UEFA Nations League

Last updated

UEFA Nations League
UEFA Nations League.svg
Founded2018
RegionEurope (UEFA)
Number of teams55
Qualifier for UEFA European Championship
Television broadcasters List of broadcasters
Website Official website
Soccerball current event.svg 2018–19 UEFA Nations League

The UEFA Nations League is a biennial international football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the member associations of UEFA, the sport's European governing body. [1]

Association football Team field sport

Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played with a spherical ball between two teams of eleven players. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world's most popular sport. The game is played on a rectangular field called a pitch with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by moving the ball beyond the goal line into the opposing goal.

UEFA international sport governing body

The Union of European Football Associations is the administrative body for association football, futsal and beach soccer in Europe, although several member states are primarily or entirely located in Asia. It is one of six continental confederations of world football's governing body FIFA. UEFA consists of 55 national association members.

Contents

The first tournament began in September 2018, following the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The four group winners from League A will qualify for the finals, to be played in Portugal in June 2019. Four nations, one from each League, will also qualify for the UEFA Euro 2020 finals.

2018 FIFA World Cup 21st FIFA World Cup, held in Russia in 2018

The 2018 FIFA World Cup was the 21st FIFA World Cup, an international football tournament contested by the men's national teams of the member associations of FIFA once every four years. It took place in Russia from 14 June to 15 July 2018. It was the first World Cup to be held in Eastern Europe, and the 11th time that it had been held in Europe. At an estimated cost of over $14.2 billion, it was the most expensive World Cup. It was also the first World Cup to use the video assistant referee (VAR) system.

2019 UEFA Nations League Finals final game of the 2018–2019 UEFA Nations League

The 2019 UEFA Nations League Finals will be the final tournament of the 2018–19 edition of the UEFA Nations League, the inaugural season of the international football competition involving the men's national teams of the member associations of UEFA. The tournament will be held by Portugal from 5 to 9 June 2019, and will be contested by the four group winners of Nations League A. The tournament will consist of two semi-finals, a third place play-off, and the final to determine the inaugural champions of the UEFA Nations League.

UEFA Euro 2020 2020 edition of the UEFA Euro

The 2020 UEFA European Football Championship, commonly referred to as UEFA Euro 2020 or simply Euro 2020, is scheduled to be the 16th UEFA European Championship, the quadrennial international men's football championship of Europe organised by UEFA.

The competition largely replaces the international friendly matches previously played on the FIFA International Match Calendar. [2]

Exhibition game sporting event wherein the result has no external impact

An exhibition game is a sporting event whose prize money and impact on the player's or the team's rankings is either zero or otherwise greatly reduced. In team sports, matches of this type are often used to help coaches and managers select and condition players for the competitive matches of a league season or tournament. If the players usually play in different teams in other leagues, exhibition games offer an opportunity for the players to learn to work with each other. The games can be held between separate teams or between parts of the same team.

The FIFA International Match Calendar is an outline agreement between FIFA, the six continental football confederations, European Club Association and FIFPro.

Adoption

In October 2013, Norwegian Football Association President Yngve Hallén confirmed that talks had been held to create a third full national-team international tournament for UEFA members [3] in addition to the FIFA World Cup and UEFA European Championship.

Yngve Hallén Norwegian football administrator

Yngve Hallèn is a Norwegian sports executive who was president of the Norwegian Football Association from 2010 to 2016. He was elected to his position in March 2010, following Sondre Kåfjord. Hallèn comes from Sogndal Fotball, where he was director.

FIFA World Cup association football competition for mens national teams

The FIFA World Cup, often simply called the World Cup, is an international association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the sport's global governing body. The championship has been awarded every four years since the inaugural tournament in 1930, except in 1942 and 1946 when it was not held because of the Second World War. The current champion is France, which won its second title at the 2018 tournament in Russia.

UEFA European Championship European association football tournament for mens national teams

The UEFA European Championship is the primary association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), determining the continental champion of Europe. Held every four years since 1960, in the even-numbered year between World Cup tournaments, it was originally called the UEFA European Nations' Cup, changing to the current name in 1968. Starting with the 1996 tournament, specific championships are often referred to in the form "UEFA Euro [year]"; this format has since been retroactively applied to earlier tournaments.

The concept of the UEFA Nations League would see all 55 of UEFA's member associations' national teams divided into a series of groups based upon a ranking formulated using their recent results, where they would be promoted and relegated to other groups according to their results within the group. [4] The proposed tournament would take place on dates on the International match calendar that are currently allocated for international friendlies and would not affect the FIFA World Cup or UEFA European Championship. [5]

In March 2014, UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino stated that one of the benefits of the proposal would be to help less glamorous national associations arrange games. [5]

Gianni Infantino Swiss-Italian businessman

Giovanni Vincenzo "Gianni" Infantino is a Swiss–Italian football administrator and the current president of FIFA. He was elected President of FIFA during the 2016 FIFA Extraordinary Congress on 26 February 2016.

