Tonight, Thursday, September 6, world champions France help kick off the inaugural UEFA Nations League against Germany, the start of six days of action that also includes England v Spain and Portugal v Italy.
All very mouth-watering but what is it all about? Allow us to explain
What is the UEFA Nations League?
A new national team competition that replaces friendlies with competitive matches, allowing nations to play against equally ranked teams. The four group winners of the top-ranked League A qualify for the UEFA Nations League finals in June 2019. For the remaining sides, there is promotion and relegation to play for, not to mention a potential route to UEFA EURO 2020.
How does it work?
The 55 associations were split into four Leagues according to their position in the UEFA National Team Coefficient Rankings. A draw was held in Lausanne on 24 January to further divide each League into groups of three or four.
Teams play each other home and away in September, October and November. The group winners in Leagues B, C and D gain promotion and those who finish bottom of the groups in Leagues A, B and C are relegated. The next season is 2020/21.
All you need to know: UEFA Nations League
What’s the trophy for?
The story behind the UEFA Nations League trophy
Thought you’d never ask. As mentioned, the four group winners of League A qualify for the UEFA Nations League finals next June.
The knockout tournament will be hosted by one of the quartets, with the draw in early December 2018.
Where does UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying fit in?
EURO qualifying initially remains largely the same, at least until the playoff round. Previously contested by teams finishing third in their group, now that stage will involve the 16 UEFA Nations League group winners (or, if they have already qualified, the next best-ranked team in their league – the video explains it best).
How the playoffs for UEFA EURO 2020 work
Each League has a path of its own and will consist of two single-leg semi-finals and a one-off final. The winner of each path wins a ticket to UEFA EURO 2020!
2018/19 UEFA Nations League regulations
When do the matches and finals take place?
Matchweeks are below, though teams in Leagues A and B only play on four of them – they have friendlies on the other dates.
UEFA NATIONS LEAGUE DRAW
Group 1: Germany, France, Netherlands
Group 2: Belgium, Iceland, Switzerland
Group 3: Italy, Poland, Portugal
Group 4: Croatia, England, Spain
Group 1: Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine
Group 2: Russia, Sweden, Turkey
Group 3: Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Northern Ireland
Group 4: Denmark, Republic of Ireland, Wales
Group 1: Albania, Israel, Scotland
Group 2: Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary
Group 3: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Norway, Slovenia
Group 4: Lithuania, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia
Group 1: Andorra, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Latvia
Group 2: Belarus, Luxembourg, Moldova, San Marino
Group 3: Azerbaijan, Faroe Islands, Kosovo, Malta
Group 4: Armenia, Macedonia, Gibraltar, Liechtenstein
Latest sports news in Ghana