UEFA League of Nations taken the competitiveness of football in Europe to another level
It can be said that UEFA League of Nations has taken the competitiveness of football to another level. The idea was to replace the less competitive international friendly matches and bring a competitive factor in international calendar alongside FIFA World Cup Qualifiers and Euro (UEFA European Championship). It has worked immensely in its inaugural season.
The tournament was divided into four divisions called leagues. The 55 members of the UEFA were divided as per their rankings into four leagues. League A consists of 12 team, forming four groups of three teams. It goes same with League B as they also include 12 teams in four groups. Group C consists of 15 teams, with a slight change in group formation. Group C1 goes with the three teams, whereas other three groups in League C formed with four teams. League D formed with four groups and each having four teams in it.
In the top League, League A, the winners of the four group were decided to play in the Nations League Finals, with two semi finals, one third and fourth place decider, and one final to decide which team becomes the UEFA Nations League champion.
Teams can also be promoted and relegated to a higher or lower league. Each group winner except for League A, who will go on to play in the Nation League finals, is automatically promoted to the next higher league for the next tournament. Each team placing last in its group, except for League D is automatically relegated to the next lower league.
It was a fair competitive, both on the level of competitiveness and on the financial benefit. Royal Belgian Football Association’s general secretary Steven Martens said that lower ranked nations would still benefit financially from the competition, as the television contract with UEFA would be centralized.
And, here we are after group matches have been played. We have four finalists in the Netherlands, Switzerland, Portugal, and England. The four finalists proved that UEFA League of Nations has taken the competitiveness of football in Europe to another level.
The Netherlands who didn’t make room for themselves in last two major tournaments, reach to UEFA League of Nations’ finals eliminating current (2018) world champion France and 2014 World Cup winner Germany in League A group 1.
Switzerland make room for themselves eliminating 2018 world Cup semifinalist Belgium and Euro 2016 surprise element and first time 2018 World Cup qualifier Iceland from League A group 2.
Euro 2016 champion Portugal maintained their supremacy over Italy and Poland to be a host nation qualifying for inaugural UEFA League of Nations’ finals from League A group 3.
England beat 2018 World Cup finalist Croatia and favourite Spain to reach to UEFA League of Nations’ finals from League A group 4.
Denmark, Ukraine, and Bosnia & Herzegovina earned a promotion from League B to League A. Finland, and Norway earned a promotion from League C to League B, alongside Georgia, Macedonia, from League D to C.
None of the UEFA Nations League finalists are yet guaranteed a place at UEFA Euro 2020. However, if any of them fail to reach the tournament via the European qualifiers (the draw for which is on 2 December), they are now assured of a play-off place.
There will be play-offs for each of the League A, B, C, and D in March 2020. Each group winner earns a spot in the semi-finals. If the group winner is already one of the twenty qualified teams, rankings will be used to give the play-off spot to another team of that league. If fewer than four teams in the entire league remain unqualified, play-off spots for that league are given to teams of the next lower league. This determines the four remaining qualifying spots for the European championship (out of 24 total).