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 centralised. [6] The UEFA Nations League was unanimously adopted by the 54 UEFA member associations (Kosovo was not a member at this time) at the XXXVIII Ordinary UEFA Congress in Astana on 27 March 2014. [1]

Format

According to the approved format (prior to Kosovo becoming a UEFA member), [1] [7] [8] the now 55 UEFA national teams (including Kosovo) are divided into four divisions (called "Leagues"): [9] [10] 12 teams in League A, 12 teams in League B, 15 teams in League C, and 16 teams in League D. In each league, four groups are formed (three or four teams in each group) and teams play each other both home and away.

In the top league, League A, the winners of the four groups go on 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 (there are four groups in each league) except for League A, who will go on to play in the Nations 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; however, in League C, due to different sized groups, the three fourth-placed teams and the lowest-ranking third-placed team are relegated..

The UEFA Nations League is linked with the UEFA European Championship qualifying, providing teams another chance to qualify for the UEFA European Championship.

There will be play-offs for each of Leagues 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). [9] [10] [11]

The Nations League may also be linked with UEFA's future World Cup qualifications for the same purpose. [12]

Support and criticism

UEFA devised the tournament as a means to eliminate international friendlies – an aim that has been shared by many football clubs and supporters with the regular football season being interrupted with non-competitive international matches as part of the FIFA International Match Calendar. [13] [14] [15]

In February 2012, it was agreed between UEFA and the European Club Association (ECA) that the international friendly schedule would be reduced from 12 to 9 matches a year with the August round of international friendlies in the UEFA confederation abolished from 2015. [16] The aspiration to eliminate friendlies in favour of a more competitive tournament has been welcomed by many football commentators. [17] [18]

Supporters more than most realise that most friendlies fail to deliver competitive and meaningful football. Now they will have the opportunity to see their teams play in more competitive matches, take part in a new competition and get a second chance to qualify for the major tournaments. There will certainly be fewer friendly internationals and undoubtedly fewer meaningless friendlies. However, there will still be space in the calendar for friendly internationals – particularly warm-up matches for final tournaments. UEFA is also keen that European teams will still have the chance to play opponents from other confederations.

The Nations League was partly created out of UEFA's aspiration to eliminate "meaningless" international friendlies. [19]

However, the format has been criticised as allowing weaker teams to qualify through the Nations League to compete in the European Championship finals, instead of qualifying through the standard qualification process. [20]

In the United Kingdom there has been criticism that the tournament is being shown on Sky Sports, a subscription channel, and not available free-to-air. [21]

Trophy

The UEFA Nations League trophy UEFA Nations League Cup.svg
The UEFA Nations League trophy

The UEFA Nations League trophy was unveiled during the phase draw in Lausanne, Switzerland. The trophy represents all 55 UEFA National associations and is made of sterling silver. The trophy weighs 7.5 kg and is 71 cm tall; it will first be lifted in June 2019. [22]

Anthem

The official anthem of the UEFA Nations League was recorded with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir, singing in Latin. It is a mix of classical and electronic music, and is played when the players are entering the field of play, in television sequences and for ceremonial purposes. The composers are Giorgio Tuinfort and Franck van der Heijden. [22] [23]

Seasons

Each season of the UEFA Nations League will be played from September to November of an even-numbered year (pool stage), and June of the following odd-numbered year (Nations League Finals of League A), meaning a UEFA Nations League champion will be crowned every two years. [9] [10] [11]

Results of Nations League Finals

SeasonHostFinalThird place play-off
WinnerScoreRunner-upThird placeScoreFourth place
2018–19
Details
Flag of Portugal.svg  Portugal

