Villarreal, Sole Spanish Team in Europa League Round of 16 Draw

Villarreal, Sole Spanish Team in Europa League Round of 16 Draw

The ‘Yellow Submarine’ of Villarreal CF is set to face one of eight possible challenging teams in the next round of the 2023/24 Europa League. These teams include Milan, Rome, Benfica, Sporting Lisbon, Freiburg, Qarabag, Olympique de Marseille, and Sparta Prague.

The Spanish club, Villarreal CF, remains the last standing representative of Spain in the ongoing Europa League championship. They are set to discover their opponent for the round of 16 in a draw to be held on this Friday in Nyon, Switzerland. The draw will reveal one of eight possible teams from the pot, which includes AC Milan, AS Roma, SL Benfica, Sporting Lisbon, SC Freiburg, Qarabag, Olympique Marseille, and Sparta Prague.

At exactly 12:00 p.m., the UEFA will activate the draw at its House of European Football. This draw involves two drums containing the 16 best performing teams of the tournament. Villarreal, alongside Atalanta BC, Bayer Leverkusen, Slavia Prague, Rangers FC and three English teams – Brighton & Hove Albion, West Ham United, and Liverpool FC, will be in the seeding category. This category is reserved for the eight group leaders from the group stage which concluded in December.

These group leaders will have the advantage of playing at home in each second leg due to their leading status. The rules prevent two teams from the same country from being pitted against each other. The first leg of the matches is scheduled for March 7 and the return games will be on March 14. The draw determining the quarterfinals and semifinals matches will take place on March 15.

For Villarreal to reach the final match, scheduled for May 22 at the Dublin Arena, they will have to overcome several challenging opponents. Milan appears to be the most formidable opponent, despite showing some weaknesses in their round of 32 match against Stade Rennais. Their defeat in Rennes (3-2) dampened the shine of their previous victory at San Siro (3-0).

The ‘rossonero’ team and Benfica, which eliminated Toulouse FC, are the only remaining teams from the Champions League in this second-tier continental competition. Feyenoord was on the verge of joining Milan and Lisbon, but they were defeated by Roma in a penalty shootout (4-2), much to the delight of the spectators at the Olympic Stadium.

RC Lens, Sporting de Braga, Shakhtar Donetsk, Galatasaray, and Young Boys, all of whom were third in their respective Champions League groups, bid farewell to the Europa League this week. The competition is now seeking a successor to Sevilla FC, a team that has held a record with a distinctly Spanish essence over the last two decades.