The maiden edition of the UEFA Nations League is set to commence this September, with matches also lined up for October and November.
55 European teams are set to participate in four different leagues, each consisting of four groups.
Altgough, there are lots of exciting fixtures to look forward to, a lot of fans still do not understand the concept behind a Nations League.
Here, Felix Egbomuche explains what the tournament is about.
What is the UEFA Nations League?
The UEFA Nations League is a biennial international association football competition contested by the 55 men’s national teams of the member associations of UEFA.
According to UEFA, the tournament “stems from the desire of UEFA and its 55 member associations to improve the quality and standing of national team football”
It should be a way forward for national teams who have sort to avoid meaningless friendly matches.
What is the format?
The UEFA Nations League features promotion and relegation. The 55 European national teams have been divided into four leagues in accordance with UEFA’s national association coefficient rankings on 11 October 2017. With the top ranked sides in League A while League D includes the lowest.
The teams were later drawn into groups in January, as follows:
Group 1: Germany, France, Netherlands
Group 2: Belgium, Switzerland, Iceland
Group 3: Portugal, Italy, Poland
Group 4: Spain, England, Croatia
The group winners from all four groups will contest the UEFA Nations League Finals (semi-finals, third-place match and final) in June 2019 to become the UEFA Nations League winner. While the four teams that finish bottom of their groups will be relegated to League B for the 2020 edition.
Group 1: Slovakia, Ukraine, Czech Republic
Group 2: Russia, Sweden, Turkey
Group 3: Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Northern Ireland
Group 4: Wales, Republic of Ireland, Denmark
The four group winners are promoted to League A, with the four sides that finish bottom relegated to League C for the next competition to be played in 2020.
Group 1: Scotland, Albania, Israel
Group 2: Hungary, Greece, Finland, Estonia
Group 3: Slovenia, Norway*, Bulgaria, Cyprus
Group 4: Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, Lithuania
Four group winners are promoted to League B, with the four sides that finish bottom relegated to League D for the 2020 edition.
Group 1: Georgia, Latvia, Kazakhstan, Andorra
Group 2: Belarus, Luxembourg, Moldova, San Marino
Group 3: Azerbaijan, Faroe Islands, Malta, Kosovo
Group 4: Macedonia, Armenia, Liechtenstein, Gibraltar
Four group winners are promoted to League C for the 2020 edition.
When will the UEFA Nations League take place?
Games are being held over six matchdays, during the ‘double-headers’ in September, October and November 2018. The UEFA Nations League Finals competition for the teams that win the four groups within the top division is scheduled for June 2019.
The UEFA Nations League will take place as follows:
Matchday 1 – September 6-8, 2018
Matchday 2 – September 9-11, 2018
Matchday 3 – October 11-13, 2018
Matchday 4 – October 14-16, 2018
Matchday 5 – October 15-17, 2018
Matchday 6 – November 15-17, 2018
Semi-finals – June 5-6, 2019
Third-place play-off – June 9, 2019
Final – June 9, 2019
See the full fixture list here..
The Nations League would have some sort of bearing on the UEFA EURO 2020 qualifications. Read more on that on UEFA’s website.