Welcome to a new series of blogs about my fantasy team for the 2016 European football championships. In this first edition I will be discussing my selections ahead of the first round of games.

With €100 to spend on a squad of 15 players, it was certainly challenging to get all the players I wanted, and quite often had to make sacrifices to ensure I could select the best players available.

In goal I had to select two players, so I went with France’s Hugo Lloris for €6.0 and Yann Sommer from Switzerland who is a bargain at €5.0. Hugo Lloris is arguably one of the top three goalkeepers in the world, and with games against Albania, Romania and Switzerland he should be expecting to keep two clean sheets in the group stage. I know Yann Sommer plays in the same group, but I expect him to be my substitute ‘keeper however with games against Albania and Romania he would be a good shout as your No.1.

In my five man defense I have selected Jerome Boateng, Johan Djourou, Jordi Alba, Laurent Koscielny and Lukasz Piszcek. This defence cost me a total 0f €29.5, meaning I have so far spent €40.5 on my first 6 players. Boateng (Germany) and Piszcek (Poland) are both in the same challenging group, however Boateng should thrive with Neuer behind him, and Piszcek, albeit my substitute defender at this point, could provide points going forward. Djourou (Switzerland) and Koscielny (France) were both picked for the same reason their ‘keepers were, with games against Albania and Romania, and also the fact they have two class goalies behind them. Jorda Alba from Spain has a tricky group, but would be expected to pick up at least one clean sheet as well as contributing on the attack.

For my five man midfield I have chosen Mateo Kovacic, Radja Nainggolan, Paul Pogba, Granit Xhaka, and Dele Alli. I spent a total of €34.5 on this midfield and you can see why. All of these players are fantastic attacking forces who contribute regularly when playing. Granit Xhaka and Dele Alli in particular have had brilliant seasons for their club, in Xhaka’s case earning him a big money move to Arsenal. Paul Pogba is, well, Paul Pogba, and you certainly expect him to pop up with a goal or two at crucial times for France. Nainggolan is yet another fantastic attcking talent off the Belgian assembly line, whereas Mateo Kovacic is an unknown after little playing time for Madrid, so he will be on my bench.

In attack I have selected Mario Mandzukic for €8.0, Cristiano Ronaldo for €12.0 and Will Grigg for €5.0. Ronaldo is for sure the best European player and is integral for Portugal and how well they perform in the competition, so I will be expecting him to be my top points scorer as my captain. Mario Mandzukic is a proven goalscorer who bagged 10 Serie A goals for Juventus this year and will lead the line for Croatia. Meanwhile I’m sure everyone knows about the fantastic year Will Grigg, I had and is a nice, cheap pickup to compliment the expensive Cristiano Ronaldo.

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If you think you can do better, then why not join my league ‘Fake Madrid’ using the code 17731UUM and challenge me and everyone else.

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