The UEFA Nations League will mean:
- An increase in the number of competitive matches
- Avoiding meaningless friendlies
- National teams will play against sides of a similar strength
- The competition will feature promotion and relegation
- An additional chance to qualify for UEFA EURO 2020
- No additional matches in the international calendar
Football never stops. Matches might end with the referee’s whistle, but the game does not stop. On 26 June, while most of the football world was enjoying the 2018 World Cup group stage, the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League was already kicking off.
The World Cup in Russia again highlighted two things. First, the strength and depth of European football. France’s fully deserved success means that European teams have now won the last four World Cups. Croatia’s wonderful achievement in reaching the final means that three of the last four finals have been all-European affairs. Europe has now provided 13 of the 16 semi-finalists at the last four World Cups. Eight European teams have been World Cup semi-finalists this century, 13 have been quarter-finalists. We are not just producing successful clubs in Europe, but a rich seam of talented players, visionary coaches and competitive national teams.
The World Cup also showed that there is a huge appetite for national team football. UEFA has always been aware of this, and of the fact that national team football needs more than biennial summer showcases. Supporters realise that most friendlies fail to deliver competitive and meaningful football. The relationship between club and national team football needed rebalancing.
That was the thinking behind the UEFA Nations League, which kicks off on 6 September. The first week features France v Germany, England v Spain and Spain v Croatia. The four group winners in League A will compete in next summer’s UEFA Nations League finals.
In every even year there are World Cup or EURO champions; now in every odd year there will be a UEFA Nations League champion. Football is about competition and now, just like in club football, there will be a national team champion at the close of every season.
For middle-ranking and smaller nations, the UEFA Nations League offers an extra way to qualify for EURO final tournaments, and teams who have struggled against sides ranked considerably higher than them will now get the chance to take part in balanced matches.
The UEFA Nations League will help UEFA to continue to deliver for its member associations meaningful matches, intense competition, balance, opportunity for improvement, and the world’s best football.
Please also find a new UEFA Nations League explainer video (in the box link), which is featured in the following languages:
- English – https://uefa.box.com/v/UNL-
- French – https://uefa.box.com/v/UNL-
- German – https://uefa.box.com/v/UNL-
- Italian – https://uefa.box.com/v/UNL-
- Portuguese – https://uefa.box.com/v/UNL-
- Russian – https://uefa.box.com/v/UNL-
- Spanish – https://uefa.box.com/v/UNL-
Italy, Poland and Portugal have expressed interest in hosting the inaugural UEFA Nations League Finals in June 2019.
At the deadline for member associations to confirm their interest in bidding for the four-team event, the Italian Football Association (FIGC), Polish Football Federation (PZPN) and Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) had put their names forward. They will now be provided with the bid requirements and have until 31 August to submit their dossiers.
The finals will in principle be hosted by one of the group winners from League A. As Italy, Poland and Portugal form Group A3, and providing that all three associations submit bids which meet UEFA’s requirements, the winner of that section is in line to be appointed to be the host by the UEFA Executive Committee in December 2018.
The finals will be a four-team event involving the winners of the League A groups. The semi-finals will be played on 5 and 6 June 2019, with the third-place match and final, crowning the first ever UEFA Nations League winner, on 9 June.
The finals will be held in two stadiums with a net seating capacity of at least 30,000, ideally located in the same host city or approximately 150km apart. The venues will be confirmed with the submission of the bid dossiers.
LEAGUE A GROUPS
Group A1: Germany, France, Netherlands
Group A2: Belgium, Switzerland, Iceland
Group A3: Portugal, Italy, Poland
Group A4: Spain, England, Croatia
- Four group winners compete to win the UEFA Nations League in June 2019
- Four sides that finish bottom of groups relegated to League B for 2020/21 edition
- Top four-ranked League A teams that do not qualify for UEFA EURO 2020 enter play-offs in March 2020, with one EURO finals place on offer
Matchday 1: 6–8 September 2018
Matchday 2: 9–11 September 2018
Matchday 3: 11–13 October 2018
Matchday 4: 14–16 October 2018
Matchday 5: 15–17 November 2018
Matchday 6: 18–20 November 2018
Finals draw: tbc
Finals: 5–9 June 2019
UEFA EURO 2020 play-off draw: 22 November 2019
UEFA EURO 2020 play-offs: 26–31 March 2020