Thursday August 20 2020
Sevilla a stern Europa test for Inter

Europa League serial winners Sevilla are seeking a record sixth trophy, but Owen Diana identifies the strengths and weaknesses Inter must watch out for.

Inter’s progress in Germany has reignited a long-lost love affair with a competition they cherished back in the 1990s. In order to truly rekindle that romance, they must dethrone the modern-day kings of the Europa League. Sevilla are one of the continent’s top teams and are in sparkling form heading into Friday’s showdown. The Nerazzurri must be at their best if they hope to defeat them.

The past 15 years have been full of glorious European nights for Los Hispalenses. Their five Europa League/UEFA Cup titles, a tournament record, have all come in the last decade and a half. That includes an incredible hat-trick in 2014, 2015 and 2016. They have never lost a final in their favourite competition, and that glorious history should spur them on. Furthermore, the experience of key players Jesús Navas and Éver Banega, who each have two winner’s medals from those past successes, could prove invaluable.

Ex-Inter man Banega will be contesting his last match with the Andalusians before completing a move to Saudi Arabian side Al-Shabab. The Argentinean maestro moved to Italy in July 2016, but was back in Spain less than a year later after failing to hit the heights during his 33 appearances in all competitions. He has always shone for Sevilla, however, and has been a crucial cog in their run to Cologne.

The veteran schemer will not be the only familiar face to followers of Italian football. The two wide forward positions in Julen Lopetegui’s 4-3-3 are reserved for ex-Milanisti Suso and Lucas Ocampos, while former Palermo creator Franco ‘Mudo’ Vázquez could make an impact off the bench. The Serie A connection even extends into the director’s box, where Monchi has rehabbed his reputation after a mixed spell at Roma.

Centre-backs Diego Carlos and Jules Koundé were two excellent pieces of business last summer, while fellow newcomer Ocampos struck 14 times in La Liga. Sevilla love to attack down the wings, where full-backs Sergio Reguilón and the aforementioned Navas are instructed to advance upfield at every opportunity.

Los Hispalenses often control possession and territory, but such an aggressive strategy comes with inherent risks. They are susceptible to the counter-attack, as was seen in the recent triumphs over Wolves and Manchester United. Antonio Conte’s charges are likely to sit off and wait for opportunities on the break, where the quality of Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martínez could make the difference.

For all their talent, Sevilla do not possess a Number 9 who can compete with either member of Inter’s lethal strike partnership. Likely starter Youssef En-Nesyri scored eight league goals, while Luuk de Jong found the back of the net on six occasions. Neither should inspire fear in an Inter backline that was Italy’s best in 2019-20.

With Sevilla set to take the game to their more illustrious opponent, Friday’s final will hinge on how Inter cope defensively. If they can repel the waves of Spanish pressure, the Nerazzurri should find joy from balls into space.

The Europa League has never seen success like Sevilla’s, but the Andalusians have never faced a team of Inter’s level at this decisive stage, either. A serial winner like Conte will not be cowed by those five trophies, and he will transmit that conviction to his troops. It won’t be easy, but the Nerazzurri have every chance of ending a decade of disappointment with some silverware.

Have your say...
Oh God... Inter is always.
on the 22nd August, 2020 at 2:12am
Maybe next year interisti, right?
Or maybe in a decade. Some like that.
on the 21st August, 2020 at 9:18pm
as a milan fan the last thing i want to see is inter win any silverware. however it has been 20 years since a Italian team has even been in a final. have to back inter, to quote susy who wrote this about the juve real final we as rival fans have to suck up our animosity and back the italian side for the good of the italian league.

