[dropcap]P[/dropcap]erhaps it was the royal baby that came with the best of luck or perhaps fate dictated that English teams get to conquer Europe this year. English teams have written history this season as it is the first time teams from the same country have made it to both Champions League and Europa League finals.
In the midst of the United Kingdom’s plan to exit the European Union, UK-based football clubs decided to conquer the continent by making it to both UEFA finals. London-based clubs Chelsea FC and Arsenal FC qualified for the UEFA Europa League final to set up a London derby in Baku, Azerbaijan on 29th May. Merseyside’s Liverpool FC and London’s Tottenham Hotspurs beat all odds to play in Madrid, Spain on June 1st.
In fact, roughly a day after Liverpool managed a sensational comeback against Barcelona by defeating the Spanish side 4-0 at home to secure a 4-3 aggregate score, Theresa May’s struggle to win in Europe was jokingly compared to the semi-final match. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn suggested that the British Prime Minister should get advice from Jurgen Klopp about getting “a good result in Europe” after Liverpool’s Champions League heroics.
“In view of the amazing performance of Liverpool last night, perhaps the Prime Minister could take some tips from Jurgen Klopp on how to get a good result in Europe,” Mr Corbyn said during the Prime Minister during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons.
In reply, Mrs May turned the question around, saying, “I actually think that when we look at the Liverpool win over Barcelona last night, what it shows is that when everyone says it’s all over, that your European opposition have got you beat, the clock is ticking down, it’s time to concede defeat, actually we can still secure success if everyone comes together.”
Tottenham, on the other hand, won 3-2 at home after losing 1-0 Johan Cruijff Arena in Amsterdam to emerge winners on the away goal rule.
Liverpool and Tottenham’s qualification is just about similar to what is happening in the UK with Brexit. In the first leg of both matches, the English teams had almost convinced everyone that they were exiting the European tournament. Just like Brexit, the UK announced that they were planning on exiting the EU but are still yet to do that. Comparing the two scenarios, both had convinced the World that they were leaving but actually haven’t achieved the feat but though it is due to both domestic and external roadblocks.
The Europa League final, on the other hand, could have been easily predicted from the quarterfinals. Once it was confirmed that there was no chance of Chelsea locking horns with Arsenal in the semi-finals, it became difficult to rule out the possibility of an all English final. In Chelsea’s semi-final second leg match against German club Eintracht Frankfurt, the Blues were almost eliminated from the competition. They had to win 4-3 on penalties after both teams failed to take advantage of the other’s weakness to emerge on top. They tied 1-1 after extra time. Arsenal, on the other hand, won 4-2 at the Mestalla Stadium in Spain to win on an aggregate 3-7 score.
For the first time, England is assured that the Champions League, the Europa League and the UEFA Supercup will be coming home. Could the UK also remain in the EU?