The UEFA Nations League
European soccer teams found a new way to see how they measure against worthy rivals in this championship. In addition, they also compete for important prizes.
Starting shortly after the 2018 World Cup in Russia, the UEFA Nations League came as a surprise to many. While we know that all of the teams on the continent participate in this new championship, why did it begin in the first place?
The UEFA Nations League officially began during September 2018. Concerned that national teams failed to prepare adequately for friendly matches, the European soccer federations created the league.
UEFA Nations League: basic notions
Along with the other prizes that we’ll explain further in our post, this championship doesn’t just offer another official title to gloat. It also awards four spots in Euro 2020, which will take place in twelve cities around the continent.
The 55 teams that make up the Union of European Football Associations will compete in the competition. Authorities have divided them into four categories according to their FIFA ranking. Over the course of more editions, teams will climb and others will fall in rankings depending on their performance.
Thus, League A, the highest-ranking group, is comprised of the strongest teams: Germany, France, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, Island, Portugal, Italy, Spain, England, and Croatia. The best four of these teams will face off in the finals of each edition of the UEFA Nations League.
Meanwhile, the other three categories are comprised of the remaining 43 UEFA teams. After the qualifying round, the winners of the four groups in each category will face off for the four spots in the Euro 2020. Thus, each category will have a winner who’ll have a guaranteed spot in the biggest continental championship.
The trophy and prize money
At the beginning of 2018, UEFA unveiled the trophy; a beautiful silver work of art featuring the championship’s logo.
In its coiling center, the trophy features a flag that unites the flags of the 55 participating countries and their colors reflect beautifully on the trophy’s inner edges.
Furthermore, the prize money varies with the categories and is as follows:
- Firstly, there’s League A: 2.25 million euros
- League B: 1.5 million euros
- League C: 1.125 million euros
- And lastly, League D: 750 thousand euros
In addition, the teams that reach the finals as a category winner receive double their prizes. Lastly, the four finalists for the UEFA Nations League also receive prizes from 6 million, 4.5 million, 3.5 million and 2.5 million euros.
The 2018-2019 edition of the UEFA Nations League
The final phase of the championship took place in the D. Alfonso Henriques Stadium and Dragon Stadium, the latter being the setting of the final match. The four teams that made it to the finals were Holland and England, and Portugal and Switzerland.
In the semifinals, Holland beat England 3-2 while Ronaldo’s Portugal beat Switzerland 3-1. In the final match, striker Gonçalo Guedes scored a goal for Portugal, leading to their home win.
The appeal of the Nations League in the world of Soccer
As we mentioned before, this championship aims to replace the friendly international matches in the FIFA calendar. The former matches left organizers with big earnings, especially when the matches took place in economically powerful countries.
However, the matches held little benefits for the actual teams, traveling far and even cross different time-zones just to participate in a match.
Now, the UEFA Nations League is tackling a true sports feat. Not only will it organize matches so that teams can play against rivals of a similar level, which will help them improve overall, but it also awards sports prizes and recognition.
However, the main downside is that American, African and Asian teams can no longer see how they measure against European teams in friendly matches. As a result, outside of official competitions, they’ll gain little experience from international matches.
In any case, the UEFA Nations League is a championship that boasts ambition, excitement, and amazing players. It promises fiery matches for any soccer fan!