World Cup. Going forward they are the most potent side in the competition with Kevin de Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku all expected to star for a team that has a very tough group (Italy, Sweden and Ireland). Win the group and that’s when everyone will start to believe.