Friendly football games are usually labelled as boring sleeping pills, with teams resting their best players, low number of spectators and general dullness. Before the European Championships 2020, that situation is about to change, with the new Nations League qualifiers.
Nations League explained
The idea behind Nations League is simple: The European teams are divided into four groups, A-D, based on ranking. The teams will face each other in a number of friendly matches, starting September 2018. Now for the interesting part: The best placed team in each group that did not qualify to the Euro2020 through the regular qualifiers will advance to the tournament!
Example: In group B (see below), Sweden, Denmark and Russia is the top three teams. Sweden and Denmark managed to qualify to the Euro2020 in the regular qualifiers, while Russia didn’t. Hence, Russia will advance to the tournament through Nations League!
Most teams from Group A, and many teams from group B will of course advance to the Euro2020. Hence, for teams in these groups that are struggling in the qualifiers, the Nations League might be even more important than the regular qualifiers since even a middle position in these groups might mean a spot in the European Championships! For group C and D, the competition is not as hard, but then many of the opponents will not reach the Euro2020 through the regular qualifiers, so a top position in the group will be necessary to advance through this format.
Groups and teams in Nations League
Group A: Germany, Portugal, Belgium, Spain, France, England, Switzerland, Italy, Poland, Iceland, Croatia, The Netherlands.
Group B: Austria, Wales, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Ukraine, Ireland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Northern Ireland, Denmark, Czech Republic, Turkey.
Group C: Hungary, Romania, Scotland, Slovenia, Greece, Serbia, Albania, Norway, Montenegro, Israel, Bulgaria, Finland, Cyprus, Estonia, Lithuania.
Group D: Azerbaijan, Macedonia, Belarus, Georgia, Armenia, Latvia, Faroe Islands, Luxembourg, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Liechtenstein, Malta, Andorra, Kosovo, San Marino, Gibraltar.
We look forward to an exciting year of football 2018 with the FIFA World Cup, Euro 2020 Qualifiers and Nations League!