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Fri, Jul

Europa League Final Review: Rangers vs. Frankfurt

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Rangers made the proud march to Seville as they prepared for their first European final since 2008, hoping for their first continental silverware since 1972. The stars seemed to align, with the team having already seen off German powerhouses Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig in the knock-out phases.

Nevertheless, the dream came to an end despite some stellar play in the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula. As thousands of Glaswegians left the stadium distraught yet proud after the devasting penalty shootout, what went wrong for The Teddy Bears?

Not Taking Chances

The Gers will rue the missed opportunities, having probably the best chances in the first 90 minutes and extra time. Neutrals may not have expected the level of play, but fans who follow the team know the quality they possess. Although they may have lost this final, they would easily win if they took the same form into their cup final against Hearts. They are heavily favoured, and if you were betting on football, you would see they boast odds of 6/10 compared to Hearts at 4/1.

Rangers took more possession and looked more particular about their shots, whereas Eintracht Frankfurt went for quantity over quality. However, they looked to have better chances; the game would never have gone to penalties on another day.

Although the finish wasn't of the highest quality, Joe Aribo took the opportunity gifted to him by Brazilian centre back Tuta, which led to his substitution. Frankfurt may have dominated the opening stages, but the more the game went on, the more Rangers grew in dominance. The missed opportunity which highlighted the night was Ryan Kent's miss in the dying moments, where Trapp pulled out an instinctive save.

Bring on Ramsey Sooner

We see managers all the time making tactical substitutions when it comes to penalty shootouts, whether that be bringing on a more experienced keeper or a better player from the spot. It appears to have mixed results; for every Barkley substitution, which we say in the Chelsea game at the FA Cup final, there's a Sancho and Rashford situation that happened at Euro 2020.

Bringing a player into a high-pressure situation without touching the ball during the three minutes he was on the field and letting him take a crucial penalty is an enormous task. Ramsey hasn't played much football this year and was only loaned to Rangers at the January transfer deadline. It was asking a lot from the Welsh man, and it would have been better to let him have more time on the pitch to acclimatise to the conditions.

Defend the Cross

Naturally, Rangers would have never been in the situation if Frankfurt didn't conjure their goal from a half chance. Filip Kostić played in a dangerous cross with pace but should have been dealt with before he had time to whip it in. The centre back probably should have gotten there before Rafael Santos Borré, who came across the box as it zipped past the front post. However, Connor Goldson had ample time to see the ball delivered and clear it before crossing the first post. If he sniffed out the initial danger in the box, it never would have reached Borré for the equaliser.

The defence had a spectacular game, but it's the small details that cost finals. Unfortunately, it wasn't Rangers' day, but they still have a Scottish Cup to look forward to.