Fiorentina focus – a look at West Ham’s Europa Conference League final opponents

By Sports Desk June 06, 2023 350

West Ham face Fiorentina in the final of the Europa Conference League in Prague on Wednesday night.

Here, the PA news agency shines a spotlight on the Italian outfit.

Pedigree

In qualifying for the showpiece in Prague, Fiorentina became the first team to reach all four finals of the major European competitions. They lost in the European Cup final to Real Madrid in 1957 and won the inaugural Cup Winners’ Cup in 1961 by beating Rangers 4-1 on aggregate in the final. Their last appearance in a European final was a defeat by fierce rivals Juventus in the 1990 UEFA Cup final.

Coach

Vincenzo Italiano, 45, spent most of his playing career as a midfielder with Verona. As a coach he led Spezia to promotion to Serie A in 2020 and kept them up the following season before moving to Fiorentina, where he guided ‘I Viola’ back into Europe for the first time since 2017.

Form

Fiorentina have enjoyed a fine end to their league campaign, winning eight, drawing four and losing just two matches since March, securing an eighth-placed finish in Serie A. They also reached the final of the Coppa Italia, where they were narrowly beaten 2-1 by Champions League finalists Inter Milan.

Style

Italiano’s free-flowing side are the top scorers in the Conference League with 36 goals, at an average of just over two-and-a-half per match. Italiano also deploys a high defensive line in a bid to squeeze the opposition and control the tempo of the match while dominating possession.

Key men

Morocco World Cup star Sofyan Amrabat could be playing his final match for the Italians amid reported interest from Barcelona and Manchester United. Fellow midfielder Antonin Barak is one of Serie A’s most creative players but could be an injury doubt for the final.

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Last modified on Tuesday, 06 June 2023 09:25
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