England To Learn Nations League Opponents

The draw will take place on January 24 for the inaugural European Nations League in which the 55 countries that compete in UEFA have been split into four leagues based on their FIFA ranking at the end of World Cup qualifying (the play-offs not included).

England are in League A and they and the 11 other teams will be drawn into four groups of three with the group matches being played during the international breaks in September, October and November 2018.

The top team in each of the four groups will progress to semi-finals to be played in June 2019 and there is also the possibility of relegation

That, in itself, is straightforward enough and the idea behind the new format is also a sound one, namely that international football, in Europe especially, is struggling to remain relevant and needs something different to compete with the club game.

The Nations League format is designed to provide a more competitive edge than friendly matches so that, England versus Germany in the new competition would be more meaningful than the recent match between the two nations at Wembley.

But the new competition also ties in to qualifying for the 2020 European Championships and that is where things become more difficult to understand, the official UEFA guide to the competition needs a clear head when read in order to understand things fully!

What is clear, with Euro 2020 being spread around a number of countries and not being 'hosted' by one or two, is that the two years of international football after Russia 2018 will have a different feel to them.

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