11:47: Ok, let’s try something – live blogging the draw for the last 16. The draw will start at 12:00 GMT with, obviously, 16 teams going into the hat for the next stage of the secondary club competition in Europe. As I touched upon in the blog about the round of 32 results, the 16 teams are from all over Europe. Italy have 5, Russia, Ukraine and Spain 2 with Germany, England, Turkey, Belgium and Holland boasting one a piece.
11:51: The best place to start seems to be details about the draw. It will be unseeded, unlike the last one, so any team can face anyone. That leaves open a very mouthwatering Napoli-Sevilla tie, or possibly Inter-Roma. There are some very high quality teams left in this competition
11:55: Who are the 16 teams? Have a look above. I think you will agree that this is a very strong line up!
11:58: Want to watch the draw? Head to UEFA.com or watch on British Eurosport. I’ll be watching on the TV. It taking place on Eurosport shows how unimportant the competition is to people in this country, which is a massive shame. Personally, I love this tournament and think it provides more shocks and goal-fests than most. The competition is improving in quality every year – it’s definitely very watchable now.
11:59: As an Everton fan, who do I want? That’s a tough question. I think Club Brugge is the easiest match on paper however due to our history, I’d love to take Villarreal or Fiorentina out. I don’t want Napoli, Roma, Moscow or Inter.
12:00: The title credits are starting, so stay tuned for updates as they happen
12:01: As usual, the opening remarks will probably go on for ages. The draw is taking place in Nyon, the home of football in Europe. This is the first time it’s a stand-alone round of 16 draw, so no further rounds will be drawn.
12:02: I wish I had time to give you all the teams in detail however it’s worth mentioning a few. Sevilla are reigning champions, Wolfsburg and Napoli are heavily fancied while Dynamo Moscow won all their matches in the group.
12:04: The draw is now taking a look at how each side managed to get this far. All sides have won a lot of games and all will fancy a shot at the title. How will your side fare? This is literally Everton’s highlights of the season – the league has been dreadful!
12:05: The final is in Warsaw and the tagline is: Journeys to Warsaw. Jerzey Dudek is being wheeled out to help host the draw. English fans may remember him from his Liverpool days. Liverpool lost on penalties last night so he won’t be happy about that!
12:07: And, UEFA’s director of draws has appeared as well to stop cheating I presume. These draws are always confusing so let’s hope this goes smoothly. Does anyone understand it? I doubt it. Dudek has mentioned Wolfsburg, Zenit and Napoli as strong teams. I can’t disagree there!
12:08: Interesting tweet from the Europa League. Can one win it again?
12:09: Matches will be played on the 12th and 19th March. The first side drawn out will be at home. The Ukrainian teams can’t play at home on the same day. They also can’t be drawn with Russian sides due to the conflict.
12:10: How will they do that? The ball containing Kyiv will be placed on it’s own in a bowl with all the ones they can place in another bowl. So the teams who can’t be drawn first are Moscow or Zenit. Fairly simple then!
Right, no times from now on. Let’s get this draw started!
12:20: Boy, there are some very exciting ties in that! An all Spanish affair between Villarreal and Sevilla, an all Italian clash in Florence and Rome but the highlight is certainly Wolfsburg v Inter Milan. Napoli have a potential banana skin in Dynamo Moscow, who haven’t lost in this competition yet.
12:22: I accept that the Europa League isn’t the most exciting of tournaments and it probably doesn’t raise the blood-rate like the Champions League but I hope you agree that that round is full of excitement.
12:23: Prediction time: Apparently Kyiv don’t travel well so I’d back Everton there. Ajax should have too much for Dnipro, as should Besiktas for Club Brugge. Zenit to beat Torino, Napoli to beat Dynamo Moscow and I think Wolfsburg will prevail over Inter. As for the other two, Sevilla should squeeze past Villarreal and Roma just overturn Fiorentina.
12:24: Thank you for following this, hope your team got who you wanted and keep an eye on this blog for the results of this round. Until then, goodbye!