as for the blog now Sevilla are masters in this competition inter will have to put in a exceptional performance to beat them.
on the 21st August, 2020 at 5:45pm
Inter are favourites on paper. Hope they finish the job.
on the 21st August, 2020 at 3:59pm
Inter is ready to win the Europa league, they are confident and prepared. Often in big games the bounce of the ball and/or the referee can play the most important role.
If all goes well I think it will be a close game in which Inter will prevail. Sevilla seems to rise to the occasion in this League and they have been playing well, surprising since they were vulnerable defensively during the season against top La Liga teams. Now is the time for Inter to announce to Europe that they are champions.
on the 21st August, 2020 at 1:04pm
Based on Inter's recent performances and Sevilla having to scrape their way through the last two rounds, this may seem like a slam dunk but if you look at Sevilla historically, especially in the Europa League, they grind out results. I don't think Inter were considered the favourites at any point until after the semis, which may backfire if the team becomes complacent. Fingers crossed that doesn't happen and Inter wins this.
on the 21st August, 2020 at 10:53am
Inter should shade it provided they don't go down the scared-of-our-own-shadow-in-Europe road that so many other Italian sides do so often.

If they show no fear and go for Sevilla, they should have too much for them.

Spanish teams have been faltering for a few years now, I wonder will they recover in the near future, and if not, can Serie A win a few trophies in Europe should their main rival fade away.

21 years without a EL title is frankly embarrassing. Time to change that.
on the 21st August, 2020 at 10:20am
A dream about to become reality ..just before the games with Leverkusen and shaktar we weren't really confident as it felt inter would be inter and spoil it prayer now is fans are really confident everywhere that we would win this,I hope inter follows through and delivers and make this a great day for the black and blue as well as all of Italy...Forza inter!!!!!!!!!
on the 21st August, 2020 at 9:36am
I wish Inter win it for Handanovic, he IS a champion and deserves it. Other arguments:

- Winning breeds winning. Inter should re-start a winning cycle
- Gives Inter chance to win a major trophy they've never won: the European Super Cup
- Winning would mean that the most recent Italian winners of both European trophies are Inter
- It`s been too long!

on the 21st August, 2020 at 8:20am
Inter struggled in games this season they were expected to win. This one could be the same. Saying this, when inter were almost at full strength like they are now at the beginning of the season, they won almost all of their games against middle/lower opponents so certainly optimistic! Especially as sanchez has recovered to come on from the bench. Bench alone should make a difference if the game is still level going into the latter stages!! Also Ocampos came off injured - is he playing?
on the 20th August, 2020 at 11:25pm
cont. the other area, attack should be like leverkusen and shakhtar, plenty of inter chances and goals as inter attack is much stronger. Score one, sevilla forced to attack opening up more gaps and hopefully more goals. Realistically, inter are stronger than united who should have scored at least 1 or 2 more goals against sevilla. Inter won't concede as many easy chances and hopefully will be more clinical. Saying this, it is a final and anything can happen!!
on the 20th August, 2020 at 11:22pm
watching the last few sevilla games, they seem to try and pass their way into a scoring position rather than really fast movement. Inter's defence is one of teh best (certainly a lot better than united) and so they should not score easy goals like they have. Also midfield battle will be very important, again inter should have the edge especially with barella and brozovic playing so well. Gags does his job, but with eriksen and sensi also available, i can't see sevilla winning this battle either!
on the 20th August, 2020 at 11:19pm
The stats shows on themselves that Inter are not only favorites but they will win in a similar fashion like they did in recently. The only weakness is the number of draws they got which Sevilla will aim for but then again they have a very short window to score in extra time otherwise again they have no chance in the penalties against Handa.
I do believe unlike in Italy the team with better stats and results will always win.Hopefully next season they'll be ready to accept this.Forza inter
on the 20th August, 2020 at 11:19pm
Inter stats in EL: No losses
2 goals conceded
13 goals scored
Inter stats in CL: 3 losses ( Barcelona and Dortmund)
10 goals scored
9 conceded
Inter total European stats (CL+EL):3 losses
12 goals conceded
23 goals scored
Sevilla stats in EL:5 goals conceded
5 goals conceded
20 goals scored
on the 20th August, 2020 at 11:05pm
Inter stats in serie a: 1st in number of losses (4 losses)
1st in goals conceded (36 goals conceded)
2nd in goals scored (81 goals)
2nd overall league position

Sevilla stats in La Liga: 3rd in number of losses (6 losses)
3rd in goals conceded (34 goals
5th in goals scored (54 goals)
4th overall league position
on the 20th August, 2020 at 10:56pm

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