We all saw it coming as football’s governing bodies, both international and domestic, wrestled with the impending fixture pile-up due to coronavirus disruption.
And yesterday UEFA announced that Euro 2020 is no more. The European Championships have been shelved until the summer of 2021, to give the European and domestic leagues the space to complete their seasons.
The big four leagues in Europe are multi-million and billion-pound enterprises, and the legal ramifications of failing to finish the season would be huge. Prize money and television revenues are the lifeblood of the big clubs, relegation from the top flight can be catastrophic and promotion can lift a team and its town or city to new heights.
So this decision, unfortunately, was a no-brainer, and we’ll just have to wait for the European showcase we so looked forward to. In a statement, UEFA said that it had agreed on a commitment to complete all domestic and European club competitions by the end of the current sporting season – with a target of 30th June.
Euro 2020 was due to kick-off on 12th June in Rome and the new dates have been set on June 11th to July 11th 2021, and a lot can change in 12 months.
Hey; of course we’ll be back with the hottest and latest Euro 2021 news when it happens, but let’s get this year’s European and domestic seasons done.
Champions League and Europa League
The UEFA Champions League came to a halt at a fascinating moment, shortly after Atletico Madrid did a job on Liverpool, further improving Manchester City’s chances of lifting the trophy. The Sky Blues produced a stunning second-half fightback to take control of their tie away to Real Madrid, with Kevin De Bruyne converting a late penalty after Gabriel Jesus has equalised Isco’s 60th-minute strike.
Pep Guardiola’s side should see that tie through, while Barcelona represents the biggest threat to Manchester City’s Champions League aspirations. But the Blaugrana needs to see off Napoli after being held to a draw in their first leg at the San Paulo Stadium.
Manchester United are in great shape to make the last eight of the Europa League and are favourites to lift the trophy, with Premier League rivals Wolves and Inter Milan also highly fancied. The Red Devils hammered LASK 0-5, while Wolves drew 1-1 away to Olympiakos and Inter have a home tie with Getafe to play.
Bundesliga, La Liga, Premier League and Serie A
While FC Bayern seemed to be clicking through the gears at the top of the Bundesliga they still have work to do, four points ahead of Borussia Dortmund and with RB Leipzig and Borussia Monchengladbach still in the hunt.
Jurgen Klopp has steered Liverpool to the brink of the Premier League title and if they aren’t allowed to finish the job we’ll be able to hear their screams the length and breadth of Europe!
Meanwhile, in both Italy and Spain there will be a thrilling climax awaiting us when we get up and running again. Juventus and Lazio are battling it out at the top of Serie A, and Simone Inzaghi’s Lazio have a real chance of stopping I Bianconeri from winning a ninth successive Scudetto, just one point behind with 12 games to play.
And in Spain, Barcelona and Real Madrid will be itching to renew hostilities. Despite losing El Clasico on 1st March, the Blaugrana are in pole position, two points ahead of Los Blancos.
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