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Spain and Italy shine again in continental football

European football has been routinely dominated by teams from Spain, with their counterparts from Italy lurking in the shadow, waiting for the right opportunity to shine. UEFA

After all these years, they are back in the spotlight and both Juventus and Napoli are virtually qualified in the semifinals of the corresponding competitions. Fiorentina joined them soon after, as the team has home pitch advantage and managed to score on the road in the last minute of overtime.

At a first glance, the football teams from the peninsula are entitled to be optimistic about their chances, but surprising enough there are not favorites to win any of these trophies. In Europa League, Italy is the best represented country and the only one with two active teams, but it is Sevilla that is credited with the first chance to prevail. The Spanish outfit has won the trophy on multiple occasions and seems highly motivated to do it again, after winning against Zenit in impressive fashion.

After the second legs conclude and the name of the four semifinalists will be decided, all the eyes will be aimed at the Nyon draw. This is going to have a two-pronged effect, because it will allow punters to find out who faces whom in the semifinals and bookmakers are particularly interested in the outcome of this draw.

For the time being, they are crediting Barcelona and Bayern as favorites to win the Champions League followed by Real Madrid and Juventus.

They will still rank high in the preferences of both bookies and punters, but the odds could change dramatically if they are pit against each other in the semifinals. Real Madrid on the other hand is probably hoping for a setup that involves Juventus, as they managed to defeat the Italians on several occasions. It also benefits them greatly that they will help hope each advantage in one game, unlike the grand final which consists of a single match.

Punters have some difficult decisions to make, knowing that the odds will change twice, after the second leg of the Europa League quarterfinals and after the Nyon draw. Regardless of how value shifts in one direction or the other, this is the first year in more than a decade when Spanish and Italian teams dominate the continent.

The battle for the title in the domestic championship is very intense in Spain, with only Juventus having the luxury of focusing exclusively on their European adventure.

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