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Hope Soto
September 7, 2018

As the tournament is run by UEFA, the competition is just for European nations.

All that matters is that it presents Scotland with another chance to end their hiatus from global competitions, which dates back to the World Cup in France 20 years ago.

UEFA partners Adidas have helped unveil the ball to be used throughout the tournament including England's opening game against Spain on Saturday at Wembley. In leagues A and B, there are three teams per group.

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 winners of groups in leagues B, C and D will be promoted, while the losers of the groups in leagues A, B and C will be relegated into the league below. The remaining four places in the 24-team lineup will be decided in Nations League playoffs in March 2020 when each tier will have a four-team playoff bracket with the victor advancing to Euro 2020. These are then split into four mini-leagues of three teams.

League B - features the Republic of Ireland.

The Nations League provides an additional opportunity for countries to qualify for the European Championships. It has been made to replace the huge amount of global friendlies, and this is going to affect the Euro qualifying.

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Of course, much like the Europa League, the offer of a qualification spot for the winners (or four winners in the UEFA Nations League's case) gives the tournament a much-needed goal.

"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". Regular qualifying for Euro 2020 has been pushed back to 2019 where the traditional campaign will be crammed into a year.

Germany's defence of their title ended with a disastrous group-stage exit in Russian Federation, the country's earliest elimination since falling in the first round of the 1938 tournament. His deputy keeper Steve Mandanda is also out for four weeks, and these two remain the only absentee from the squad that won the FIFA World Cup 2018 title in Russian Federation. With a good mix of experience and youth, we will get that feeling of absolute determination back. Relegation or promotion results in a major shift in the calibre of the opposition for the next tournament, which is significant: nations play between four and seven Nations League matches every two years, a big chunk of the friendly window.

Where it becomes complicated is in the way the Nations League impacts Euro 2020, for which qualifying begins next March.

Why is the Nations League important?

It's convoluted, complicated and sprawling to the point of delirium, but it's fundamentally created to cut the number of pointless global friendlies and boring mismatches, which can only be good thing given the dwindling appetite therefor. Each of the four Nations League groups A-D will be guaranteed a qualifying spot.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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