Training of West Ham footballers before the final of the European Conference League football Fiorentina – West Ham, June 6, 2023, Prague. Vladimír Coufal (fifth from the left).
Prague – The second edition of the European Conference League will culminate on Wednesday at the Eden Stadium with the Prague final between Fiorentina and West Ham. From the Czech point of view, the match is given even more charge by the fact that there are three representatives in the teams. The captain of the national team midfielder Tomáš Souček and the defender Vladimír Coufal play for the “Hammers”, the midfielder Antonín Barák, who missed the last match, but could be ready for the finals, plays for the “Violets”. Both teams will be aiming for the first major European trophy since the 1960s.
The final of a major European cup will take place in the Czech Republic for the first time in history. In 2013, Eden hosted the Super Cup between Champions League winners Bayern Munich and Europa League winners Chelsea. The Czech player last dominated one of the UEFA competitions three years ago, when goalkeeper Tomáš Vaclík won the Europa League trophy with FC Sevilla. But he did not catch in the final and remained among the substitutes. The last time the Czechs played in the cup final was another goalkeeper Petr Čech, whose Arsenal lost to Chelsea a year earlier.
Souček and Coufal and Barák can win the first European trophy in their careers. In addition, all three played in Eden for Slavia in the past. “It's probably the biggest match of my career. Even though there were enough big matches, this is firstly the final and secondly at home. This is a combination of something that surpasses it all by several levels,” Souček, who should not be missing from the starting line-up, told ČTK .
Due to the temperature, Barák did not participate in Friday's match of the final round of the Italian Serie A, but he was present at Fiorentina's training today before leaving for Prague and traveled with the team to the final. “Especially for me, it will be a big emotion, because the final is in Prague,” UEFA quoted Barák, who in the extra time of the semi-final rematch with the fifth goal of this Conference League season as a substitute player arranged for the “Violets” to advance in Basel. The 28-year-old midfielder was not nominated for the national team for the June matches last week, national team coach Jaroslav Šilhavý explained his absence by alleged inappropriate behavior in the team.
Both finalists will strive for the second major cup trophy in Eden and the first since 60 . Fiorentina won the then Cup Winners' Cup in the 1960/61 season, West Ham triumphed in the same competition four years later. “Violets” will play for the trophy in the UEFA competition for the fifth time and for the first time since the defeat in the UEFA Cup in 1990 by Juventus Turin. The Londoners are in for their third major cup final and their first in 47 years since losing to Anderlecht Brussels.
Fiorentina already played in one big final a few days ago, losing to Inter Milan 1:2 in the Italian Cup at the end of May. “We have to pay attention to every detail, every mistake could be fatal in the game. Every action in the game counts and can create a different result than in the final of the Italian Cup,” said Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Italiano.
The rivals have not yet met in UEFA competitions and the bookmakers do not have a favorite for the final. Fiorentina finished eighth in the Italian league, West Ham took 14th place in the Premier League. The winner secures participation in the next season of the Europa League.
Both teams entered this edition of the Conference League in the final preliminary round. Fiorentina played two more games than West Ham due to being the second team in the group and having to enter the knockout stages in the opening round. “Hammers” did not find a winner in 14 duels and won thirteen times. “Violets” won all the matches away from their stadium in the elimination phase.
“Fiorentina is a very high-quality team. Italian football has its own DNA, the national team won the last Euro. In addition, the Italian league has a representative in all three European Cup finals this year, which says a lot,” said West Ham coach David Moyes, who was eliminated last year with ” Hammers” in the semifinals of the Europa League.
While Fiorentina won 3:1 in Sassuolo in the general game on Friday, West Ham played the last match of the league season already on Sunday, May 28 and suffered a 1:2 defeat in Leicester.< /p>
“On the one hand, it can be an advantage that they won't lose their match rhythm. But we can be more excited for the match after those 10 days. We trained, we were in Portugal for three days, we changed the environment a little,” said Souček, whose team he flew to Prague already on Monday and was preparing at Sparta's training center in Strahov before noon. Fiorentina will arrive in the Czech Republic only during the afternoon.
The capacity of the stadium in Eden was reduced to 18,000 seats for the final, each of the teams received over five thousand tickets for their fans. Czech co-owner of West Ham and owner of Sparta Prague Daniel Křetínský will also be in the audience. The match kicks off on Wednesday at 21:00. The first year of the Conference League was dominated by another Italian club, AS Rome.
Interesting things before the final of the European Conference League:
ACF Fiorentina – West Ham United
Kick-off: Wednesday 7. June, 21:00 (Prague-Eden).
Referee: Del Cerro Grande – Cebrián Devis, Porras Ayuso – Martínez Munuera (video, all Sp.).
Balance (in UEFA competitions): – .
Fiorentina: Terracciano – Dodo, Quarta, Milenkovič, Biraghi – Mandragora, Amrabat – González, Bonaventura, Ikoné – Cabral.
West Ham: Areola – Kehrer, Zouma, Adžuird, Cresswell – Souček, Rice, Paquetá – Bowen, Antonio, Benrahma.
Absence: Sirigu (injury), Barák, Castrovilli (both uncertain start) – Scamacca (injury).
Top scorers in the competition: Cabral (7) – Antonio (6).
– the opponents have not yet met in UEFA competitions
– Fiorentina are the first to advance to the finals in all 4 major UEFA competitions, they will play for the winner's trophy for the fifth time and for the first time since the defeat in the UEFA Cup in 1990 by Juventus Turin, they only succeeded in the 1960/61 season in the Cup Winners' Cup
< p>– West Ham will play in the final of a major European cup for the third time and first since defeat by Anderlecht Brussels in the Cup Winners' Cup in 1976, in the 1964/65 season they succeeded in the same competition against 1860 München
– Fiorentina's colors are defended by midfielder Barák, other Czech players at West Ham include midfielder Souček and defender Coufal
– all 3 Czech players played in Eden for Slavia in the past
– both teams entered the this year's European Conference League in the final preliminary round, Fiorentina played 2 more games than West Ham due to the fact that as the second team in the group they had to go to the opening round of the knockout phase
– Fiorentina lost 3 of 16 games this season in the European conference league, West Ham is unbeaten in 14 matches so far and has won 13 times
– Fiorentina eliminated Basel in the semi-finals after extra time with Barák's fifth goal of the European Conference League season, West Ham passed Alkmaar
– Fiorentina won only one of the last 4 cup matches against the English team
– In the only two cup duels with an Italian opponent to date, West Ham lost twice to Palermo in 2006
– Fiorentina lost only one of the last 6 competitive matches (Italian Cup final with Inter Milan)
– Fiorentina have lost only one of their last 12 matches in UEFA competitions outside Italy (they won all of them in the knockout phase)
– Fiorentina have drawn in both matches in Prague so far, in the 1996/97 season at Sparta and in 2008 at Slavia
– West Ham have lost just 2 of their last 14 cup matches outside London
– West Ham's only previous match in Prague in UEFA competitions was in the 1964/65 season at Sparta 1 :2, but then advanced in the double-header
– West Ham was eliminated in the semi-finals of the Europa League last year
– Fiorentina won 3:1 in Sassuolo in the final round of the Italian league on Friday, West Ham Ham played their last game on Sunday, May 28 and suffered a 1-2 defeat at Leicester
– Fiorentina finished eighth in Serie A, West Ham finished 14th in the English league
– the final of a major European cup is held in the Czech Republic for the first time
– the winner secures participation in the next edition of the European League
– the first edition of the European Conference League was won by another Italian club, AS Rome
< p>– Areola (West Ham) can capture the 50th game in the cups