Since the inception of this New UEFA competition, people have always wondered how the UEFA Nations League Work. To explain in the simplest of terms. First, one thing you have to know is that the League is contested by all the 55 European countries recognized by UEFA. The UEFA Nations League has only completed one tournament with the second still on till date. The first competition used a different format from the current one being played. Changes were made after the first one to further improve the quality of the League and to generate more revenue.
The first version was played with all teams classified into different Leagues named Group A, Group B, Group C and Group D. The Nations were initially shared into the groups according to their FIFA ranking and recent performances. The Nations were distributed in such a way that the Stronger Nations made up Group A and the weaker footballing Nations Group D. In this first version, Group A and B had 12 teams each, Group C had 15 teams, and Group D had 16 teams. The Nations in each League were then drawn into four different groups.
Teams in the same group play face each other two times. The Leaders of each of the groups in League B were promoted to League A. The Group toppers in League C were promoted to B, while the group leaders in League D were promoted to C. The winners of each group in League A played a playoff to determine who would be crowned the Nations League Champions. Portugal Won the first version of the competition.
The bottom teams in each of the groups in League A, B, and C were supposed to be relegated to a lower league, but they were saved by the format change.
How Does The New UEFA Nations League Work?
If you understand the old format, then understanding the new one will not be much of a problem. Only minor changes were made as to the number of teams in each League. In this new format, Leagues A, B, and C now have sixteen Teams each, with League D having just seven. To archive this, relegation was abolished for only the first season. The four leaders of the four groups in league B were promoted to join the twelve teams in League A making League A teams up to sixteen. The four winners and four runner-up teams in all the four groups in League C were promoted to join the eight teams left in League B to make the teams in league B up to sixteen. Eight teams were also promoted from League D to C to make the teams in League C up to seven, leaving League D with seven teams.
With the new number of teams in each League, League A, B and C each with sixteen teams was drawn into four groups of four teams each while group D teams were drawn into two groups, one with four teams and the other with three. The new League will see promotion maintained and relegation introduced. Two playoffs are now played in the League. One to find the champions and the second to determine the two teams to be relegated from League C.
This article has explained deeply how the UEFA Nations League Work. It is a good initiative by UEFA that won’t come as a surprise to people when other continents choose to adopt it.