UEFA Nations League could be Joachim Low's final chance at redemption

France coach Didier Deschamps says the world champions can not afford any drop in standards as they prepare to launch their UEFA Nations League campaign away to Germany on Thursday. The four "Leagues" (A-D) each contain four "Groups" (1-4) of three or four nations, who play each other twice to determine promotion (top team) and relegation (bottom team).

Besides, England and Croatia have been drawn in the same group, and Southgate's team will seek revenge for the elimination at the semifinals.

The Nations League, which will kick off during the current global break, is meant to rejuvenate worldwide football in Europe by giving national teams more meaningful matches, while at the same time reducing the number of friendlies.

Germany hosts France in the first-ever UEFA Nations League match in front of a packed-house at Allianz Arena in Munich on Thursday, September 6.

The finals are slated for 2019, and teams will progress or be relegated from their various groups and division according to their overall points and performance.

The UEFA Nations League kicks off tonight amidst a sense of bewilderment among players, fans and media alike and there is little buzz for the European governing body's latest brainchild.

Only teams that have not qualified for the Euro 2020 tournament are eligible for this mini-tournament.

"They don't go from being one of the World Cup favourites to an average side overnight, because the main core [of players] is still there". The top two teams in each of these groups will qualify for Euro 2020 - That will account for 20 teams, 10 group winners and 10 group runners-up.

Despite meeting the current holders in the tournament, which was meant to replace most friendlies, the feeling in the German squad is one of anticipation rather than trepidation.

"The boss tried to explain it to us the best he could the other day". The overall Nations League victor will pocket around £7 million.

During the same ceremony, the Nations League anthem was also revealed. Meanwhile, 2018 Fifa World Cup Russia saw a total cumulative reach of 254 million viewers on SPN (BARC, includes live matches, wraparound shows, highlights, repeats, surround programming of FIFA World Cup, SPN Sports Network, terrestrial network, Sony LIV).

The Nations League will also hope to strengthen the Concacaf region by ensuring teams have a chance to play regular competitive games, instead of meaningless friendlies - a lot of smaller Caribbean nations only play one or two matches a year. A possible configuration next June will see Kosovo, Armenia, Belarus, and Latvia from League D going head-to-head for a spot at the European Championships, making their play-offs well worth a watch.

World Cup finalists Croatia take on Spain in Elche on September 11 in Luis Enrique's first home game in charge of the country he represented 62 times as a player.

  • Stacy Allen