Videogame developer EA Sports is currently putting the finishing touches to its team list for FIFA 17. Who’ll be added to the 650-strong sides included last year? Ben Wilson runs down the essential new (or returning) inclusions…
We know the catalogue of women’s sides in the game is set to be expanded once again, and a certain very famous Scottish side is nailed on to feature after recently securing promotion to the top flight. But what of other missing leagues, or international squads headed to Euro 2016 but not included in FIFA 16? And, for that matter, Ultimate Team stars who may be removed after starting new lives in China? All of these are covered below. Let’s hope EA is reading…
The most obvious of the lot. Fresh off promotion from the Scottish Championship, it’s 99% certain that the blue half of Glasgow will make its return in FIFA 17, after being dropped from FIFA 16 over a licensing disagreement. It’s more good news after that Old Firm derby penalty shoot-out victory last weekend.
With Brazilians Ramires (pictured) and Alex Teixeira joining Jiangsu in mega-money January deals, Ultimate Team players have been especially vocal about adding the Chinese Super League next season in order to retain their favourites year-on-year. Should the full league be included it’d also mean FUT reprieves for Gervinho, Paulinho and Demba Ba.
Albania, Croatia, Iceland, Slovakia & Ukraine
FIFA is a club game, but to our eyes all qualifiers to major national tournaments should be represented too. In Euro 2016’s case, that would mean five new international sides who didn’t feature last time around, including those of Luka Modric, Gylfi Sigurdsson (both pictured) and Martin Skrtel.
At the other end of the international scale are Europe’s least successful footballing nation. San Marino have long been requested by fans, to the point of a (not necessarily legal) patch devoted to them being made for FIFA 09. This year there’s even an online campaign to get them in the game, via the social media hashtag #SanMarinoEnFIFA17 and change.org petition.
Tranmere Rovers & Cheltenham Town
Relegation from League Two means the harshest fate possible in FIFA world: complete removal from the game. After missing out on FIFA 16 as a result, Cheltenham’s storming Conference season ensures a return in FIFA 17. There’ll by no such joy for Rovers – unless EA adds the National League license, which would also see virtual comebacks for Torquay United, Grimsby and Lincoln too.
Maccabi Tel Aviv
The 22-time Israeli champions were added to this year’s PES as a free DLC team (pictured), but remain AWOL from EA’s series. That’s despite the Israeli top flight topping an independent fan vote for the most wanted new league, with more than 380,000 votes. There may be hope for Tal Ben Haim’s FIFA career yet.
Norway, Japan & Cameroon (ladies)
We’re already 99% certain the list of 12 women’s teams is being expanded to include Norway, following an Instagram image of midfielder Ada Hegerberg getting her face scanned. Japan must surely be an imminent add too, having won the World Cup in 2011 and finished as runners-up to the USA last year, while 2015 surprise package Cameroon would be the first African women’s team to feature.
Chelsea, Arsenal, & Manchester City (ladies)
More FIFA 16
If more female international sides are on the way, then why not domestic ones, too? EA has already done half the job by securing likenesses for the likes of Steph Houghton (City), Casey Stoney (Arsenal), and Chelsea pair Eni Aluko and Karen Carney (both pictured). The full WSL seems inevitable eventually, even if it isn’t fully implemented this year.