UEFA Nations League: All you need to know about this new competition
posted on 04-09-2018 by Jorobado
Here's all you need to know about the UEFA Nations League, including the teams, the leagues, the groups and the dates of the international breaks.
What is the UEFA Nations League?
The UEFA Nations League is a new international tournament. UEFA has devised a new format to add excitement and competition to country clashes and also reduce the number of meaningless international friendlies. Beside these, top teams have the chance to be crowned as the UEFA Nations League champions.
How will it work?
There will be 55 teams involved, split into four leagues (A, B, C and D) based on their UEFA ranking at the end of the 2018 World Cup Qualifiers. Within those four leagues, teams are split again into groups, which made up of either three or four teams.
Within each league, 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, where the UEFA Nations League winner will be crowned.
How have the groups been divided?
Group A1: Germany, France, Netherlands
Group A2: Belgium, Switzerland, Iceland
Group A3: Portugal, Italy, Poland
Group A4: Spain, England, Croatia
Group B1: Slovakia, Ukraine, Czech Republic
Group B2: Russia, Sweden, Turkey
Group B3: Austria, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Northern Ireland
Group B4: Wales, Republic of Ireland, Denmark
Group C1: Scotland, Albania, Israel
Group C2: Hungary, Greece, Finland, Estonia
Group C3: Slovenia, Norway, Bulgaria, Cyprus
Group C4: Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, Lithuania
Group D1: Georgia, Latvia, Kazakhstan, Andorra
Group D2: Belarus, Luxembourg, Moldova, San Marino
Group D3: Azerbaijan, Faroe Islands, Malta, Kosovo
Group D4: FYR Macedonia, Armenia, Liechtenstein, Gibraltar
When will the Nations League take place?
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
Final Four: June 5-9, 2019
UEFA EURO 2020 play-offs: March 26-31, 2020
What are the most importand games of Matchdays 1 & 2?
The UEFA Nations League tournament kicks off in style as the winners of the last two World Cups meet on Thursday, September 6. Germany host France in Munich.
England welcome Spain on Saturday, September 8 and France face the Netherlands on Sunday, September 9. Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal face Italy on Monday, September 10.
What is the Final Four of UEFA Nations League;
The Final Four is the climax to the Nations League. The Final Four tournament will occur in odd years, meaning that in years when there isn't a World Cup or European Championships, there will be a Nations League winner.
The first UEFA Nations League Final Four take place in June 2019 between the group winners from League A. There will be a one-game semi-final stage followed by the the two finals for the 1st and the 3rd place respectively.
The entire finals will be hosted by one single country. Two stadiums with at least 30.000 capacity will be hosting the 4 games. Poland, Italy and Portugal have expressed their interest to host the UEFA Nations League 2019 Final Four.
How will the Nations League affect EURO 2020 Qualifiers?
Euro qualifiers for 2020 will start in March 2019, with double matchdays in the March, June, September, October and November international breaks. The 55 European nations competing will be split into ten groups of five or six teams. In total, there will be 10 matchdays - the same number as now.
The first two placed teams from the 10 groups qualify automatically for the EURO 2020 (20 spots), while four more spots will be awarded to play-off winners. Sixteen teams coming from UEFA Nations League will compete in these play-offs.
Now, here are the changes...
Each Nations League league gets four play-off spots. If the winner of a group has already qualified for the EURO, the next best team which has not qualified goes into the play-offs.
Those sixteen teams will go into four groups, with the top team going to EURO 2020. The four teams play two one-off semi-finals and one one-off final to determine play-off winners.
The UEFA Nations League rankings will also determine the composition of draw pots for subsequent European Qualifiers.
What are the main benefits from the UEFA Nations League?
UEFA say that "the UEFA Nations League creates more meaningful and competitive matches for teams, plus a dedicated calendar and structure for national team football". They also claim that "the new format addresses concerns national associations raised about friendlies no longer providing adequate competition".
As well as the appeal of being named National League winner after the Final Four showpiece event for top teams, weaker teams will have better opportunities to qualify for European Championships - the bottom 16 in the rankings are now guaranteed one of the 24 qualifying spots.
Weaker teams will also face teams of a similar level - so there will be fewer thrashings and more meaningful games for fans.
Are there any money prizes for participants in the UEFA National League?
The total prize money delivered is €76.250.000. The winners of the Nations League will receive a prize money of €4.500.000. The runner-up will get €3.500.000. The third-placed team will receive €2.500.000 and the fourth-placed team will get €1.500.000 as prize money.
In addition to this, every participating nation will get a solidarity fee according to the following scheme: League A - €1.500.000, League B - €1.000.000, League C - €750.000, League D - €500.000.
The Individual Group winners of every league will also get an extra reward. The group winners of every league will receive: League A - €1.500.000, League B - €1.000.000, League C - €750.000, League D - €500.000.
Is this the end of international friendlies?
Actually not, but they will be reduced dramatically. There will still be some room in the UEFA calendar for international friendlies, particularly for the top teams, who participate in groups of three teams.
There will also be room for preparation games ahead of World Cup and EURO final stages. But, the most important is that now the outcome of more international games will matter.
How can I watch the UEFA Nations League?
Unfortunately there will be no free live streaming from the top bookmakers. UEFA have sold together the rights of the UEFA Nations League and the UEFA EURO 2020 qualifiers.
Some of the larger broadcasters in Europe of the UEFA Nations League and the UEFA EURO 2020 qualifiers are the following: ITV and Sky Sports for England, ARD, ZDF and RTL for Germany, RAI and Mediaset for Italy, RTVE and Mediaset Espana for Spain. You'll also be able to watch the Final Four finals in June 2019 and UEFA EURO 2020 play-offs in March 2020 in the same broadcasters.