Extra Time: Six games to help beat the post-Euro 2020 blues

By Luke Albigés,
Euro 2020 came to a close in dramatic fashion last night, and many footy fans will likely be finding that the end of the month-long tourney has left a void in their lives. Not to worry — we've got a few ideas that may help. Expect a few fairly obvious picks, as well as some that you might not have considered or realised were as readily available as they are... here are our suggestions for anyone who doesn't want to let the summer of soccer end just yet.

FIFA / PES

FIFA 21

We've rolled the two most obvious options into one here, as fans of the sport likely already have one or the other of these sat on their Xbox ready to go. Both are also available to Game Pass Ultimate subscribers, so many of you will be able to give either a go easily. If you're looking for a faithful recreation of match day-style presentation with all the official likenesses and licenses, FIFA is the place to go — it's the biggest game in its genre for a reason, and this is it. PES arguably has it beat on the pitch in terms of gameplay, but a lot of people are turned off by Konami's game due to how its weird selective licensing leads to a smattering of real world teams, stadia, and events, surrounded by fictional ones and analogues. It's pretty jarring, but PES still plays great if you can look past that. Both games have their shortcomings, to be fair — FIFA is famously packed to the nosebleed seats with microtransactions, which rubs many folks up the wrong way in a full-price game — so it comes down to personal preference at the end of the day.
FIFA 21 Standard Edition Xbox One & Xbox Series X|S

FIFA 21 Standard Edition Xbox One & Xbox Series X|S

This Dual Entitlement contains both Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S versions .

Win as one in EA SPORTS™ FIFA 21, with new ways to team up on the street and in the stadium to enjoy even bigger victories together.


eFootball PES 2021 SEASON UPDATE STANDARD EDITION

eFootball PES 2021 SEASON UPDATE STANDARD EDITION

Celebrate 25 years of PES with the eFootball PES 2021 Season Update* - available at a special anniversary price!



Rocket League

Patch v1.61

So long as you're not too precious about needing players to have arms and legs, Rocket League is one of the best modern twists on soccer. The term 'easy to pick up, hard to master' gets thrown around way too often in video game discourse, but it's never been more accurate than here — beginners can have a blast just bumping into the ball haphazardly, while experts can pull off weaving dribbles (even while upside down and in the air) and pick out aerial balls with clinical precision. Highlight reel finishes in sports games can often feel somewhat cheapened by the fact that so many elements are out of your control, but a finesse finish in Rocket League always feels absolutely amazing due to just how directly skill and spectacle are correlated. This is a great way to enjoy all the best parts of the sport while putting some distance between those real world players, teams, and events, so it could be just what you need right now if you're already starting to go into withdrawal.
Rocket League®

Rocket League®

PLAY ROCKET LEAGUE FOR FREE!

Download and compete in the high-octane hybrid of arcade-style soccer and vehicular mayhem! Unlock items in Rocket Pass, climb the Competitive Ranks, compete in Competitive Tournaments, complete Challenges, enjoy cross-platform progression and more! The field is waiting. Take your shot!



Football Manager

football manager

If you're the kind of person who spent most of Euro 2020 berating the choices of any of the national team managers, here's your chance to prove that you can do better. Sports Interactive has long been a front-runner in the simulation/management side of sporting games, so if you'd rather handle team sheets and finances than get involved directly, there are few better options. It's worth bearing in mind that the Xbox Edition is rather pared back compared to the PC release, so if you want the fully-featured experience, you'll be better off going with the PC version if the option is available to you. This kind of game absolutely isn't for all sports fans — it can feel more like spreadsheet management than football management at times — but if you've enjoyed the more in-depth career modes in the likes of FIFA and PES over the years, it's probably at least worth trying to take that to the next level. And to make that easier, Football Manager 2021 is also available with Xbox Game Pass. Get that suit on and get down to business.
Football Manager 2021 Xbox Edition

Football Manager 2021 Xbox Edition

Football Manager 2021 Xbox Edition brings the depth, detail, and drama of the world’s favourite football management simulation series to Xbox.
Experience the closest thing to being a real manager by taking charge of the world’s greatest football teams and playing the beautiful game your way. FM21 Xbox achieves football authenticity that other management games can only aspire to.

Based on FM Touch, FM21 Xbox is fully optimised for victory with the Xbox Controller for Series X|S and Xbox One.


