UEFA Nations League explained!

Virginia Santiago
September 7, 2018

As the tournament is run by UEFA, the competition is just for European nations.

There are those who view it as a game-changer and then there are those who see it as too complex a competition.

League B will also contain four groups of four teams.

Manufactures Adidas designed the ball which features the colourful imagery that helps make up the Nations League logo, which is also prominent on the trophy.

The UEFA Nations League is meant to bring extra competitiveness to worldwide breaks instead of the previous qualifiers.

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France return to global action for the first time since thumping Croatia 4-2 and lifting the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russian Federation. The group winners will be promoted to League A, and the bottom four teams will be relegated to League C.

League A group winners will progress to the semi-finals of the competition in June 2019 and then the victor of those matches will play in the final.

Each of these leagues are themselves split into four groups (1, 2, 3 and 4), with each team playing each other home and away during September, October and November 2018.

Northern Ireland are in League B, along with Wales and the Republic of Ireland, while England are in League A and Scotland in League C. The top 10 nations from the Nations League qualifiers will earn a berth at the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup, which will expand to 16 teams. France and Germany headline League A's first of four three-team groups, along with the Netherlands, and are coming off polar opposite summers. The squad is aging and veterans of past successes such as Manuel Neuer, Thomas Muller and Jerome Boateng will believe that they still have a lot to offer at the global stage and the Nations League is the ideal stage for them to prove that.

France will have to cope with the burden of expectations but the availability of their top stars, who were part of the World Cup-winning squad, will put them at ease.

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But considering those matches will substitute the normally long and tedious qualification round to the Eurocup, it may be worth the opportunity to watch a competition among the best on the continent.

The first tournament is due to commence in September 2018, following the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

For Les Bleus, they can show to the world that they are the best team in the world by beating Germany and show why they deservedly crowned world champions.

But whether the Nations League should be linked to Euro qualifying, and if so in what way, are quibbles for further down the line.

The competition will largely replace worldwide friendly matches now played on the FIFA global Match Calendar. Relegation or promotion results in a major shift in the calibre of the opposition for the next tournament, which is significant: nations play between four and seven Nations League matches every two years, a big chunk of the friendly window.

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