20 October 2018
The UEFA Nations League
What is the UEFA Nations League?
The Nations League is an attempt by the governing body of European football, UEFA to revamp international football in Europe. It is a similar concept the the major club competition (The UEFA Champions League)
It has been met with a fair bit of criticism both from fans and managers alike as it takes place in September, October and November which are incredibly busy months in European club competition, and with this years World Cup has put a strain on player fitness.
Apparently the answer to this from UEFA is a quote:
With UEFA saying that the idea……”stems from the desire… to improve the quality and standing of national team football” with the federation and its associations seeking a move away from meaningless friendly games.
This is a fair enough argument but has it been properly thought through? The answer to that is open ended at this early stage.
What is the format of the UEFA Nations League?
It can be a little complicated to understand but we’ll try and break it down for you as simply as possible.
1. 55 member associations are split into four leagues (A-D), each league consisting of four groups.
2. The 2018-19 Nations League kicks off in September 2018 and runs through October and November.
3. League A is the main group and will have four groups with winners of each group going through to the finals in 2019.
4. As in normal league football there is promotion and relegation.
5. Winners of Groups will be promoted, so as follows:
Winner Group D promoted to Group C
Winner Group C promoted to Group B
Winner Group B promoted to Group A
Bottom Group A relegated to Group B
Botton Group B relegated to Group C
Bottom Group C relegated to Group D
6. There are also automatic qualifications spots up for grabs to go straight to the European Championships, this is where the stakes are raised. The prospect of playing a 3 month tournament and qualifying for the European Championships will be a huge carrot for a number of national football associations across Europe.
As you would expect, League A consists of the top 12 teams in Europe based on their UEFA ranking. Below you can see a breakdown of each league and the groups within that league.
League B consists of teams ranked from 13 to 24 and, the same as League A, they are divided into four groups of three.
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Republic of Ireland
League C is different in that it features 15 teams and this is split into one group with 3 teams and three groups with 4 teams.
League D is made up of the 16 lowest ranked teams in the UEFA calculations and of course this is made up of four groups of 4 teams.
The format of The UEFA Nations League Finals
The finals take place in the summer of 2019. Four teams from league A who win their respective groups will go forward to the finals in 2019 with two semi-finals (on June 5 and 6) with the final and a third-place play-off taking place on June 9th.
How does the tournament affect European Championship Qualifying?
The UEFA Nations League “potentially” offers a route into the European Championship for teams that fail to reach the tournament through the standard qualification process. It is a little like teams that don’t make the knockout phases of the Champions league getting a second bite in the Europa league but with a reverse effect.
Each League from A to D has four play-off positions which will be given to the group winners as first priority. However if a group winner has already qualified for a play-off spot then the opportunity will go to the next best ranked team of that league.
Hope you enjoyed the information, and of course we will be covering The UEFA Nations League from a betting perspective throughout October and through November.