Antoine Griezmann et le trophée de la Ligue des nations, à l’automne dernier.

Football: How does this League of Nations work?

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The 3rd edition of the UEFA Nations League started on Wednesday. Switzerland is taking part in the competition this Thursday. Summary of a format that is not always easy to understand.

Antoine Griezmann and the Nations League trophy last fall.

AFP

In order to shine in society, there are many simple issues in life to discuss. But if you really want to smile with your friends over an aperitif or with your family, nothing beats being able to explain the completely new UEFA Nations League to them. Because the format, if somewhat appreciated by the players exhausted by their long season at the club, has made it possible to eliminate the tedious friendlies and bring together teams of about the same level when it comes to the qualifiers for the European Championship or the World Cup is not on the agenda.

basic information

The League of Nations pits the 55 members of UEFA against each other. In 2022, the calendar includes the international dates set by FIFA ahead of the start of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar late next autumn. European teams are divided into four “leagues”. The strongest nations play in League A, while the weakest play in League D. Leagues A, B and C consist of four groups of four teams each (16 in total per league), while League D consists of a group of four – a hen of three. Each team plays each opponent home and away.

The groups

Group A1: France, Denmark, Croatia, Austria
Group A2: Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Czech Republic
Group A3: Italy, Germany, England, Hungary
Group A4: Belgium, Netherlands, Poland, Wales

Group B1: Ukraine, Scotland, Republic of Ireland, Armenia
Group B2: Iceland, Russia*, Israel, Albania
Group B3: Bosnia, Finland, Romania, Montenegro
Group B4: Sweden, Norway, Serbia, Slovenia

Group C1: Turkey, Luxembourg, Lithuania, Faroe Islands
Group C2: Northern Ireland, Greece, Kosovo, Cyprus
Group C3: Slovakia, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan
Group C4: Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Georgia, Gibraltar

Group D1: Liechtenstein, Moldova, Andorra, Latvia
Group D2: Malta, Estonia, San Marino

*Russia will not play due to post-war sanctions in Ukraine. It automatically finishes last in its group (B2) and 16th among the League B formations.

game schedule

Days 1 and 2: from June 1st to June 8th, 2022
Days 3 and 4: June 9-14, 2022
Day 5 and 6: September 22-27, 2022

Next year, Euro 2024 qualifiers will be in the spotlight and only the selection drawn from a group of five sides will play friendlies. The League of Nations finals, which will gather the winners of each League A group, will be played in June 2023. The semi-finals will be held on June 14th and 15th, while the final will be played on June 18th.

Belgium, the Netherlands, Poland and Wales, ie all the teams in group A4, are candidates to organize these finals. The winner of this pool has a good chance of organizing this mini-tournament. The four group winners will be divided into groups of five teams in the Euro 2024 qualifying draw.

knowledge

– The defending champion of the League of Nations is the French team. The Blues had beaten Spain 2-1 in the final of the 2020-2021 edition, with goals from Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappé. The winner of the first edition in 2019 was Portugal. Switzerland had taken fourth place in this final round.

– The winners of each group of leagues B, C and D will be promoted to the higher league. The bottom of the groups in leagues A and B are relegated directly. The bottom of League C plays a play-off to determine the team that advances to League D.

Nations League and Euro 2024

The Nations League can usually ‘save’ selections that have failed to qualify for the next big event. But UEFA has yet to confirm the process for Euro 2024. Things will be sorted out next month.

There will probably be 10 different groups for the European Championships in Germany and the first two of each group will automatically have their tickets in addition to the German organizer. The remaining three spots are expected to be awarded after the playoffs to high-ranking but unqualified selections in Leagues A, B and C of the Nations League.

how much does it pay

Each team is guaranteed to collect the following sums:

– League A: around 2.1 million Swiss francs
– League B: around 1.4 million
– League C: around 1 million
– League D: around 700,000

Group winners see this amount twice. The finalists of League A are also entitled to a special prize money for their participation in the finals. In 2019, the Portuguese champions received a check for CHF 10 million. Switzerland, 4th, had collected more than 7 million.

The next

The next international calendars have not yet been set by FIFA, but it is expected that the next edition of the Nations League will take place between September and November 2024, with finals in June 2025. After some indiscretions, Brazil, Argentina and maybe other South American teams too should be there and let the income of this competition explode.


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