England are looking to hold off Italy and maintain the all-important third place in the UEFA association club competition rankings, while Spain have already stretched their lead.
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Having slipped behind Germany in the UEFA association club coefficient rankings, England are now looking to hold off Italy and maintain the all-important third place that will ensure four UEFA Champions League berths in 2017/18, while Spain have already stretched their lead after the opening day of the group stages.
At the end of last season, England were second behind Spain and ahead of Germany in the rankings, calculated over a five-year period, ensuring this season's Liga, Premier League and Bundesliga get the four slots. However, the 2010/11 season, which was especially good for England and weak for fourth-placed Italy, now drops out of the reckoning, meaning Serie A began 2015/16 just three points behind England while the Bundesliga has already overtaken the Premier League.
The Premier League was aided prior to matchday one by Manchester United winning their play-off while Lazio lost, meaning England has four UEFA Champions League teams to Serie A's two, guaranteeing four additional bonus points per team in the UEFA Champions League group stage. The number of points a league can win are identical in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League group stages, meaning an association's ranking depends significantly on its performance across both competitions.
Therefore England's lead over Italy after UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League matchday one starts at 65.659 to 61.605, a slight opening of the gap, but losses for three Premier League sides on matchday one has given Serie A fresh hope of ending a six-season exile from the top three.
Spain and Germany both got all seven of their European entrants into group stages, including a record five for the Liga in the UEFA Champions League. That has allowed those nations to increase their leads over third place, with Spain now 19 points clear of Germany, and with every chance of being the first nation to end up with a coefficient of over 100 when the season ends, having finished up 2014/15 on 99.999. They currently stand on 86.427, and a repeat of any of their recent seasons would get the Liga to more than a century.
Lower down, last season's biggest climbers, Liechtenstein, who rose from 46th to 38th, are now provisionally up to 32nd. They do not have a domestic league, so whatever happens they will continue only to enter their cup winners into UEFA Europa League qualifying, but that sole representative in 2015/16, FC Vaduz, got through two rounds, picking up five points.
FOR REFERENCE: the access list that will be used for allocation to the 2016/17 club competitions based on the association club coefficient rankings at the end of 2014/15 (taking into account the season's 2010/11, 2011/12, 2012/13, 2013/14 and 2014/15).
Seedings for UEFA national team competitions are decided by the UEFA National Team Coefficient Ranking: the latest interim version was released on 9 September and is used to seed UEFA European Championship draws.