8 teams remain in UEFA Europa League


President.Az | Wikimedia Commons

Sebastian Rodriguez

While most soccer enthusiasts are focused on the UEFA Champions League quarterfinalists, the UEFA Europa League is gaining traction with the tournament now down to the last eight teams.

Manchester United FC, AS Roma and six-time champion Sevilla FC are among the remaining contenders for the coveted trophy. Royale Union Saint-Gilloise, a new entrant, has also advanced to this stage of the competition.

Feyenoord Rotterdam, the Netherlands’ representative, is a side that plays high-pressing soccer, often creating many openings, yet struggling to convert them into goals. Their captain Orkun Kökçü has become a crucial member of Arne Slot’s team, contributing both defensively and offensively. The Dutch side’s fighting spirit and ability to come back from deficits make them a tough opponent.

Juventus FC, the Italian giant, is a team that likes to keep clean sheets, but whose attacking prowess is never in doubt with the likes of Ángel Di María, Dušan Vlahovic, Federico Chiesa and Filip Kostić in their ranks. Coach Massimiliano Allegri often employs a three-man defense but can adapt to different oppositions’ tactics.

Bayer 04 Leverkusen, the German team managed by Xabi Alonso, started slowly in the competition, but its youthful side has since gathered momentum. Its attacking threat comes from regular scoring wingers Moussa Diaby and Amine Adli. With midfielders Robert Andrich and Exequiel Palacios providing solid opportunities, they will prove a stern test for any opponent.

Manchester United is cruising to the quarterfinals, thanks in no small part to Marcus Rashford’s incredible goals. Coach Erik ten Hag rarely changes his 4-2-3-1 formation, with fullbacks providing width and attackers supporting a fluid central striker. The Red Devils’ attacking trio is creative, and they are not afraid to drop deep to create chances.

Italian side AS Roma is solid, but it also has skill. Coach José Mourinho employs a 3-4-2-1 system with three center-backs and two holding midfielders providing a shield. Paulo Dybala’s magical touches and long-range shots make him the key player for the Giallorossi.

Sevilla FC, the Spanish team, has had a rollercoaster campaign in this season’s Europa League. Coach Jorge Sampaoli appears to have settled on a back three, with midfielder Nemanja Gudelj playing as a center-back. Wingbacks provide width, and the attack boasts players like Bryan Gil, Suso, Lucas Ocampos and Youssef En-Nesyri, but they have struggled to find the back of the net regularly. Ivan Rakitić brings style, substance and experience to the midfield.

Sporting CP, the Portuguese side, has shown that anything is possible with determination. Coach Rúben Amorim deploys a 3-4-3 formation, with Pedro Gonçalves leading the line with seven goals in Europe this season. The team is talented but still learning on the job, with players like Antonio Adán, Sebastián Coates and Manuel Ugarte forming the spine.

Royale Union Saint-Gilloise, the Belgian side, has had a fairy-tale run so far. As newcomers to the competition, the team’s progress to the quarterfinals has been a surprise.

These teams will compete for the Europa League championship when it resumes in April.