Welcome to Serie A, the primary football competition in Italy and one of the most popular football leagues in the world.
The UEFA Cup was originally for the runners up in domestic leagues around Europe but with the expansion of the Champions League and the merging of the Cup Winners´ Cup, teams can now qualify for the Europa League in various ways. League position, domestic cup winners/runners up, fair play and 3rd place in the Champions League group stage are all ways a team can gain a place in the competition.
After qualification rounds, the competition begins with twelve group stages, consisting of 4 teams in which the top two from each group qualify for the knockout stage. Here they are joined by the eight 3rd placed teams from the Champions League group stage to make up the final 32. From here, two legs are played to decide who advances to the next round until the final is held at a neutral European venue, where 90 minutes (extra time and penalties if needed) will decide the winner of the Europa League. From 2015 the winner of the competition qualify for the Champions League.
Inter Milan, Juventus and Liverpool have all won the competition the most times with a total of three each. Chelsea are the current holders after they beat Benfica 2-1 in Amsterdam. Chelsea are also the only side to have the record for being the holders of both the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League at the same time.
The Europa League/UEFA Cup has given us English football fans some great entertainment over the years. Liverpool´s amazing 5-4 win over Alaves in the 2001 final. Middlesbrough´s famous comebacks over Steaua Bucharest and FC Basle on their way to the 200 final. And most recently Fulham´s cup run in which they knocked out Italian giants Juventus on their way to the final in 2010, narrowly losing out to a strong Atletico Madrid side.
Currently Serie A features exciting players such as Andreas Pirlo, Chiellini, Motolivo, De Rossi, Mario Ballotelli, El Sharawaary, Edinson Cavani etc etc
With exciting games like the Milan and Rome derbies, the unpredictability and the potential upsets every week, the Serie A is always a pleasure to watch for all football fans.
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