Thursday April 10 2014
In Europe, forza Juve

For the sake of Italian football, Dave Taylor suggests that everyone backs Juventus towards Europa League glory.

Four years ago I wrote a blog on how we must support Juventus in the League and in Europe as a strong Bianconeri meant a strong Serie A. As it turns out, they have become too strong in Serie A and everything has become too predictable again, but they still need our support in Europe.

Just three-and-a-half seasons ago Serie A had four Champions League entrants, but a lack of progress in Europe’s two competitions saw one spot lost to Germany. Unless the situation changes and Juve, who are Italy’s biggest and most successful outfit, get firmly back on track and start winning things abroad as well as at home, it will only stay like this.

Italy is in fact starting to slip further behind in the UEFA co-efficient rankings and it needs as much success as possible, as the country sits precariously in fourth spot. Rankings are, as UEFA explain, “based on the results of all European clubs in UEFA club competitions” and “take into account the results of all clubs from each association and are used to determine the number of entries an association is granted for forthcoming seasons.” Meanwhile, “the club coefficient rankings take into account the results of each club in UEFA club competitions and are used to determine a club’s seeding in club competition draws.” These rankings are drawn on results attained over the last five seasons.

Today the country leaders are Spain, who over the past five years have collected 93,855 points, while England are second with 84,177, Germany third on 80,927 and Italy fourth on 66,272 with Portugal fifth and closest on 60,966.

As the only club left in Europe Juve are Italy’s last chance to repair some of the damage and repel the aggressive overtures of Portugal, who still have two clubs, Porto and Benfica, left in Europe to earn points. Ranked on Betfair as 10/11 favourites to win the competition outright, even if Juve fail to progress and Italy slump into fifth spot under Portugal, it won’t actually see Serie A loose a place, at least not for the immediate future. However, what it will do is batter Serie A’s fragile morale a little bit further and given its finances and status, it is something that is not needed.

So Juve are once again, like times past, Italian football’s would-be saviours and consequently need all the support they can get. Of course it’s difficult for fans of other Italian clubs to get round supporting the Bianconeri. Yet the bottom line is that a Juve victory in the final that they will host will benefit Serie A as a whole. A win will earn the association more points, open the doors to more representation and if for nothing else, keep Portugal’s wolves at bay.

There are a few things in their favour, but overall the Old Lady has failed to set Europe alight, compared to their absolute League domination. Whatever you think of Coach Antonio Conte reprimanding Napoli for spending too much money, his answer that they only spent €25m over the summer is actually one of the reasons they are behind other European clubs with nothing like their history.

This has led to a squad that has not enough quality to reproduce its Serie A superiority and consequently cannot compete against top European clubs. Recently they have also suffered injuries and with a team that has played twice a week for some time now they also are tired. 

Yet Juve showed against Lyon that they can overcome tough opposition away from home with patience. But above all they showed their determination. Although their domestic dominance is not repeated in Europe their sheer grit is and history teaches us not to underestimate Juve getting the job done.

Winning the Europa League may not be as financially or professionally rewarding as the Champions League but a European trophy can only help Juve journey further along the path to regaining her rightful status in Europe. As Italy’s sole representatives remaining on the continent, they also carry the country’s co-efficient hopes, and therefore should carry its support. So, Forza Juve, for the good of Italian football.

Keep up to date with the latest news and action from Spain's Primera Division with Football Espana - from the team behind Football Italia.

Have your say...
Italians get behind Juve? No, that country is incapable of unifying around anything civic... and this mentality is part of the cancer that is tearing Italy apart, economically, sociality, and culturally.. Italy is in deep trouble. This is 450 AD repeating itself.. the fall.

Too bad. I love Italy. It is where my parents hail from and I visit it frequently...

I still root for it though..
on the 16th April, 2014 at 11:02am

I frequently go to premier league / serie A matchs and you are right there is no comparison, In england people change allegiance at the drop of a hat- the matchs have no atmosphere/ there are no true derbies in true sense (like juve / fiorentina)

I have seen first hand people leaving pl matches to beat the traffic! Thats die hard alright. Dont mistake having money for having passion. Have you ever watched a serie A / B match on anything other than tv? Judging by your comments no
on the 16th April, 2014 at 12:26am
For the good of Italian football, a club which was found guilty of match fixing and doping should have been banned altogether from Italian football.
But the good of Italian football doesn't coincide with what is good for the family of Lambs...
on the 14th April, 2014 at 12:44pm
@dominator...It was Porto not Benfica! The aggregate was 3-2 how was that getting spanked? It wasn't one-sided. You saw Napoli lose away to dortmund and arsenal but did you see the home games where Napoli stuffed both arsenal and dortmund
on the 13th April, 2014 at 7:59am
Forza Benfica
on the 12th April, 2014 at 7:10am

