Enjoyed by millions all over the world, ‘FIFA’ is by far the most well-loved, entertaining and successful football video game of all time. Since its inception in 1993, the Electronic Arts ‘FIFA’ series has been available on nearly 40 different platforms, in more than 50 different countries and has sold well over 100 million copies, making it one of the best-selling video game franchises. FIFA 12 holds the record for the fastest selling sports game of all time, shifting 3.3 million copies in its first week of release and more than two billion online games were played on FIFA 13.
The latest edition of the game, FIFA 14, was released on 24th September 2013 and is the best version yet. There are lots of new features, such as ‘teammate intelligence’ and ‘real ball physics’, whilst the Career Mode has been revamped to provide a more realistic experience. The gameplay has been re-energized and with brand new Xbox and PlayStation consoles out well in time for Christmas, it promises to be the most successful FIFA game yet.
The only problem with the game is knowing which team to be. In this article, I’ll assess the best Football League teams in the game, for both gameplay and Career Mode.
Bolton Wanderers are one of the best Football League teams to do a career with on FIFA 14. They have the basis of a very good team but they also have a transfer kitty £7 million to bring in new players. They have an extremely good midfield with the likes of Stuart Holden, Jay Spearing and Josh Vela who has a potential rating of 79. There is lots of youth in the team, so there is plenty to build on in the future. There forward line is strong – Jermaine Beckford is the main man with 86 sprint speed and 73 finishing – and they also have the luxury of two 70+ rated Goalkeepers. The only slight concern is that the defence is not as strong as some other Championship teams but you should be able to make a push for the Premier League in your first season with this Bolton. Star Man – Stuart Holden, CM: Rated 74
In terms of gameplay, there are few better Championship teams to use that Brighton. They are a very penetrative attacking unit, with pace, power and good finishing stats. If you use their default wide 4-3-3 formation, there is a choice of wingers you can use. Will Buckley can play on either wing and has 88 sprint speed. Added with his 83 rated stamina, it makes for quite a fearsome combination designed to put full-backs on the back foot. The predominately left-sided Kazenga LuaLua has incredible movement stats (84 sprint speed, 90 acceleration and agility) and also has 82 shot power and 77 long shots, so playing him of the left and cutting in onto his stronger right food could be a good tactic. If you wanted to pursue a career with them, they have a reasonable £5 million transfer budget and a few young gems in Lewis Dunk and Jake Forster-Caskey, who can both grow to the high 70’s, perhaps even the low 80’s. Star Men – Tomasz Kuszczak, GK & Liam Bridcutt, CM: Both rated 74
Whilst Leicester do not the best ratings of the Championship teams, with an average age of just over 23, the Foxes would be a quality choice to use in a Career. 20-year-old Liam Moore has a potential of 77 and there are a few other young defenders who can be used in the Cup competitions in order to develop them. Up front, Jeffery Schlupp has 88 sprint speed and plenty of room for growth, Chris Wood can grow into the high 70’s (and has decent finishing stats) whilst in midfield Danny Drinkwater, Andy King, Anthony Knockaert and Matthew James can reach between the 75-80 mark. When these players reach their potential, they will be able to be sold on for a healthy profit. Leicester also start with a £8 million budget so promotion is a definite possibility early on in your career. Star Man – Kasper Schmeichel, GK: Rated 73 (David Nugent, ST: rated 72)
In terms of strength in depth, there are few better teams that QPR. With two superb goalkeepers, a defence good enough for the Premier League and some quality attacking talent, QPR are the team to beat in the Championship. With £9 million to spend, they are a terrific team to use for a career – it would be hard not to get them promoted! They have a plethora of young talent in the likes of Armand Traore, Matt Phillips and Charlie Austin who all have 75+ potential and can still be a part of your QPR career in five or six seasons time. QPR’s appeal on this game doesn’t just stop at Career Mode – with a squad to rival a few Premier League teams, QPR would be a brilliant team to use in Online Seasons or in a Tournament. Star Man – Julio Cesar, GK: Rated 82 (QPR also have four 76 rated players – Rob Green, Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Junior Hoilett and Niko Kranjcar, whilst Yossi Benayoun is rated 77)
Wigan are, in my opinion, the best Championship team to use in Career Mode – they are very organised, have a cool £8 million transfer budget and are in the Europa League. Despite their squad having an average age of over 26, the Latics also have a wealth of exciting young talent; ‘keeper Lee Nicholls, Thomas Rogne and Callum McManaman are all in their early 20’s, whilst James McLean and Ryan Shotton can still grow plenty – to ratings 79 and 74 respectively. There is a wide range of attacking midfield talent in Nick Powell, Jordi Gomez and Shaun Maloney who all have decent stats (particularly Maloney who has very good movement and skill stats) and up front they have Grant Holt, who has impressive power stats and 80 rated finishing. Star Man – Ali Al-Habsi, GK: Rated 78 (they also have a couple in 75 rated players in Ivan Ramis and Shaun Maloney)
Elsewhere in the Championship, Huddersfield have a young team with lots of room to build. They could be a good team to use for a career, especially with James Vaughan up front, with pace to burn and decent attacking stats (finishing – 74). They don’t have the best budget but it wouldn’t be too hard to find a few bargains in the lower leagues. Watford are one of the best teams to use in gameplay. They have plenty of attacking quality in the likes of Ikechi Anya (92 sprint speed) and Hector Bellerin who, despite a poor overall rating, has impressive movement stats whilst Troy Deeney has 87 strength and 72 finishing. They are also defensively sound with the likes of Marco Cassetti, Joel Ekstrand and Nyron Nosworthy.
In League 1, Coventry have an unbelievable frontline which consists of Callum Wilson, Chris Dagnall, Leon Clarke and Chris Maguire, so there is plenty of room for rotation. Their defence and midfield have reasonable ratings and with a few youngsters in the squad, they are a good team to pursue a career with. Money goes much further in the lower leagues so the likes of Wolves, Sheffield United and Peterborough are all worth using for a career, because of the relatively large transfer budgets they have.
In terms of gameplay, Bradford City have a very good attacking unit, with James Hanson and Nahki Wells – the perfect ‘big and little’ partnership. Hanson has 91 stamina, 88 strength and 82 jumping whilst Wells boasts 90 sprint speed and 84 agility. Leyton Orient, Brentford and Rotherham United are decent all round teams, but with some room to build and it could be worth doing a career with those three, trying to get them promoted.
The obvious choices to do careers with in League 2 are Portsmouth and Fleetwood Town. With Portsmouth there is the incentive of return them to former glories and you get a healthy £650,000 budget in your first season. They have a few young players, in the likes of Danny East and Jed Wallace, which can be developed and be an integral part of your Portsmouth career in years to come. Fleetwood have an incredible £1.1 million to spend and an already brilliant team which includes the likes of Steven Schumacher and Jeff Hughes who are both rated in the mid-60’s.
Burton Albion have a very good front line, with Rene Howe and Billy Kee both rated 61. Oxford United have one of League 2’s strongest teams and they are perfect for online matches, and other forms of gameplay, and also Career Mode. If you are looking for an interesting and challenging Career League 2 is definitely the league for you. Newport County, Cheltenham Town and Northampton Town all have the basis of strong teams which could be improved in a career, whilst it could be a fun task trying to do an Accrington Stanley Career – the club have a low budget and a weak squad, in terms of ratings, but with a few free agents and cheap additions to the squad, you could make a surprise push for the top half, and look to build for the future.