The UEFA Nations League enters its maiden voyage into the footballing mayhem starting in September and running though till June 2019. The new system was brought in to replace friendlies to work alongside the FIFA World Rankings. Previously friendlies did not count towards the rankings and the big bosses and UEFA have made changes to keep the ball moving in Europe.
The 55 UEFA nations are all in the tournament and will be split into 4 divisions before being divided again into smaller groups. The “Divisions” are sorted by their world rankings from the beginning of the 2017-2018 season.
League A is the most crucial group and has the 12 highest ranked European teams in, the nations are then split into groups of 3 with the winner of the group progressing to the knockout stage to eventually crown the first ever Nations league winner. The side who finish bottom of their groups will be relegated to League B
League B also has 12 sides ranging from 13th best European side to 24th and their big push will be to improve their FIFA World Rankings and their chance of a good group for Euro’s qualifications, of which we will discuss more later. The sides that wins their groups will be promoted League A for the following UEFA Nations League.
League C has 4 groups, one of 3 sides and the others all have 4, promotion to League B will be the aim for this side whilst there is a possibility of a double relegation from divisions as the bottom side and the worst 3rd place side will have to get used to League D.
League D has the remaining 16 sides which many see as the “minnows” of European football. As League 4 is the bottom of the system there is no relegation for these sides however they can still get promoted to League C.
How Does It Affect European Championship Qualifications?
So, The Nations League impacts the qualifiers mainly just through the coefficients and their possible groups, the seed will be decided by the performances in the tournament. League A sides will be fighting for the top 10 spots in seed 1 for the draw however because of the 3 relegation spots the best side in League B will become a top seed for the Qualifiers.
The usual format will occur with groups of 6 and 5 where the top 2 will automatically qualify to EURO 2020, The 4 remaining sides enter a “last chance” this will be decided by the best performers in the UEFA Nations League who haven’t managed to qualify automatically. These 16 sides will be put into 4 “paths” and the winner of each path will gain qualification to EURO 2020
UEFA Nations League will be interesting to see unfold with not only a chance to add another trophy to your countries list but also a chance to ease your qualification chances to EURO 2020. The new system has been planned by UEFA for a couple of years now and with an opportunity for the smaller nations to also play competitive football the tournament can only be good for the game and the nations within it.
Who do you think will win the UEFA Nations League? could it be France? or England? Let us know!
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