The Draw has been made for Europe’s Revolutionary new International Football Tournament, the UEFA Nations League, today we have a look at which West Ham United stars may be featuring in it and which Countries their Nations will be doing battle with.
What’s The Format?
Before we move into looking at how the new Competition might affect West Ham’s International prodigies, we will first take a look at how the new Tournament will work.
Each of the 55 UEFA Nations have been divided into four different tiers based on their Coefficient Rankings, meaning that they will face teams similar to them.
The four divisions are League A, B, C and D, with League A consisting of the top bracket of the 55 and League D, the bottom, each League has been divided into four groups consisting of either three or for National Teams.
Each team will play each of the teams in their groups home and away, the winners of each Group will gain promotion to the tier above and the bottom side be relegated to the tier below.
Except in the top tier, Group A, where each winner will progress to the Finals which will be played out the year after, four Nations, semi-finals and a final, the last team standing will be crowned the winners of the first UEFA Nations League.
But, this isn’t all, the four winners of each Group in each tier will progress to Qualifying Play-Offs for the next European Championship, providing they haven’t already made it through via the normal Qualification tournament, in which case the next best team will be chosen.
These Play-Off matches will determine who will take the last four spots for the following European Championships, at least this is how it will all work for the first UEFA Nations League.
The maiden playing of it is scheduled to start in summer 2018, with all Group matches scheduled for a period between September and November, with the Draw for the Finals taking place in December 2018.
The Finals will then be held across Europe in early June 2019, with the Draw for the Play-Offs taking place in late 2019 and the Play-Offs themselves in March 2020, all for the historic EURO 2020 Tournament, confused? So are we.
How Will This Affect West Ham United’s Internationals?
A number of European Hammers are expected to be turning out for their respective Nations in the Competition, all subject to injuries and selection, of course, this guide is based on recent International Squads of these Nations.
We will start with England, keeper Joe Hart, on loan from Manchester City, and left-back Aaron Cresswell have been favourites of Gareth Southgate and recent times and are set for Three Lions selection in the Competition.
Southgate’s side have been drawn in League A Group 4 alongside 2012 EURO’s winners Spain and powerhouse Croatia, it’s sure to prove a tough ride for them.
Meanwhile, centre-back Jose Fonte, who missed the conclusion of Portugal’s 2028 World Cup Qualifying campaign through injury, will be looking for double European glory having triumphed in France two years ago.
Fernando Santos’ men will be up against Italy and Poland in League A Group 3, also in the top tier, young midfielder Edimilson Fernandes and Switzerland are scheduled to face off with giants Belgium and giant-killers Iceland.
Meanwhile, in League B, David Moyes’ star man Marko Arnautovic, an Austrian International, will pit his wits against one of the Home Nations in Northern Ireland, along with Bosnia & Herzegovina.
The final two European Irons that are scheduled to be in action next autumn can be found in the third tier, League Three to you and me, representing Scotland and Montenegro.
Robert Snodgrass, currently enjoying a loan spell with Championship Aston Villa and Development Squad attacker Sead Haksabanovic will clash with Albania and Israel, and Romania, Serbia and Lithuania respectively.
As aforementioned, the first ever playing of the Competition will kick-off in early September and span across each International Breaks until the very last of 2018 in mid-November.
So, now that you have been given the full West Ham guide to the maiden UEFA Nations League which is now only a matter of months away, will one of Moyes’ Squad go on to taste glory on the European stage? Only time will tell.