Team performances by season

Team 2018–19 2020–21
LGRKP/RLGRKP/R
Flag of Albania.svg  Albania C 34 C
Flag of Andorra.svg  Andorra D 53 D
Flag of Armenia.svg  Armenia D 45 D
Flag of Austria.svg  Austria B 18 B
Flag of Azerbaijan.svg  Azerbaijan D 46 D
Flag of Belarus.svg  Belarus D 43 C
Flag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium A 5 A
Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina.svg  Bosnia and Herzegovina B 13 A
Flag of Bulgaria.svg  Bulgaria C 29 C
Flag of Croatia.svg  Croatia A 9 B
Flag of Cyprus.svg  Cyprus C 36 D
Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  Czech Republic B 20 B
Flag of Denmark.svg  Denmark B 15 A
Flag of England.svg  England A Q A
Flag of Estonia.svg  Estonia C 37 D
Flag of the Faroe Islands.svg  Faroe Islands D 50 D
Flag of Finland.svg  Finland C 28 B
Flag of France.svg  France A 6 A
Flag of Georgia.svg  Georgia D 40 C
Flag of Germany.svg  Germany A 11 B
Flag of Gibraltar.svg  Gibraltar D 49 D
Flag of Greece.svg  Greece C 33 C
Flag of Hungary.svg  Hungary C 31 C
Flag of Iceland.svg  Iceland A 12 B
Flag of Israel.svg  Israel C 30 C
Flag of Italy.svg  Italy A 8 A
Flag of Kazakhstan.svg  Kazakhstan D 47 D
Flag of Kosovo.svg  Kosovo D 42 C
Flag of Latvia.svg  Latvia D 51 D
Flag of Liechtenstein.svg  Liechtenstein D 52 D
Flag of Lithuania.svg  Lithuania C 39 D
Flag of Luxembourg.svg  Luxembourg D 44 D
Flag of North Macedonia.svg  North Macedonia D 41 C
Flag of Malta.svg  Malta D 54 D
Flag of Moldova.svg  Moldova D 48 D
Flag of Montenegro.svg  Montenegro C 35 C
Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands A Q A
Ulster Banner.svg  Northern Ireland B 24 C
Flag of Norway.svg  Norway C 26 B
Flag of Poland.svg  Poland A 10 B
Flag of Portugal.svg  Portugal A Q A
Flag of Ireland.svg  Republic of Ireland B 23 C
Flag of Romania.svg  Romania C 32 C
Flag of Russia.svg  Russia B 17 B
Flag of San Marino.svg  San Marino D 55 D
Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland C 25 B
Flag of Serbia.svg  Serbia C 27 B
Flag of Slovakia.svg  Slovakia B 21 C
Flag of Slovenia.svg  Slovenia C 38 D
Flag of Spain.svg  Spain A 7 A
Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden B 16 A
Flag of Switzerland.svg   Switzerland A Q A
Flag of Turkey.svg  Turkey B 22 C
Flag of Ukraine.svg  Ukraine B 14 A
Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales B 19 B

See also

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References

  1. 1 2 3 "UEFA Nations League receives associations' green light". UEFA.com. 27 March 2014.
  2. Rumsby, Ben (25 March 2014). "England ready to play in new Nations League as revolutionary UEFA plan earns unanimous backing". The Telegraph. The Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  3. Hojem Kvam, Lars (9 October 2013). "Hva om Ronaldo, Özil, Balotelli og Pique møtes til ligaspill – med sine landslag?" (in Norwegian). dagbladet.no. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  4. Gibson, Owen (10 October 2013). "Uefa explores internationals shake-up with Nations League plan". TheGuardian.com. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  5. 1 2 "Nations League: New European tournament to be confirmed". BBC Sport. 26 March 2014. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  6. "Nations League moet nieuwe mijlpaal in Europese voetbal worden" (in Dutch). zita.be. 26 March 2014. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  7. "UEFA Nations League: all you need to know". UEFA.com. 27 March 2014.
  8. "UEFA Nations League/UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying" (PDF). UEFA.com.
  9. 1 2 3 "UEFA Nations League format and schedule approved". UEFA.com. 4 December 2014.
  10. 1 2 3 "UEFA Nations League format and schedule confirmed". UEFA.com. 4 December 2014.
  11. 1 2 "UEFA Nations League and European Qualifiers competition format, 2018–2020" (PDF). UEFA.com.
  12. "UEFA's new 'League of Nations' – Do you understand it?". CNN. 27 March 2014. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  13. Smith, Giles (2 March 2001). "Put an end to these meaningless friendlies". The Telegraph. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  14. Lawton, James (20 February 2018). "Friendlies do not have to be as meaningless as this". The Independent.
  15. "Do friendly matches really matter?". BBC Sport. 2 March 2006.
  16. "Clubs and Uefa agree to reduce international matches". BBC Sport. 28 February 2012. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  17. Liew, Jonathan (13 October 2017). "Abstract and absurd, Uefa's Nations League is anything but the Ctrl-Alt-Delete the international game needs".
  18. "What is the Uefa Nations League – and will it be successful?". The Guardian. 23 January 2018.
  19. "UEFA Nations League: all you need to know". UEFA. 20 August 2018.
  20. Dunbar, Graham (24 March 2017). "As World Cup hope fades, Europeans turn to Nations League". USA Today. Associated Press. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
  21. "England vs Spain: Millions miss out on watching Nations League match shown on pay-per-view Sky Sports". Independent. 9 September 2018. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
  22. 1 2 "UEFA Nations League trophy and music revealed". UEFA.com. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
  23. UEFA.com. "What are the lyrics to the UEFA Nations League Anthem?". UEFA.com.