Football Manager 2021

Football Manager 2021

Unrivalled simulation gaming. No game gets you closer to the dream of managing the world’s best football teams.
FM21 is a game that rewards planning and knowledge but, unlike other games, there’s no pre-defined ending or script to follow, simply endless opportunities. Every club has a story to tell and it’s up to you to write it.
Choose the club and the challenge that best suits your ambitions. There are more than 2,000 playable clubs from 50+ top footballing nations to pick from to start your journey. The choice is in your hands.
With a database featuring more than 500,000 real life players and staff, your scouting team will find players to help make your squad better. There's also likely to be a prospect or two in the youth team knocking on the door of the first team. Can you develop their skills and turn them into a world-beater?
Craft tactical strategies, formations and play styles for every occasion to maximise your club’s chances of winning football matches and trophies. Fast-track your success with popular tactics from the real world of football or develop your own unique style.
Immerse yourself in the spectacle of matchday and revel in the glory of management as your planning pays off on the pitch before your very eyes. You can almost taste the victory.
NEW FOR THIS SEASON
Stamp Your Style
Communicating with your players and the media has never been more purposeful or realistic. Gestures enable you to express yourself more clearly, while Quick Chats improve the short conversations part of day-to-day life as a manager. In FM21, others will feel the impact of your words and know the sort of manager you are.
Matchday Magic
Every fixture is now a true spectacle. You’ll now receive better analysis and advice in the pre-match build-up as well as more reaction and data post-match. You’ll benefit from our brand new xG system, which illustrates how well or badly your team performed relative to the chances they created. Those data improvements combine with a remodelled match UI to bring you closer to the action.
Boss The Market
New staff roles, meetings and interactions freshen up one of the game’s most popular areas. Recruitment meetings ensure that you and your scouting team are on the same page, both for the short- and long-term. You’ll also now be able to approach agents directly about a player's interest in joining your club, mimicking how deals are done in the real footballing world.
Revel In Your Glory
Re-live your campaigns and revel in your success like never before. A new season review experience picks out your best moments on and off the pitch, while showpiece victories feel much sweeter with improved title presentations and masses of media attention.



Blood Bowl

1

Yes, we know that this fantasy sport game is closer to American football or rugby than soccer. But if the Euros left you with any pent-up aggression that you need to work out of your system, where better to do it than in a sports game where going in for a tackle so monstrous that it takes your opponent's head clean off is actually encouraged? Formations and strategies are key in the turn-based world of Blood Bowl, as is prioritising turn order to make your riskier plays after safer ones. You see, any failed action leads to a turnover, immediately passing control to your opponent and often setting up dangerous counter-attacking moves. Campaign play can be rough to begin with (players take a long time to improve their abilities and can be prone to failure before they do), but it's a riot once you start to build a bit of momentum. Blood Bowl 2 is frequently discounted, so it's probably worth holding off for a price drop if you haven't already picked it up for a few bucks in a previous sale, but it's an interesting option all the same, especially if meaty challenges are your jam.
Blood Bowl 2

Blood Bowl 2

TOUCHDOWN! Blood Bowl 2 smashes Warhammer and American football together, in an explosive cocktail of turn-based strategy, humour and brutality, adapted from Games Workshop’s famous boardgame. Lead the star team Reikland Reavers in the new solo story campaign or organize championships, create your own teams comprised of eight races from the Warhammer world and trade players in the online persistent mode.



Sensible World of Soccer

Screenshot 1

This all-time classic actually predates the original release of that song (you know, the perennially inaccurate account of the sport's living arrangements), having first launched in 1994. It remains as eminently enjoyable as ever today, thanks in no small part to its blistering pace, simple one-button control scheme, and near-endless array of modes and options. Those who have grown accustomed to modern sports games' shopping lists of skill moves and player traits may find it a little on the basic side, but honestly, that's always been the beauty of Sensi — there's a surprising amount of depth to SWOS despite how simple it seems, and the quick matches are perfect for that one-more-go gameplay and can let you finish entire competitions inside a single session. For anyone who grew up with the game, Sensible World of Soccer also has the power of nostalgia on its side, both as the defining football game of its era, and with countless team sheets of (admittedly butchered) 90s player names that will send older minds racing back to the halcyon days of sticker albums, crazy hair, and unfortunate rap cameos.
SWOS

SWOS

Sensible World of Soccer is the classic 90’s football game reborn with enhanced graphics! Take on your friends online now in this fantastic pick up and play football game. Play a quick game, or manage your team over a full season with a fully immersive tactics editor.



Will you be firing up any of these to right the wrongs of Euro 2020, or just to keep the footy fun going away from the drama, delight, and disappointment that the international stage so often brings? Let us know!
Luke Albigés
Written by Luke Albigés
Hey, I'm Luke! I've been playing games since way back in the 8-bit days, and have spent the last 15+ years writing and talking about them professionally for anyone and everyone who would let me. Monster Hunter fanatic, wearer of many fine hats, and always up for a raid.