The UEFA technical study group has named its best squad of the 2013/14 UEFA Europa League campaign, with half the 18 players involved in the Turin final.
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The UEFA technical study group (TSG) has named its best squad of the 2013/14 UEFA Europa League campaign. The TSG has chosen 18 players – the same number a coach selects for a UEFA Europa League game under the competition's regulations – in its squad. There is no designated starting XI.
Half of the representatives made it to the Turin final, where Sevilla FC overcame SL Benfica on penalties. Indeed the hero of that shoot-out, Rojiblancos goalkeeper Beto, makes the cut alongside Juventus No1 Gianluigi Buffon. One of the players Beto denied, Benfica striker Rodrigo, is among the five forwards picked. Tournament top scorer Jonatan Soriano is also included, along with Carlos Tévez of Juventus, SSC Napoli's Gonzalo Higuaín and Benfica's Lazar Marković.
Five different clubs have a defender in the 18, with Benfica centre-back Ezequiel Garay joined by Sevilla's Nicolás Pareja, Eliaquim Mangala (FC Porto), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus) and Gonzalo Rodríguez (ACF Fiorentina).
The Viola also have a player in the midfield selection, Borja Valero. Andrea Pirlo, who had such an influential role in helping Juve get so close to a home showpiece, is recognised, as are Benfica duo Nicolás Gaitán and André Gomes, and Stéphane Mbia, Sevilla's semi-final saviour against Valencia CF.
The TSG convened after the UEFA Europa League final to discuss the decider itself, trends in the knockout rounds, this squad and the best goals of the competition. UEFA coaching ambassador Sir Alex Ferguson chaired the meeting, alongside UEFA's chief technical officer Ioan Lupescu. Also on the panel were Antonio Conte, Thomas Schaaf, Vincenzo Montella, Ginés Meléndez, László Szalai and Willi Ruttensteiner. The TSG's technical report will be published in September.