Italy chasing England hard in race to keep four Champions League places

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UEFA’s latest figures confirm Italy are hot on England’s heels in the contest to maintain four Champions League places next season.

England’s club coefficient ranking is 65.659 to Italy’s 61.605, aided by bonus points being given for four English clubs in the Champions League compared to two Italians.

Manchester United made in through the qualifiers to become England’s fourth team in this year’s Champions League.

However the rest of the season’s ranking points will be determined entirely by performances with results in the Europa League given identical points as those in the Champions League.

The rankings do reflect the poor start by English clubs in the Champions League – where there were defeats for Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal – but wins for Chelsea and in the Europa League for Tottenham helped stave off Italy’s challenge.

At the end of last season, England were second behind Spain and ahead of Germany in the rankings, calculated over a five-year period, but the 2010-11 season now drops out of the calculations – and that year was especially good for England and poor for Italy. The changes mean Germany has already overtaken England.

Spain and Germany both have all seven of their European entrants into the group stages, including a record five for La Liga in the Champions League.

Scotland’s club coefficient ranking has dropped a place to 25th in Europe behind Norway.

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