The UEFA Nations League is an attempt to re-invigorate national team football in a world where club football dominates the yearly calendar outside of the World Cup. With support from players, coaches and fans, the UEFA Nations League tries to fill a competitive need for national football that friendly’s simply do not provide.
What’s the basic format?
The League features promotion and relegation. 55 teams are divided into 4 leagues with League A featuring top-ranked sides and League D featuring the lowest ranked sides. The groups are currently as follows:
Group A1: Germany, France, Netherlands
Group A2: Belgium, Swizterland, 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 and 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
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Will the League change EURO qualification?
The changes to the UEFA EURO will make it more streamlined. It is now 10 groups with the 2 top teams in each group gaining automatic qualification and the other 4 spaces awarded to European Qualifiers play-off winners where 16 group winners of the UEFA Nations League will be in contention.
How are they calculating UEFA Nations rankings?
Within each league (A, B, C and D), the overall ranking will be calculated based on position in the group then points, goal difference, goals scored, away goals scored, wins, away wins, disciplinary points, coefficient ranking.
What are the advantages for national teams?
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Top teams can aspire to take part in the UEFA Nations League Finals, a new top-level event.
For middle-ranking and smaller nations, the UEFA Nations League will offer an extra way to qualify for UEFA EURO final tournaments. Lower-tier countries – the bottom 16 in the rankings – are now guaranteed one of the 24 qualifying slots for UEFA EURO.
Lower-ranking teams who have struggled against sides ranked considerably higher than them will now get the chance to take part in balanced matches. Teams do not learn and progress by repeatedly losing; now some sides will start winning.
Will this mean more demands on players?
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No: the UEFA Nations League and European Qualifiers will adhere to the existing agreed international match calendar. UEFA is always keen to preserve the balance between club and international football. The new competition should, in fact, reduce demands on players and clubs with less travel.
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