Football lovers, rejoice. UEFA Nations League has finally started for the season 2020-2021 and home nations are going to start first, playing twice.
What can we expect, what have we seen so far, and what are fans making of this?
Nations League, being a new thing, raised many questions and stirred the dust from slow-changing football world’s shelves.
But it’s a good thing, right?
Well, some changes are always welcomed, but fans and football lovers had many questions from the get-go.
UEFA’s goal was to find a 20-day window between the Champions League, Premier League and La Liga, right after Champions League finals and two major leagues seasons starting.
So what exactly is the motivation behind the league that has no World Cup qualifying spots? Let’s see.
The basics of Nations League
There are four divisions in this league, where top three are separated in four groups with four teams in each group.
And just like in the Champions League groups, each team plays both home and away.
There is also a bottom division with two groups, each holding four and three countries respectively.
Finals for League A, which were originally planned for June, will be played in September or October next year 2021 between the winners of their groups.
Promotion awaits the teams that manage to stay on top of their groups in B, C and D leagues.
Teams finishing last in Leagues A and B are assigned to lower ranks, where for League C will be play-offs.
The best two group winners who are not lucky enough to reach the World Cup through normal qualifying will join the World Cup European play-offs, played between 12 teams in March 2022.
From there, three will qualify for the Qatar tournament.
Games ahead of us and league’s favourite
All European countries apart from San Marino, Lichtenstein and Gibraltar are to play Nations League games.
Games are to be played in before mentioned brake periods.
Players are going to stay busy during October and November, because on top of Nations League, they will also have play-offs for Euro 2020 and possibly some friendly matches.
Why not after all?
Euro 2020 play-offs have moved into two international breaks.
The Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland all have semi-final play-offs on 8th of October. Wales and England both play friendlies that day, just ahead of the Nations League.
We can probably expect more friendly matches and play-off finals in November.
World Cup champion, France, is one of the current favourites to winning a Nations League with odds placed at 4-1, which is still low by some predictions.
However the return of Luis Enrique has boosted Spain’s chances of success in the competition in 2021, with an unbeaten start to 2020 against Germany and Ukraine.
Experienced bettors know a round of live baccarat leaves you with higher odds, so naturally, people were expecting more from sportsbook in this regard.
Quite a lot has changed since the last Nations League
UEFA has decided to decrease the bottom tier and increase the top three tiers.
Each group now has four teams instead of three.
This meant drop in divisions for Germany, Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Last Nations League had a guarantee of four European Championship places where 16 top-placed teams would progress to different play-off pools.
These games are to be played in October and November.
Fans however have mixed feelings about this season, and many called for skipping it altogether until 2021-2022.