“It is certain that a victory in the Champions League against an opponent of this quality has a particular value. » With the look of an OM coach, Igor Tudor rightly savored his team’s success against Sporting Lisbon (4-1) on Tuesday evening. But more generally, it is French football that can have a smile. The Marseille club has garnered valuable points for the UEFA index and has therefore deprived Portugal, one of France’s closest competitors in the coefficients.
The Champions League group stage draw did indeed get it right. Falling respectively into the pool of Sporting and Benfica, OM and PSG have the cards in hand to increase the gap with Portugal and deprived their clubs of precious points. It may therefore seem trivial but every victory, and especially in direct confrontations, counts.
Unable to really play the change with England (1st), Spain (2nd), Italy (3rd) and Germany (4th) in the UEFA index, France is indeed fighting for fifth place , just ahead of Portugal (6th), and would be well advised to keep it with a view to the new format of the Champions League from the 2024-2025 season.
Why is 5th place so valuable?
The leading quartet is now out of reach, France is closer from an accounting point of view to Portugal (6th) and the Netherlands (7th) than to Germany (4th). Logic therefore dictates that French football looks more in the rear-view mirror than in front of it. And for good reason, this 5th place is particularly important since it would allow the championship of the country which occupies it to have four clubs directly qualified for the mini-championship, which will bring together 36 clubs against 32 today.
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Until then, it is also important to preserve the accessibility of French clubs to the group stage of the Champions League. When the planets align, the third in Ligue 1, rather than going through a preliminary round and a play-off, can be directly qualified for the pools if the winner of the Europa League is already guaranteed to compete in the C1 by his championship. In recent years, OL and Stade Rennais have benefited from this in particular.
Important detail: if it keeps its 5th place, France could even go up to five clubs in C1 by 2024-2025. “The last two places will go to the associations having achieved the best collective performance of their clubs in the previous season. (total number of points obtained divided by the number of participating clubs). These two associations will earn a place for the highest ranked club in the domestic league behind the Champions League positions”UEFA wrote in a statement.
Which countries should France be wary of?
The gap with the sixth nation has been narrowing for two years. France gradually exhausted its credit and noted bitterly that Portugal and the Netherlands were on its heels. Since the start of the European campaign in September, the French clubs have indeed been in deficit with regard to the Portuguese and the Dutch. Before the third day, France had added 3,750 points to its counter, where the Portuguese scored 4,500 and the Dutch 5,333.
Slightly behind, the Netherlands are also offloading a lot of weight this season. Their 2017-2018 season, which was particularly unsuccessful with only 2,900 points scored, no longer counts since only the last five years are used for this ranking. Without even having to play, the Eredivisie clubs therefore made a nice move from 49,300 to 46,400, even overtaking Portugal (53,382 to 43,716), and significantly catching up with France (60,081 to 48,581).