The last international football competition was the World Cup earlier this summer, with France lifting the Jules Rimet trophy last July.
The World Cup was a tournament that was viewed as a success. This success came at odds to the level of international football over the last few years, which has not been overly entertaining.
However, this September will see the introduction of a new competition. It will aim to reduce boring friendlies, making games more competitive and meaningful.
The newest format from UEFA is the Nations League. UEFA designed this in order to replace uninspiring friendlies with competitive matches. Nations will be pitted against other teams of equal rankings, ensuring closer games.
To make things difficult, however, is the format of the competition. There are a number of different groups with the possibility of being promoted, relegated or qualifying for the UEFA Nations League finals. These finals will be played in June 2019.
How does it work?
55 countries compete in this tournament, split into four separate leagues. Leagues consist of separate groups, of three or four teams.
Those teams in the same group will play each other twice – once home and once away.
The teams that finish top of League A will head onto the finals, whilst those at the bottom will be relegated to League B and will be replaced by those League’s winners. The same will follow for everybody else as if it were a normal league competition.
Will it work?
That remains the multi-million-pound question. Its main aim is to improve the competitiveness of international football. It remains to be seen, however, how people will react to it.
Countries may look to use it as an opportunity to give fringe players a chance to impress on the national stage. They may also treat it as a tournament they actually want to win. Some teams will relish the chance to make an addition to their nation’s trophy cabinet.
After the dust settles on next month’s fixtures, then a proper judgement can be made on how nations use UEFA’s latest concept.