You're so wrong I wont even reply more then this about comparing English and Italian fans. Are you serious? You don't think PL has hooligans who throws flares and start riots? What has my living room to do with supporting team at a arena? Just pure stupidity. Ever heard of Curva Sud???
on the 11th April, 2014 at 3:29pm

The italian fans dont have passion. They act like neanderthals. So your team goes down 1-0. Instead of supporting them like real english fans who have a never say die attitude, italian fans start crying and lighting flares. I dont call that passion i call it stupidity. Do you light flares in your living room?

Nicola, im not kidding. Italian mentaility is abysmal. No warriors come from italy. Rocky was fiction lads.
on the 11th April, 2014 at 12:45pm

Have i seen those teams? Yes i saw Napoli get their behind handed to them by Dortmund and Arsenal. I then saw Napoli get a beating from Benfica. I also saw Juve "the italian giants" get drop kicked by Galatasaray and then through luck scrape through against Lyon.

If you think italian teams have fight you need to start watching the EPL, show you what fight and passion is. Yes you give me any ultra one on one and ill question their passion, see if they make it out alive.
on the 11th April, 2014 at 12:39pm
Does anyone have any clue how many points we'd gather from a EL win.
on the 11th April, 2014 at 8:21am
@Dominator you kidding right!!!!! Italians have no passion for soccer, Dude please! In Italy theirs a saying, first their's soccer then second their's the Pope.
on the 11th April, 2014 at 1:17am

This this moron just said italian fans have no passion? Clearly you've never been to a Derby in Italy or any game for that matter.
on the 10th April, 2014 at 5:20pm

Eh?? No they werent. Milan were. Stats even prove that.
on the 10th April, 2014 at 5:18pm
@mr lazio how were napoli a disgrace? They got 12 points in the CL and gave everything even in the europa league. They were unlucky against Porto going out 3-2 on aggregate. @dominator have you watched serie a? Let's remember that Italian teams have also beaten english and german teams this year in europe!
on the 10th April, 2014 at 4:40pm
I'm always amazed that this is even up for discussion. Country first, domestic squabbles last. That has always been the case for me, but it should be a given when calcio is in such deep crisis. Serie A should be setup to give the euro teams the best possible chance, including changing the fixtures layout if necessary, no derbies straight after or before euro nights and arranged to suit the Nazionale too, also some of Italys greatest nights were in the UEFA cup, it deserves more respect!
on the 10th April, 2014 at 4:37pm
@ DOMINATOR It's obvious u don't watch Serie A with a comment like that.Italians teams are lazy? Fans have no passion? Have you watched Juve, Roma, Napoli and Fiorentina play? These are not lazy teams! They fight & battle and have extremely passionate fans. I dare you to stand in front of a group of Napoli or Juve Ultras and tell them they have no passion, if you come out alive it will be a miracle. And for your info every European and South American team dive like 'little girls'! Wake up!
on the 10th April, 2014 at 4:28pm
@Mr Lazio
How were Napoli a disgrace? They got 12 points in the Champions Leeague group stage and went out (when Zenit got 6 points and went through) - thats not disgraceful thats just unlucky. And Porto are a solid, often underestimated team, I wouldnt say losing to them is a disgrace.

@number10 - cant remember the last time Lazio showed any desire for the competition? How about last season when we got to the 1/4 finals? Do you not remember the comback against Monchengladbach?
on the 10th April, 2014 at 3:43pm
let's not cry about juve not having enough money which is the reason why they can't keep up with other teams. It isnt just money. It is mentality. Italian teams are lazy and slow. They have no fight. If they go down 1-0 there is no fight back. The fans have no passion.

Until italian teams learn the physical aspect of the game rather than diving like little girls every time someone touches them they will not be going anywhere.

