Check out photos of the official match ball for Europe’s new tournament

Uefa Nations League: What is it and how will it work?

Fed up with the friendliness of the average worldwide 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. And Ozil had released an emotional three-part explanation of his decision, accusing the German FA of racism in the aftermath of a picture with Turkey president Recep Erdogan before the World Cup.

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.

There is promotion and relegation between each league while the top division, which includes France and Germany, will finish with a four-team mini-tournament, to be held in June next year, to decide the Nations League champion.

The Netherlands are the other side in the League A group alongside these two.

The UEFA Nations League kicks off tonight and the first match of the newly formed tournament sees Joachim Loew's men host world champion France at the Allianz Arena.

The victor of each group will move up to League A for the next round of the Nations League, while the bottom side will fall down to League C.

Each league is split into four groups of teams that will play each other home and away between September and November 2018.

On Friday, September 7, Italy tackle Poland and thereafter England will take on 2010 World Cup winners Spain Saturday, September 8, when Northern Ireland face Bosnia and Herzegovina. It's arguable that an in-form minnow is likely to perform better than an out-of-form mid-ranked side, and the expansion to 24 teams has killed any sense of elite competition from the group stage, anyway.




In theory, each pathway will represent one league and will consist of group-winners.

Hopefully, the various Nations League contrivances will all make a bit more sense once we've all seen it in action.

France will have to cope with the burden of expectations but the availability of their top stars, who were part of the World Cup-winning squad, will put them at ease.

For example: Sweden fails to qualify for Euro 2020 via the traditional qualification route.

The other five Euro 2020 qualifying groups have six teams, using all the Federation Internationale de Football Association dates to play 10 games from next March through November. The winners of each group throughout the four leagues will automatically gain a place in the play-offs for the 2020 European Championships.

"Somebody said it's almost sold out and that's a good feeling, hopefully we get a good reception", said Trippier, whose fine displays at right wing-back made him one of England's breakout stars.

Why is the Nations League important?

This will be played off during a window of worldwide fixtures in September, October and November previously used to host global friendly matches.

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