UEFA Nations League
The UEFA Nations League is a European men's football competition between nations. Established in 2018, it is organized by UEFA. Announced as an annual international selection competition, which differentiates it from the Champions League (club competition), it is organized for the first time in 2018 as a biennial competition (every 2 years). The first edition is held during the 2018-2019 season. In 2019, Portugal is the first nation to win the title.
France are the current title holders, after their victory in 2021.
The aim of the project is to replace international friendlies, which often have little interest for sponsors, with weak oppositions. For the big teams, it is the opportunity to compete for a new trophy while the small and medium teams can win a place for the Euro, as well as the chance to be able to participate in balanced matches to learn how to win and to to improve. For the supporters it is an opportunity to have a new competition in which they can support their teams. Friendly matches will still be played, but at a more moderate pace and favoring teams from other continents.
The League of Nations takes place in two phases: first between September and November the group phase is held, then in June of the following year the final phase of the League of Nations takes place. The national teams of the 55 UEFA member associations take part in this event.
For the first edition (2018-2019), according to the model proposed, (only for the first edition), the 55 national teams are divided into four divisions according to the UEFA coefficient of nations established on 11 October 2017 (at the end of the end of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers). From the second edition (2020-2021), the teams are distributed according to their position in the general classification of the previous edition, but this distribution changes:
16 teams in Division A;
16 teams in Division B;
16 teams in the C division;
7 teams in division D. Divisions A, B and C are each divided into four groups of four teams, and division D into two groups: one of three teams and the other of four teams. Thus, each team plays between four and six matches in its pool (round-trip matches), between September and November.
In each league (A, B, C, D), the general classification is calculated according to the position of the teams in their groups, then the points scored, the goal difference, the goals scored, the goals scored in the away, wins, away wins, disciplinary criteria and UEFA coefficients. In League D, the results against the fourth team are not taken into account in order to compare the teams placed first, second and third in each group.
Teams compete for promotion and relegation to a higher or lower division. In each division, the group winners (except division A) are promoted to the top division, while the last ranked teams in each group (except division D) are relegated. In Division A, the teams compete to become the champions of the UEFA Nations League. The four group winners of division A qualify for the “final square”, which is played in June and the winner of the final is crowned “champion of the League of Nations”.
Qualification for the European Championship and the World Cup
The UEFA Nations League offers a second chance to qualify for the European Championship and the FIFA World Cup.
The first edition (and all the odd editions that follow will