Aberdeen are in the Europa League as third-place finishers in the 2014-15 Premiership, St. Johnstone as fourth-place finishers. Shkëndija were third in the Macedonian league, Dudelange third in Luxembourg, and Alashkent fourth in Armenia. SPFL runners-up Inverness CT will join the tournament in the second qualifying round.
UCD are here by a freak of luck. This year, for the last time, UEFA are including teams from the Fair Play standings. The three countries that had the fewest red and yellow cards (the Netherlands, England and Ireland) each get an extra club in the tournament. UCD proved to be the top League of Ireland club not already involved that have a stadium up to Europa League standards. So they're in, despite having been relegated at the end of last season. In future, Fair Play winners are to receive cash payments instead.
Overall, there are 102 clubs involved in the Europa League 1Q. The first qualifying round for the UEFA Champions League is a much smaller affair of only four games involving the champions of Northern Ireland, Wales, Armenia, Estonia, Faroe Islands, San Marino, Andorra, and Gibraltar. Celtic join in 2Q.
UCD have played in Europe twice before. They lost to Everton in the 1984-85 European Cup Winners' Cup, and were beaten by Velbazhd Kyustendil (from Bulgaria) in the 2000 Intertoto Cup.
St Johnstone have participated in UEFA competition five times before: they played SV Hamburg, Vasas Budapest, and Željezničar Sarajevo in the 1971-72 UEFA Cup; VPS Vaasa and Monaco in the 1999-2000 UEFA Cup; Eskisehirspor in the 2012-13 Europa League; Rosenborg and FC Minsk in the 2013-14 Europa League; and FC Lucerne and Spartak Trnava in the Europa League last year.
Aberdeen have taken part in the UEFA Cup 15 times, the European Cup Winners Cup eight times (winning it in 1982-83), the European Champions Cup three times, the Europa League twice, the UEFA Super Cup once and the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup once. The European clubs they've played are too numerous to list, so here they are in alphabetical order: ADO den Haag, Arges Pitesti, Atletico Madrid, Austria Wien, B1903 Copenhagen, Barry Town, Bayern Munich, Bohemians, Borussia Monchengladbach, Brondby, Cagliari, Celta Vigo, Dinamo Tirana, Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, Dynamo Berlin, Dynamo Dresden, Eintracht Frankfurt, FC Copenhagen, FC Groningen, FC Nistru Otaci, FC Porto, FC Sion, Feyenoord, Finn Harps, FK Daugava Riga, Fortuna Dusseldorf, Hertha BSC Berlin, Honved, IA Akranes, IFK Gothenburg, Ipswich Town, Juventus, KR Reykjavik, Lech Poznan, Legia Warsaw, Liverpool, Lokomotiv Moscow, Marek Sanke Dimitrov, Panathinaikos, Rapid Wein, Real Madrid, Real Sociodad, Real Zaragoza, RWD Molenbeek, Salamina Famagusta, Servette, Sigma Olomouc, SK Beveren, Skonto Riga, Slavia Sofia, Standard Liege, SV Hamburg, Torino, Tottenham Hotspur, Ujpest Dozsa, Valur Reykjavik, Watershei, Zalgiris Vilnius.
Greenock Morton have never played in UEFA-organized competition. They did face Chelsea in the 1968-69 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, but that was three years before the competition was taken over by UEFA and renamed the UEFA Cup.
Women's World Cup semi-finals: USA 2 - 0 Germany; Japan 2 - 1 England.
This season J1 is employing an apertura/clausura format, and today is the last game of Stage One. It's a bit strange that the powers that be have made this change, after they abandoned a similar format in 2004. Also unusual is the fact that while J1 and the fourth-tier JFL are using the apertura/clausura system, J2 and J3 are not.
Going into today's action Urawa Red Diamonds have already won Stage One. They will play the winner of Stage Two and the leaders of the overall table in a championship playoff in the autumn.
Montedio Yamagata [1 - 3] Gamba Osaka.
We've followed a few Japanese clubs here in past seasons. How are they doing this year? Consadole Sapporo are near the top of J2, and Mito HollyHock are near the bottom. Grulla Morioka are near the bottom of J3.
Women's World Cup. Tuesday it was Japan [2 - 1] Netherlands. Today it's England [2 - 1] Canada, and Australia [0 - 1] Japan.
Wednesday Aberdeen defeated Brechin City 2 - 8 in a friendly at Glebe Park, raising the question, "Can they win the Treble?"
In 1985 Tyler was the 43rd most popular name for boy babies in the USA. The name had risen to 21st by 1990. It peaked at 7th in 1995 and 1996, and fell back to 10th in 2000, 16th in 2005, 34th in 2010, and 63rd in 2013. Source. Canadian results will differ, but not much. The Nineties were carpeted with baby Tylers. What's appalling is not that they're now grown men playing in the NHL, but that they still call themselves Tyler.
The NHL Entry Draft takes place today and tomorrow.