After a long, hard season, instead of resting, players are still made to play the UEFA Nations League. You may now wonder, “what’s the point of the UEFA Nations league after all when we already have the European cup?”
Well, before going further, let’s discuss what the UEFA Nations League is all about in summary.
What’s the UEFA Nations League All About?
The UEFA Nations league is a competitive league tournament amongst European countries. Find below the major highlights of the competition.
- It’s a League tournament for European countries, similar to how the UEFA Champions League is played.
- According to UEFA, the main point of the Nations League is to replace the so-called “pointless international friendlies” with a competitive tournament that fans would enjoy watching more.
- It is completed by 55 European countries divided into 4 League groups – A to D.
- Winners of each group face off in the Knock-out stage to decide the overall winner of the tournament.
- 4 European teams can qualify for the EURO Cup via the Nations League.
- 2 Best Nations League group winners will enter the UEFA 2nd qualifying round for the FIFA World Cup.
Why Is The UEFA Nations League Created?
Well, as mentioned before, UEFA created the Nations League to replace the international Friendlies. Why, you may ask?
In truth, we all do not long to watch our respective nations play a friendly match that has no real reward. We’d rather watch them in a competitive tournament.
Similarly, UEFA observed the lack of interest of fans in these friendly matches, so they decided to create something competitive that fans would love to watch – UEFA Nations League.
Why UEFA Nations League When We Already Have The European Nations Cup?
As mentioned earlier, the UEFA nations League is to replace the international friendly matches.
Although it is now a competitive tournament, the UEFA Nations League is still not on the same level as the European Nations cup.
But here is the confusion: the winner of the European cup competition is seen as the best nation in Europe.
So, what do you call the winner of the UEFA nations League?
Overall, when you really at it logically, the UEFA Nations League is pointless when there is the European cup.
Impact of The UEFA Nations League on Players, Fans and UEFA
Since 2018, the UEFA nations league has started. Now, we want to look into the impact of the tournament on the players, fans and the organizers – UEFA.
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Impact of UEFA Nations League on Players
To be fair, not many players enjoy playing in the Nations League.
Kevin De Bruyne, for example, expressed his opinion on the Nations League saying in a press conference:
“I’m not exactly looking forward to it,
“The Nations League is unimportant in my eyes. Just glorified friendlies after a long and tough season. I am not looking forward to it.
Anyway, we can say that we want more rest. Nothing changes anyway.”Kevin De Bruyne
Most football players who play top level football regularly at their clubs would likely share De Bruyne’s sentiment.
It is very clear that players need more rest.
However, not all players agree with De Bruyne. Joao Moutinho, for example, disagrees with the Belgian star.
The Portuguese, on the other believes that the Nations League is very important.
All in all, the majority of football players do not believe that the Nations League is that important.
In fact, one can argue that the very few footballers who look forward to it most are fringe players or those who play for small clubs.
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Impact of UEFA Nations League on Fans
The real winners of the advent of the Nations League are the fans!
Fans never get tired of watching or supporting their nations in a competitive tournament.
In fact, the match attendance of fans rose by about 34% in the Nations League compared to the usual friendly matches.
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The Impact of Nations League on UEFA
To be fair again, UEFA is yet another winner of the invention of the Nations League.
Think for a second; would UEFA even invent something that wouldn’t be profitable to them?
Yet another football competition to monetize. More sponsorship = more money for UEFA.
The UEFA Champions League new format too is very similar.
It favors the fans and UEFA themselves but not the players.
The Impact Of UEFA Nations League on Other Football Bodies
After observing the success of the UEFA Nations League, the South American football body, CONMEBOL looking to join the UEFA Nations League starting from 2024.
Although not yet finalized, UEFA would provide more details about the shape of the tournament if CONMEBOL teams join the Nations League.
Would it not be a smarter move for CONMEBOL to start their own Nations League instead of joining the UEFA Nations League?
Would CAF organize such a tournament for African nations?
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To remind you, the point of the UEFA nations League in the first place is to replace friendly matches with a competitive football tournament that fans would enjoy watching more.
From the logical point of view, the UEFA Nations league is pointless when you compare it to the European Cup of Nations.
Anyway, now, let us consider if the tournament is good for football or not.
To be candid, looking at it from the fans’ perspective, the UEFA Nations League is good for football. Why? More fun, more excitement and entertainment to behold.
On UEFA’s part too, the Nations League is a good thing.
However, from the players’ perspective, at least the majority of the player, the UEFA Nations League is a “glorified friendly” set of matches that is “not important” because it does not afford players them needed rest.
UEFA Nations League FAQ
Matches played in the UEFA Nations league phase are played home and away by respective nations. So, there is no fixed location except for the final match.
The host nation for the 2022 Nations League final is yet to be announced.
The point of the Nations League is to replace international friendly matches since fans are not so excited watching international friendlies. A competitive tournament like the Nations league excites fans more than friendly matches.
Get the complete fixture list of the 2022/23 Nations league on UEFA’s official website dedicated for the Nations League.
2 Best Nations League group winners will enter the UEFA 2nd qualifying round for the FIFA World Cup.
For now, 55 nations compete in the Nations League. In 2024, there could be more when some CONMEBOL nations join.
Well, for now, there is no CONMEBOL Nation’s league. However, some CONMEBOL nations would likely join the UEFA Nations League in 2024.
To get more info about the nations league, visit the official UNL website.
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