UEFA Nations League – What the hell is it?

A guide to the new UEFA Nations League

With International friendlies receiving more and more criticism from clubs, fans and managers over the past few years, UEFA have devised a new competition to engage the naysayers and bring attention back to International football in-between major tournaments.

So what is the Nations League?

The UEFA Nations League – launched this 2018/19 season – will involve 55 nations, split into four divisions based on their coefficient rankings. Each of these divisions will contest leagues that will be devised of either three or four teams (playing each other home and away), with a regular promotion/relegation system taking place. In the top division (League A), the four winners of their respective groups will go onto contest the Nations League finals next June, with a semi-final and final format.


Teams in lower divisions can be promoted or relegated between the four divisions, meaning that future Nations League’s – contested every two years – will include a change in division for certain countries.


The Nations League also offers a second bite at the cherry for sides vying for a place at the upcoming European Championships in 2020. There will be playoffs between sides who are yet to guarantee their place at the finals, with four spots at Euro 2020 up for grabs; a huge incentive for the sides on the cusp of qualification.

Group fixtures will take place during September, October and November of this year with the finals and playoffs in June 2020; Currently, the divisions are separated as the following:



The jury is still out on how good an idea this is and whether it succeeds in adding a little more spice and interest into the international fixture weeks, outside of the major tournaments.

But we'll leave you with this great Harry Maguire quote that pretty much sums up the current interest and understanding level of the UEFA Nations League:

“It is quite confusing,” Maguire says.

“I don’t know what you [media] guys think of it. The boss tried to explain it to us the best he could the other day. It is confusing but we are trying to get our heads round it. As players you just try to win every game – and we’ll see where that takes us.



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