Five months after the last 16 of the Europa League began, the eight teams who will contest the quarterfinals of the competition have finally been decided.
12 of the 16 teams involved had played the first leg of their ties, when the coronavirus pandemic struck, but the Inter Milan/Getafe and Sevilla/Roma fixtures had not started at all because of the prevailing health situation in Spain and Italy.
When European football did resume after the lockdown, priority was given to finishing domestic seasons. Only now they have concluded can attention be stitched back to the two European Cup competitions, the Champions League, and the Europa League.
The second legs of the outstanding ties have now been played, although in the case of the Inter Milan and Sevilla matches, it was decided that these should be contested as single games in a neutral venue, Germany. That is the same country where the final stages of this years tournament will be held as well, to prevent unnecessary travelling.
Inter beat Getafe 2-0 and Sevilla defeated Roma by the same score line to book their place in the last eight. Elsewhere tournament favourites Manchester United made heavy weather of beating Austrian side LASK at Old Trafford, but they already had a 5 0 advantage from the away leg, so the result was somewhat academic. They will play the Danish side FC Copenhagen, who overcame a first leg deficit to defeat Istanbul Basaksehir.
Meanwhile the other English side left in the competition, Wolverhampton Wanderers, squeezed past Olympiakos of Greece, thanks to an early penalty from Mexican striker Raul Jimnez, and will face Sevilla in the next round.
Rangers of Scotland are out though. Already trailing 3 1 from the first leg at home with German side Bayer Leverkusen, they lost the second tie by a single goal. Bayer will now meet Inter Milan in Dusseldorf.
The remaining quarter-final with FC Basel of Switzerland, who overcame another German side Eintracht Frankfurt, play Shaktar Donetsk. The Ukrainians proved too much for yet another Bundesliga side Wolfsburg.
The quarterfinals will be played next Monday (10th August) and Tuesday (11th August).