The UEFA Super Cup

The UEFA Super Cup Logo

Also known as the European Super Cup, the UEFA Super Cup is an annual football tournament. Winners of the two top UEFA tournaments fight for this football championship title. These two tournaments are the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League.

The earlier name of this championship was the European Super Cup. Because of branding reasons, the name of this Cup changed in 1995, and that's why we know it as the UEFA Super Cup. You'd be surprised to know that this Cup is not an official UEFA competition.

Between 1972 and 1999, the contenders of the UEFA Super Cup were the winners of the European Cup/UEFA Champions League, and the title winners of the UEFA Cup Winner's Cup. Then after the discontinuation of the UEFA Cup Winner's Cup, the UEFA Super Cup was meant only for the winners of the Champions League and the Europa League.

Launching the UEFA Cup

Anton Witcamp laid the foundations of the modern UEFA Super Cup in the early 1970s. He was a sports journalist and worked for a Dutch newspaper, De Telegraaf. At that time, Holland's Total Football tactical system held sway all over Europe. The Dutch football teams enjoyed supremacy all around, and there was no other team to challenge the Dutch. AFC Ajax was the leading football club at that time.

Since Witcamp was interested in testing the limits of Dutch football, he launched the European Super Cup. However, UEFA refused to give official status to Witcamp's European Super Cup.

The 1972 European Super Cup final was contested between Ajax and the Scotland Rangers. Though Ajax won this match 6-3, UEFA refused to recognize it. UEFA based its decision on the unruly behaviour of Rangers fans. However, in the next year, the sports body recognized the Ajax - Milan final, which was won by Ajax 6-1.

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Rules of the UEFA Super Cup

The rules of this championship are straightforward. The winners of the Europa League and the UEFA Champions League are the sole participants in this championship. This match takes place at a neutral venue.

There are two 45- minute durations of the game. If either team fails to win the match, then two 15-minute matches are held at the same venue. A tie in these matches results in a penalty shootout. The team which scores the maximum goals wins the UEFA Super Cup.

Each team can have 23 players. However, only 11 of those players can play, with three substitutions allowed. If the teams enter extra time, then one more substitution is allowed.

Inaugural UEFA Super Cup

As mentioned earlier, Ajax won the inaugural and official UEFA Super Cup back in 1973. In the one and only final match, the Dutch football club outplayed Milan 6-1.

Performance of the various clubs

So far, Barcelona has won the Cup 5 times. The Spanish Club won the Super Cup in 1992, 1997, 2009, 2011, and 2015. The years when Barcelona were the runners-up were 1979, 1982, 1989, and 2006.

Milan, also called AC Milan, has also won the UEFA Super Cup 5 times. The winning years were 1989, 1990, 1994, 2003 and 2007. Milan has been runners-up only twice, once in 1973, and again in 1993.

Real Madrid and Liverpool have won the Super Cup four times. While the former held the title in 2002, 2014, 2016 and 2017, Liverpool won the Cup in 1977, 2001, 2005, and 2019. Real Madrid and Liverpool have been the runners-up thrice and twice, respectively.

Atletico Madrid is the only European football club to win the Super Cup only thrice. Of course, this record may change over time. By the way, Atletico has never been runners-up at the time of writing this article.

Only six teams have won the Super Cup twice, These are Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Ajax, Anderlecht, Juventus and Valencia. On the other hand, 13 teams have won the UEFA Super Cup just once. The winning teams are:

  • Sevilla
  • Porto
  • Manchester United
  • Dynamo Kyiv
  • Nottingham Forest
  • Aston Villa
  • Aberdeen
  • Steaua Bucharest
  • Mechlem
  • Parma
  • Lazio
  • Galatasaray
  • Zenit Saint Petersburg

You would be surprised to know 14 teams have never won the Super Cup, though they have been runners-up. These names include well-known clubs, such as Paris Saint Germain, Eindhoven, Arsenal, Inter Milam and Villareal.

Summary

Looking at the winner lists above, one is easily convinced about the competitive spirit that pervades the Super Cup. It's not easy to enter the Super Cup, let alone win it. Famous names like PSG haven't won this Cup even once. Thus, there is no doubt that millions of football lovers follow the Super Cup eagerly.


#football, #football betting

Gian Chacko

Sports enthusiast with love for cricket, football and sports in general. Holds 10+ years of following and writing about sports and lately also betting.