The Premier League will retain four Champions League places for the 2017/18 season. Panic over, ladies and gents.
Spain, Germany and England each hold four Champions League slots, but Italy’s Serie A had been hoping to overhaul the Premier League in UEFA’s coefficient tankings system.
But those hopes were ended on Wednesday night when Juventus blew a 2-0 lead to crash out 4-2 after extra time against Bayern Munich, with the Germans securing a 6-4 aggregate lead.
Juve’s exit leaves Serie A with just one club in European competition. Lazio can add a maximum of 2.5 coefficient points to Italy’s score by winning the Europa League, but England are 3.97 points in front – an unassailable lead, according to ESPN.
Despite England failing to have more than one team in the quarter-finals of the Champions League – and likely the Europa League too, with Tottenham three goals down to Borussia Dortmund after the first leg – only Germany and Spain have outperformed English clubs in Europe this season.
Serie A clubs scored 19.000 points last season, the first time they had outscored Premier League clubs since 2005-06.
Italian clubs needed to again perform to a similar standard, with Premier League clubs underperforming, to overtake England.
But Italy’s chances were harmed badly by Sampdoria’s defeat in the third qualifying round of the Europa League. That essentially neutralised any effect from Southampton and West Ham both failing to make the group stage of the same competition.
Fiorentina’s defeat to Tottenham in the round-of-32 in the Europa League was a crucial blow, and now there is no mathematical chance Italy overtaking England.
The news will be welcomed by the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United and West Ham, who will all have ambitions of overhauling Manchester City, who currently occupy fourth place in the Premier League.