Juve are in the "old era". The "new era" is different.
on the 10th April, 2014 at 12:45pm
I agree, fans of the Italian game should get behind Juve despite their differences because let's face it, for many viewers of the game the CL and EL are the only time they get to see different leagues. I for one am rather sick of hearing the same stereotypes when I discuss my love for Calcio with my friends. Juventus have an obligation to take this seriously and everyone should be supporting them, for God's sake England are ranked 2nd while Italy are wobbling on 4th, PLS take a look at my blog!
on the 10th April, 2014 at 12:23pm
I have just read CP's statement regarding all Italians to support Italian teams and I must point out that I have always done this except on Inter when they used to play only foreign players. Had it not done that, then I would support them as well. I support ITALY and every Italian team that plays good football. We must all be patriotic but our teams should field more of our youngsters. Our kids come first. There aren't many good foreigners anyway. Forza Italia in every aspect.
on the 10th April, 2014 at 11:58am
Conte himself has expressed the exact same sentiments when asked about other Italian teams in European competition. I will welcome the day when Juventus are dethrones in Serie A, but I am willing them every success in Europe.
on the 10th April, 2014 at 11:27am
I really do hope that Juve do win for the sake of Italian football and possible the super cup i August
on the 10th April, 2014 at 11:00am
Napoli and Lazio were a disgrace to be fair, Fiorentina was a shame they had to meet Juve. I hope Juve wins the whole thing.
on the 10th April, 2014 at 10:18am
It's a fact that the Europa League isn't as prestigious as the Champions League, but it's important for Juve to win because it takes the club, players and staff to another level, you know that feeling of champions. Take Simeone's Atletico as an example. He spent two seasons in EL and won one. He gained experience and helped his players to understand what Europe means.

Look at them now, they're in the semis !

Don't forget winning EL means playing in UEFA Super Cup too.

Forza Juve.
on the 10th April, 2014 at 10:04am
Milan The only team to be the most consistent in champions league, no one could ever disrespect there efforts and ambition. Unfortunatly though The Presidents are sending this club on there decline, With A obvious Failing Project, First to devolop There youngsters, but now signing the likes of 30 Year old essien? and only having 1 good central defender(Rami) amongst the 4-5 they have.Its Got To Be Do Or Die Time For Milan Next Season In The League or Miss Out On CL All together which i dont want
on the 10th April, 2014 at 10:00am
Udinese brilliant youth recruitment team and devolop amazing players... but a terrible example to follow if all they do is reach european football and sell ALL there players but Di Natale -_-

Lazio on the other hand keep hold of there players for some time.. but i cant remember the last time they showed any ambition in europa league, Continously dominated every time by russian and german teams, or signed anybody besides klose to make the team stronger.
on the 10th April, 2014 at 9:56am
Want European Football, Benitez who never stops looking to win any trophy he can, Garcia & roma wanting there title! Montella (if not for unfortunate Injury Prone Strikers) would be raising hell in europa league as well, The Co-Ef points will come if these managers stay, continue to build, clubs hold onto there best players, Build there own stadiums, THE CO-EF points will come! italian league will rise to be the best again, however! there are a few things to blame/avoid for its decline
on the 10th April, 2014 at 9:52am
It is also fair to say that we should also say Forza Napoli in some respect, as they have the only coach in Serie A with proven european success. Benitez is the only coach with truly european experience. I will resist sides, but that is the plain simple truth. So it is good Benitez is here, and also Garcia, because they add extra into the pot, a more european mindset to SerieA. Its all good and useful IMO.
on the 10th April, 2014 at 9:48am
We are slowly on the right path, Juventys building the team around its most powerful strength (midfield) then building up the other departments, but we really lack depth hence the tight results and fatigue, Only Roma & Napoli are showing ambition Lately signing bigger players, devoloping demestic talents, improving the team with strong squad players (Benatia & Naiggalan are revalations this season) but THE MOST IMPORTANT THING is having managers like Conte, Garcia, Montella, Benitez who all...
on the 10th April, 2014 at 9:48am
Napoli were the best italian team in Europe this year. Juve are left in a second tier europe cup, so yes, we should support them. But they did not help the situation this year by not beating a mid table danish team, and a Gala team that were a mess this year. They finished on 6 points, half that of Napoli, in an easier group.
So perhaps we should stop talking about Juventus and talk about Napoli and Roma.
on the 10th April, 2014 at 9:42am
Along with Milan too who managed to be the most consistent team to get through to the Knockout Stage of Champions League Past Seasons, (Unfortunatly Meeting Barca Countless times) And Juventus & Napoli Only Reaching Around That Stage Once Each In The Past 3-4 Years, Serie A is becoming a Joke! Selling our best players for handsome prices, failing to keep our best talents, sending countless domestic players abroad (Crisito, Bochetti, Verratti, T.Motta, Etc) There is hardly any ambition any more!
on the 10th April, 2014 at 9:39am

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