UEFA Nations League - 6 September 2018

UEFA Nations League - 6 September 2018

UEFA Nations League - 6 September 2018

Les Bleus return to action for the first time since lifting the World Cup trophy in Russian Federation when they take on Joachim Loew's embattled Germany at a sold-out Allianz Arena in Munich.

THE Nations League may sound like a new blockbuster movie from DC Comics but is in fact Uefa's latest worldwide competition. The tournament's climax is timed to coincide with the summers when there is neither a football world cup or a European championship.

Coach Loew made a decision to stay on and has pledged to successfully overhaul the team and turn it back onto the road to success, with the Nations League being their new start.

UEFA believes all its member federations are getting something they like.

But he could not have picked a harder opponent than France, who are brimming with confidence after lifting their second World Cup after their 1998 success.

The North American football region now has its own version, while UEFA also designed a global version for about 220 teams which FIFA already has plans to adopt.

So the bottom four teams from League A will be replaced by the four group winners from League B, the four last placed teams in Group B will be replaced by the group winners from League C and so on...

Mesut Ozil, one of the most decorated footballers of Low's tenure, has quit the national team citing racial discrimination and unfair criticism targetted at him, ostensibly because of his Turkish origins. It's arguable that an in-form minnow is likely to perform better than an out-of-form mid-ranked side, and the expansion to 24 teams has killed any sense of elite competition from the group stage, anyway.

This is UEFA's solution to the unattractiveness of global friendlies.

Plus, the biennial format should be good for business.

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.

Les Bleus have lost only one game since June 2017, and are unbeaten in their past 11 matches.

Serbia, despite having topped Ireland's World Cup qualifying group find themselves in Group C along with Euro 2004 Winners Greece.

So if, for instance, Michael O'Neill's side were to win their mini-group then they would be promoted to League A, and then go into the finals tournament as well to be crowned League B champions.

Top-tier teams going to the Final Four must be in one of the five smaller groups of five teams.

The other five Euro 2020 qualifying groups have six teams, using all the Federation Internationale de Football Association dates to play 10 games from next March through November. Semifinals, a third-place playoff and a final will all be played, with the host country to be decided in December from among the finalist teams.

All of the 16 group winners from the Nations League will go forward to play-off for the remaining four spots at Euro 2020. First up in action are the new World Champions France and the 2014 winners Germany who will be looking to get back their lost pride.

Yes. Firstly, results in the Nations League will decide the seeds for December's qualifying draw in Dublin.

The Euro 2020 draw will be in April, just a few weeks before the tournament begins in Rome.

On paper, this game had everything required to kick-start the European governing body's initiative to eradicate the scourge of meaningless friendlies from the worldwide calendar.

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