Europa League has ‘death groups’, and Olympique de Sampaoli d azar

(Photo: Valery HACHE / AFP)

A day after defining the future of the Champions League, UEFA held this Friday, in Istanbul, Turkey, the draw for the groups for the 2021-2022 edition of the Europa League. The highlights are brackets B and E, which are considered “of death”, as well as bracket C. In Group E, Olympique de Marseille, commanded by Argentine coach Jorge Sampaoli, fell with Lazio, from Italy, to Galatasaray, from Turkey , and to Lokomotiv Moscow, from Russia.

Another more complicated formation is in fact Group B, with Monaco (France), PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands) and Real Sociedad (Spain) fighting for the direct spot in the knockouts. Austria’s Sturm Graz promises to be a mere supporting cast.

A group that calls the attention is the C, which has had two strong teams in Europe in recent years: Napoli, from Italy, and Leicester City, from England. Italians and English will also face Spartak Moscow, from Russia, and Legia Varsvia, from Poland.

With a new regulation, the first place in each group advances directly to the round of 16 and whoever finishes in second place goes to a preliminary round, the 1/16th final, to face the eight third place in the League group stage of Champions. The eight winners of these 1/16th clashes advance to take on the Europa League key leaders.

Those who finish third in the brackets will go to the knockout playoffs of the Conference League, UEFA’s new continental competition. The competition’s group stage starts on the 16th and is scheduled to end on December 9th. The final is scheduled for May 18, at the Ramn Snchez Pizjun stadium, in Seville, Spain.

BEST PLAYER – Villarreal forward Gerard Moreno was named the best player in the Europa League last season. Highlight of the champion team, the Spaniard got the better of Bruno Fernandes, Edinson Cavani and Paul Pogba, stars of Manchester United, runner-up.

The 29-year-old had 289 points in the election, a good distance for Bruno Fernandes, who was second with 160. Cavani was third, with 44. The jury that chose the winner was formed by the 48 coaches of the teams from the competition groups, in addition to 55 journalists from the European Media Association, one from each uefa member country – the same ones who voted in the Champions League awards and voted Brazilian Jorginho best of the season in Europe.

Gerard Moreno, in this way, joins a select group of stars who have already won the Europa League ace award, created in 2017. Previous winners were Pogba (2016-2017), Antoine Griezmann (2017-2018), Eden Hazard (2018-2019) and Romelu Lukaku (2019-2020).

Check out the Europa League groups:

Group A – Lyon-FRA, Rangers-ESC, Sparta Praga-RCH and Brondby-DIN;

Group B – Monaco-FRA, PSV Eindhoven-HOL, Real Sociedad-ESP and Sturm Graz-AUT;

Group C – Napoli-ITA, Leicester City-ING, Spartak Moscow-RUA and Legia Varsvia-POL;

Group D – Olympiakos-GRE, Eintracht Frankfurt-ALE, Fenerbahce-TUR and Royal Anturpia-BEL;

Group E – Lazio-ITA, Lokomotiv Moscow-RUS, Olympique Marseille-FRA and Galatasaray-TUR;

Group F – Braga-POR, Estrela Vermelha-SER, Ludogorets Razgrad-BUL and Midtjylland-DIN;

Group G – Bayer Leverkusen-ALE, Celtic-ESC, Betis-ESP and Ferencvaros-HUN;

Group H – Dnamo Zagreb-CRO, Genk-BEL, West Ham-ING and Rapid Vienna-AUT.