ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

5 Thoughts on... The Final Day of the UCL Group Stage

Updated on December 11, 2013

The group stage of the UCL has been settled, with the round of 16 confirmed and the third place teams preparing for life in the Europa League. This time of year always brings heartbreak and some big talking points, so here are 5 thoughts on the final day of the UCL group stage. Also, keep your eyes peeled for a similar post regarding the Europa League's final day tomorrow.

Round of 16 Countries
Round of 16 Countries | Source

1. Country Breakdown

So the round of 16 will contain 4 English Clubs, 4 German teams, 3 Spanish teams, 1 French team, 1 Turkish team, 1 Greek team, 1 Italian team and 1 Russian team. Some may disagree, but I think this accurate shows each league's strength with a few exceptions. Obviously, the EPL and Bundesliga are superior, and all 3 of the La Liga teams deserve to be there, but does Greece's Olympiakos really deserve a spot in the final 16. Definitely not. By removing Olympiakos and giving Italy another team in the final 16 it creates a far better pool of teams. As for Russia's Zenit, a number of countries could claim that they deserve to have this spot, most notably the Netherlands and Scotland, but I think that Zenit showed their class and therefore deserved to make the final 16. This is arguably the most balanced and competitive UCL final 16 in recent years.


2. Big Shots Dropping To The Europa League

With the likes of Juventus, Napoli, Ajax dropping down to the Europa League, the possibility of some matchups to remember can occur. Imagine Wigan getting the results they need (Win vs Maribor and a loss from Belgium's Zulte Waregem) and getting drawn with Juventus. Pure David vs Goliath. Other notable possibilities include Bulgaria's Ludogorets Razgrad taking on Napoli or Freiburg, who currently are stuck in a relegation scrap domestically playing Ajax.


3. Best for Benfica?

While Benfica fans probably don't realize it, their drop to the Europa League is probably a blessing in disguise. They obviously had no chance in the UCL this year, but lost the final of the Europa League last season in a horrible manner. As soon as they take the pitch in the Europa League they'll be reminded of that and probably play harder and with greater effort than they would in the Champions League. They'll probably play a full squad unlike Napoli and (maybe) Juventus so watch out, as they're the team to beat.


4. Can Juventus Win It At Home?

This year's Europa League final will be held at Juventus Stadium, so it will be interesting to see how Juve approach the Europa League. In a normal year I would imagine they consider it a second-class tournament and don't play a full squad, but since the final is at home will they play like it's the UCL?


5. What Happened in Napoli?

Although it was in vain, Napoli did something to Arsenal that no team has really done all season since Aston Villa in September (and maybe Chelsea in the Capital One Cup). They walked away with a quality 3 points. It's hard to see how, especially with how poor Napoli were in the first half. In the second half they played with urgency, yet Arsenal still looked commanding and strong. Clearly, Napoli's Insigne made a huge impact on the game, raising the question if this is the start of something bad for Arsenal or if it was just a fluke one-man show.


Do you agree or disagree with any of the points made above? Have something to add on? Please make yourself heard by leaving a comment!


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)