Last night saw the start of a new Uefa competition: The Nations League, the brainchild of the European governing body designed to eliminate meaningless friendlies from here through to November. The next stage of competition will then be inter-mixed with the Euro 2020 qualifying games which means that all of Luis Enrique's forthcoming games will be of a competitive nature. Germany-France was the glamour fixture last night and we'll have Nations League ties through to Tuesday. The competition has four category tiers with three teams in each of the first two and four in the final two with a promotion and relegation process involved.
I admit that I like the idea of this new competition. Not because it's the first stage in the qualification process ahead of Euro 2020 but in the case of the Spanish team they get the opportunity to face serious top class opposition in the shape of England and World Cup finalists Croatia in home and away matches. Should 'La Roja' finish bottom of this group of three, then they would be relegated to the next group (League B) which I sincerely hope doesn't materialise. This is a breath of fresh air from tedious friendly games or qualifying matches against weaker teams who had no possibility whatsoever of making it through to a major tournament.
The initiative is also good for those mid-ranking nations as they have the opportunity to secure promotion to a higher category or conversely slip down a ranking with little to chose between these teams. The 'back-door' element of the competition will also see the opportunity for four lower ranked sides to secure a place in Euro 2020. This new competition will be staged every second year after the termination of a World Cup of European Championship and once again I applaud Uefa for the initiative and idea as it sees an end to the tedious and meaningless friendly games that came along with the international breaks and ensures more competitive football which is in everyone's interest.