Destined for France’s third tier, Valenciennes look to keep European dream alive

It is often said that cup football can prove a welcome distraction for teams toiling in the league. That is certainly the case for Valenciennes. 

Bottom of Ligue 2 and 11 points adrift of second-bottom Quevilly-Rouen with eight games to go, relegation to France’s third-tier, National 1, is almost a foregone conclusion. It would require a dramatic change in fortunes for Valenciennes to remain in the division. 

However, whilst Valenciennes will likely ply their trade in the third tier of French football for next season, there still exists a possibility that they will do so while also playing in the UEFA Europa League. The Coupe de France has been a competition for the underdog in recent seasons, with FC Nantes and Toulouse FC winning the last two editions. 

With the winner of the competition securing a place in the Europa League, could Valenciennes become the latest surprise winner of the Coupe de France? If they are to do so, they would have to beat Olympique Lyonnais in Tuesday’s semi-final, before beating either Stade Rennais or Paris Saint-Germain in the final. A torrid season could yet have a silver lining for Valenciennes. 

GFFN | Luke Entwistle

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