Tottenham training for Europa League

The Europa League sometimes gets forgotten in the heat of the Champions League, but it is still incredibly important to determining which leagues get spots in each competition. Leagues like the Premier League have made sure that the Europa League will be taken seriously, so they don’t lose an additional Champions League slot. Let’s check out the Round of 32 results of the Europa League.

The Round of 32 had 24 teams advance from the previous round, while 8 squads dropped down from the Champions League. All 32 teams were drawn together, with a 2-legged home and away format determining which 16 teams advanced. There is a good mix of European giants with small club upstarts, but only 16 were able to move on to the next round.

Spain and Germany led the way with 4 teams each remaining, while England and Italy had 3 each. Overall, the round of 32 had 16 nations with at least 1 team remaining. That has been cut down to 11 nations making up 16 teams in the Round of 16. Spain still has 4 teams in, while England has 3. The matches were exciting, full of drama all the way around.

The aggregate scorlines ranged from Valencia’s 10-0 beating of Rapid Wien, to Basel advancing on the away goals rule over Saint-Etienne 4-4. Fiorentina and Napoli took some damage and got knocked out, while Lazio holds Italy’s hopes of crowning a champion after taking out Galatasaray 4-2. England was 3 for 3 in the Round of 32, with Tottenham, Liverpool, and Manchester United all advancing. That is huge for the Premier League, who have had multiple teams struggle in European competitions over the past few years.

Now, there are 16 teams remaining, vying for the trophy and a coveted Champions League berth for next year. Ukranian club Shakhtar Donetsk will take on the Belgian club Anderlecht. Basel drew Sevilla, while Villarreal takes on a white hot Bayer Leverkusen. Sparta Prague will have their hands full with Lazio, while a clash of giants will see Borussia Dortmund take on Tottenham Hotspur. Fenerbahce and Braga face off as the only team remaining from their perspective countries. The Draw also matched up 2 sets of compatriots with Athletic Bilbao taking on Valencia, and Liverpool clashing with Manchester United.

Often the Europa League is a starting place for many youth stars to get their competitive debuts, but those will slow as the trophy comes closer. With 16 teams remaining, now the prize is within each teams grasp. But, there are still plenty of youngsters who will get a run in the competition. Teams like Manchester United have seen some new stars born in the competition, with Marcus Rashford emerging as a new force for the Red Devils.

The next round will begin on March 10th, with all teams playing the first leg. The second leg will be one week later on March 17th. The team with the best aggregate score will advance to the next round, with the away goals rule being in effect. Now is gut check time, and we will see which teams have the “it” factor.


Tags: , ,