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Marseille, Lyon and Monaco in the Europa League, Rennes in the Europa League Conference … French clubs have a lot to do, from Thursday, to improve the UEFA index of France, threatened due to poor performance in recent years. A downgrade that could ultimately lose valuable qualifying places in Ligue 1.
After the Champions League, it’s time for the Europa League and the brand new C4: the Europa League Conference. Four French clubs are involved : Olympique de Marseille (OM), Olympique Lyonnais (OL), AS Monaco and Stade Rennais. And they have a common mission: to appear there well to save the French UEFA index which, by dint of poor performance in the various European competitions, has plunged. A threat that could penalize Ligue 1 clubs from next season.
The UEFA index is calculated on the European performance of clubs in a given nation over the last five seasons. It allows to allocate to each country a number of places for the Champions League, the Europa League, and now the Europa League Conference, the following year but also to specify whether the clubs must go through preliminary rounds or not.
However, in recent years, the European performances of Ligue 1 seem to paraphrase the title of an old geography work: Paris, Lyon and the French desert. The team, the leading French sports daily, released a statistic that sums up the scale of the disaster: apart from OL and PSG, the other French teams engaged in the Champions League took only 8 points out of 90 possible between 2017 and 2021.
Here is the coefficient after a long day of qualifying. The teams left and best/worst teams probably have a few errors, but the coefficient should be good. I will double check everything and issue updates if needed. Austria pulls ahead of Scotland. pic.twitter.com/R18fFSA5qT
— UEFA Calculator (@UEFACalculator) August 26, 2021
In the last update of the rankings, at the end of August, which took place at the end of the Champions League play-offs, France fell one place in the UEFA coefficient rankings, in favor of Portugal, whose clubs performed excellent. European August.
Mass is not yet said, however, and from Thursday evening, France can still move the lines by the end of the year if its clubs are performing well and reverse the sad trend that has seen them happen. regularly humiliate from the group stages in recent years.
Sizeable challenges for French clubs
The Marseillais go to Moscow on Thursday to face Lokomotiv, current 3e of the Russian championship, and will try to stay in the momentum of their great victory (2-0) in Monaco to launch their European campaign, in a raised group E, which will then see them face Lazio Rome and the Turks of Galatasaray . Jorge Sampaoli’s men are probably hoping to relive an epic similar to that of 2018, which saw Dimitri Payet and his family only lose in the final against Atletico Madrid.
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For OL, a European trophy is an old dream of its president Jean-Michel Aulas. With their attractive recruitment (Emerson, Boateng and Shaqiri), the Gones must assume their ambitions in the Europa League and finally go to the end. Placed in a group within their reach (Brondby, Sparta Prague), the Lyonnais began their adventure in Glasgow, facing the Rangers.
Eliminated in the C1 play-off phase by Shakhtar Donetsk, Monaco will host the Austrians from Sturm Graz, the apparently easiest opponent in his group (PSV Eindhoven, Real Sociedad).
Finally, Rennes has the heavy burden of being the first French club in history to enter the Europa League Conference. The club attack with the big piece of its group: the Tottentham Spurs, led by striker Harry Kane. Badly entered in the league, the Reds and Blacks should be keen to offer some European emotions to their supporters.
Consequences at the end of the year
Poor performances could ultimately have dramatic consequences for French football. France’s slide to sixth place, if it is confirmed at the end of the various European competitions, will result in its clubs losing a direct ticket to the group stage of the Europa League.
The club which will finish fifth in Ligue 1 in spring 2022 will win a sesame for the less prestigious Europa League Conference, like the sixth in the championship.
The fourth will continue to be directly qualified for the groups of the Europa League, and the first three for the Champions League (with preliminary rounds for the third).
In the new 36-team Champions League format, applicable from 2024, the fifth country in the UEFA index will benefit from three direct qualifiers for the C1 group stage. The fourth in the national championship will have to compete in the preliminary rounds.
Lille set an example in the Champions League. Without complex, against the current leader of the Bundesliga, the Mastiffs did not tremble and may even have regrets for not having obtained the three points. For Lyonnais, Marseillais, Rennais and Monegasques to do at least as well, or even better.