Explaining Ireland's Nations League chances in simplest possible way

Friday, 07 Sep, 2018

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.

On Saturday, nearly two months after their agonising exit to Croatia in Moscow, fans have the chance to show their appreciation at the opening fixture of the new Nations League competition.

Sport Bild have said the third competition could also be played in eight groups with four teams each.

The North American football region now has its own version, while UEFA also designed a global version for about 220 teams which FIFA already has plans to adopt.

The 55-member nations have been divided into four leagues - League A, B, C and D - according to their UEFA co-efficient.

The last detail is the incentive for European football's smaller teams.

If Low is planning for Euro 2020, only midfielder Leon Goretzka could be regarded as a face for the future, but the Bayern Munich youngster is hardly an worldwide newcomer having starred at the Confederations Cup in 2017. "The friendlies don't really interest anybody - neither the fans nor the players nor the media and nor the national associations", he said in 2014.

"It is quite confusing - I don't know what you guys think of it?" said Maguire in a pre-match press conference.

Germany and France meet in League A Group One, while Wales and Republic of Ireland face off in League B Group Four.

For example, the four group winners from League D will play each other for a Euro 2020 spot, meaning there is an incentive to perform well no matter how low down the pyramid. France and Germany headline League A's first of four three-team groups, along with the Netherlands, and are coming off polar opposite summers. The final four places will be decided via play-offs, which will involve four groups of four playing one-off semi-finals and finals to determine the victor.

Group A3: Portugal, Italy and Poland.

Gareth Southgate's side arrived at the tournament with modest expectations but outlasted the likes of Germany, Brazil, Argentina and Saturday's Nations League opponents Spain to reach the semi-finals. The seeding used for this draw will be based entirely on our ranking after our four Group B4 matches. The remaining four places will be awarded to the winners of the mini-tournament mentioned above. 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. The winners of each group throughout the four leagues will automatically gain a place in the play-offs for the 2020 European Championships. Be it national team or club football, we have acquired and retained rights to the best properties in the world.

The League A playoffs could be filled by League B teams because most top-tier teams will advance through the traditional qualifying format.