Europa League Champions: A Few Thoughts

A few thoughts on what I can only call a historic night for Sevilla:

  • Three Europa Leagues in a row. Five in the last ten years. Incredible. I wrote in the preview that I probably take this for granted, and I think that’s probably true, despite my best efforts. But also I think that’s partly just real belief in the team. I got out of a meeting in time to see the score at 1–0 before halftime, and of course I was distressed, but I knew Sevilla would have a response. Dicen que nunca se rinde.
  • Some of those no-call penatly/handballs in the first half were…yikes. Let’s not kid ourselves, Sevilla got off easy on one or two of those. Liverpool will feel hard done by, although I wouldn’t necessarily call any of those calls decisive, just because it’s hard to call anything in the first half of a soccer game decisive. I’m not sure if you add up the time each team dominated the game that you’d find Sevilla had three times as much domination, but I do think the team with the better performance won. But, you know, I would.
  • That second goal was amazing. It was beautiful.
  • Credit to Liverpool, who showed moments of total brilliance, and who look like they’re building a team to reckon with in England and beyond. No European competition next year, but they sure look to me like a team that’ll get to the biggest stage through the front door next year. Best of luck to them.
  • Credit also to the Liverpool fans, both our new friends at the Liverpool Offside and to those on the internet at large. Those no-calls would be hard to swallow in any game, but especially in a final and especially in a loss. But we haven’t had a single troll in our comments (admittedly, we’re not exactly a heavily frequented corner of the interwebs), and Twitter was even relatively quiet when I was snarking about EPL bias amongst brits in the second half. Much respect!
  • I found myself wondering today after the game if I would trade this trophy for having advanced out of our group in the Champions League. I would not! But would I for advancing to the quarters? Semis? How do you compare winning a trophy to mitigated success in the Champions League? How much success in the Champions League is worth winning the Europa League, and how do you decide? Is winning trophies the point? Or is it glory? Are they the same thing? I’ve pondered this before, and I’m sure I’ll continue to wonder about it. I’m sure I’ll be thinking it through as we hear about our CL draw next year, and as we fight in our group games. If we can’t win the Champions League, should we hope to lose, so we can play in the Europa? That seems obviously wrong to me, but if winning silverware is the point, I guess that’s the smart play. It just doesn’t feel very glorious!
  • The final on Sunday is going to be a lot of fun. Barca won the league, and Sevilla won Europa, so neither team will be playing to avoid an empty season. And these teams have generally put on pretty entertaining games! I might even try to watch it without any vitriol at all!
  • Lo lo lo lo looooo…lo lo lo lo looooo.