Juventus Lazio Supercoppa
Supercoppa 2013 Juventus Vs Lazio - Andrea Staccioli / Insidefoto

Juventus will face Lazio in the 2016-17 Coppa Italia final, just like they did two years ago. They should also face each other for the Supercoppa (barring a collapse of epic proportions) where Juventus doesn’t win their sixth straight scudetto.

Once again, a repeat scenario of last year will occur where the finalists of the Coppa Italia will also face each other in the Supercoppa. Last year, Milan and Juventus faced each other in the Coppa Italia final (won by Juventus) and in the Supercoppa (won by Milan).

Assuming all goes according to plan, Juventus, Lazio and the Lega Serie A will have to start making plans on the location that will host the Supercoppa. There are different options available, but a final decision will only be made once the season is over. The key to the planning, is determining the final position in the standings for Juventus and Lazio, and seeing who the Coppa Italia winner is.

Italy’s representatives in European competition

Italy currently has five (possibly six, depending on outcomes) spots in European competition. Using the current Serie A standings as a guide, the first two teams go directly to the Champions League group stage (Juventus, Roma). The third place team (Napoli) has to earn their spot via playoff.

For Europa League, a group stage spot is guaranteed to the team finishing fourth (Lazio) and the Coppa Italia winner. The team finishing fifth (Atalanta) needs to get in via playoff.

Now, because the potential domestic cup winner (Lazio or Juventus) is currently in a position to qualify for the Champions League or Europa League via the domestic championship, UEFA provides an extra Europa League spot to “the highest ranking nonqualified domestic championship club at the stage initially reserved for the lowest ranking top domestic championship representative.”

In other words, the sixth placed team in the standings (currently Inter) would take the spot of Atalanta for Europa League playoff, and Atalanta would automatically go to the group stage. So Italy would have three teams in Champions League, and three teams in Europa League. This is a similar scenario like last year, where Juventus (Coppa Italia winner) allowed Sassuolo (sixth) to participate in the Europa League playoff round.

Therefore, Atalanta, Inter, Milan, and Fiorentina are all quietly rooting for Juventus to win the Coppa Italia. Should Lazio end up the winner, they will need Lazio to finish the season in the top five to secure a Europa League playoff berth, otherwise only the fourth and fifth place finishers get a ticket to Europe.

With only eight games left in the season, anything is possible. Nonetheless, it won’t matter where Lazio finishes in the standings when it comes to the Supercoppa. It is virtually guaranteed Juventus will face Lazio.

Lazio Coppa Italia
Ciro Immobile (Lazio) – Photo by Andrea Staccioli / Insidefoto

Potential Supercoppa hosts

Traditionally, the Supercoppa was the feature match that was played before starting the new Serie A season. Since Juventus will be participating in the International Champions Cup this summer, why not have the Supercoppa in North America? Juventus plays its last ICC game on July 30 against Roma. They can wait a few days more and play against Lazio in Canada (Montreal and Toronto would be viable destinations) or perhaps New York or Boston in the USA. These locations may not be able to afford the kind of money splurged by other host cities, but will make up for it with the passion of eager calcio fans excited to watch especially with the large Italian communities there.

The above scenario works even if Lazio finishes the season in sixth and loses in the Coppa Italia final. Lazio would have to prepare for a Europa League preliminary and playoff. They will have sufficient time to play the Supercoppa and head back to Italy to get ready for the new season.

An option closer to Italy would be Turkey. A rumour has been circulating that the president of Turkish club Antalyaspor proposed to have the Supercoppa played at their new stadium in Antalya.

Alternatively, the Supercoppa can be played in Italy on neutral ground (example at the San Siro). This would make the Italians happy as they are closer to home to cheer on their respective teams. It might go against the league’s plans to promote Serie A abroad, however it will satisfy the segment of the Italian calcio fan base that does not like the idea of playing the Supercoppa abroad.

Lastly, if playing the Supercoppa before the start of the season is not feasible, then a warm climate location in December will suffice like last year. It wouldn’t surprise anyone if the match would be played once again at Doha, or in Shanghai in December.