Maguire: England don’t understand Nations League concept

Gareth Bale has joined up with his Wales team-mates ahead of Thursday's clash with Ireland

Fed up with the friendliness of the average global friendly, Uefa has come up with this biennial 55-nation extravaganza that offers not only a shiny new title and trophy but an alternative, if confusing, route via the play-offs to the 2020 European Championship.

Previously, we had the qualifying start immediately after the World Cup.

Three thoughts on Germany and France's 0-0 draw in the UEFA Nations League.

Manufactures Adidas designed the ball which features the colourful imagery that helps make up the Nations League logo, which is also prominent on the trophy.

The inaugural UEFA Nations League commences on Thursday, September 6, and the new competition presents European countries with the chance of landing a spot at the Euro 2020.

Who is in England's group and league?

The top placed teams in the groups of leagues B, C and D are promoted to the next higher tier while the bottom-placed sides are relegated to the lower tier.

The teams will play one-game semi-final prior to the final with the victor being crowned UEFA Nations League Champion.

Each of these leagues are themselves split into four groups (1, 2, 3 and 4), with each team playing each other home and away during September, October and November 2018.

CARDIFF: Wales' Gareth Bale (top) attends a training session with team-mates at the Cardiff City Stadium on Wednesday for their Nations League match against Ireland.

Now the target for Trippier and his England team-mates is success at Euro 2020, having had their confidence boosted by the run in Russian Federation.

[Germany] did not make it to the World Cup knockout phase, but they still have a great squad. The qualifying group stage for Euro 2020 will still be on but, the League will affect the timeline.

Grant said: "We're saying to this group that it's an opportunity with this competition to do it, to go and qualify for a big tournament". Even though our World Cup was so positive we still feel like we need to prove ourselves against the very best teams.

First up is the challenge of Belgium, semi-finalists at this summer's World Cup and the second-ranked side in the world.

In March 2020, each Nations League tier will have a four-team playoff bracket with the victor advancing to Euro 2020.

The Final Four tournament will only be held in odd years, so as to avoid any clash or conflict on the football calendar especially with regards to the World Cup and European Championships.

But whether the Nations League should be linked to Euro qualifying, and if so in what way, are quibbles for further down the line.

The success or failure of this competition won't be decided by the suits who sit around UEFA's executive table, but by the fans who will, or won't, turn up to games, and even by the players who may or may not resist the temptation to pull out of squads as they made a habit of for global friendlies.



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