The new international competition for European National teams known as the Uefa Nations league is set to kick off in a couple of days.
The new Uefa Nations League may be confusing to many football fans as there is already the well known European Championships known as the Euros.
So what is the Uefa Nations League about?
The Uefa Nations league is an international tournament for European teams which is aim at eliminating meaningless friendlies during international breaks. The teams will battle to then feature in a final four in 2019 to decide who will be crowed champion.
Here’s how it will work.
55 European teams would be split into four leagues (A, B, C and D) based on their UEFA ranking. Within those four leagues, the teams will be split again into groups, which will be made up of either three to four teams.
In each of the four leagues, four teams will be promoted at the end of the cycle, while four teams will be relegated. They will then play at their new level in the next competition, which starts in 2020.
The winners of the four groups in League A will qualify for the Final Four competition.
See the groups below:
Group 1: Germany, France, Netherlands
Group 2: Belgium, Switzerland, Iceland
Group 3: Portugal, Italy, Poland
Group 4: Spain, England, Croatia
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
Group 1: Scotland, Albania, Israel
Group 2: Hungary, Greece, Finland, Estonia
Group 3: Slovenia, Norway, Bulgaria, Cyprus
Group 4: Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, Lithuania
Group 1: Georgia, Latvia, Kazakhstan, Andorra
Group 2: Belarus, Luxembourg, Moldova, San Marino
Group 3: Azerbaijan, Faroe Islands, Malta, Kosovo
Group 4: FYR Macedonia, Armenia, Liechtenstein, Gibraltar
When Will The Games Be Played?
Matchday 1: September 6-9, 2018
Matchday 2: September 9-11, 2018
Matchday 3: October 11-13, 2018
Matchday 4: October 14-16, 2018
Matchday 5: November 15-17, 2018
Matchday 6: November 18-20, 2018
Finals: June 5-9, 2019
The tournament kicks off on Thursday, September 6 with Germany taking on World Champions, France.
What is The Final Four?
This will take place in June 2019 and would involve the group winners from League A. There will be a one-game semi-final stage followed by the final with the winner of that named the Nations League champion.
The Final Four tournament will occur in odd years, meaning that when there isn’t a World Cup or European Championship tournament, there will be a Nations League winner.
And The Benefits?
According to UEFA, “The UEFA Nations League creates more meaningful and competitive matches for teams and a dedicated calendar and structure for national team football”. The association believes the Nations League addresses concerns national associations raised about friendlies no longer providing adequate competition.
Weaker teams will also face teams ranked around their level so there will be fewer lopsided scorelines and more meaningful games for fans.