UEFA meddle with their latest invention
The draw for the 2020-21 season UEFA Nations League saw Spain drawn with Germany, Switzerland and Ukraine. Before analysing the draw, what does stand out is that we're now pitted in a four team group. Unlike the first inaugural competition which featured a group of three when Spain were drawn alongside Croatia and England. The premise was that the winner would progress to the Final Four with the bottom side dropping down a division. I'm sure you recall this? Spain wavered from the early optimism of topping the group and progressing to the finals in Portugal and ultimately finished in second place. The emotion of the three team group and the uncertainty and excitement if offered I though was excellent.
Among the teams that dropped down from the top echelon were some big names with that of Germany being the obvious standout. Traditionally a powerhouse in Europe and indeed on the global stage...the Germany of four World Cup wins, three European Championships, impeccable in their white Adidas shirts. Germany in the second tier? UEFA have taken it upon themselves to tamper with the forthcoming Nations League structure and the top three 'leagues' now all feature groups of four nations with Germany remaining in League A. With this shift only League D (Group D2) features a composition of three participating sides.
Is this a serious matter? Not really if we see football as something that is fun and an escape from the humdrum of modern life. The sport however is sometimes lacking when we look for principles and values. Juan Fernández de Rojas wrote in his prologue to his 1792 work ‘Crotalogía o ciencia de las castañuelas’, stating.... "It's not compulsory to be able to play the castanets, but if you are to try, it's better to play them well". Football and every other sport for that matter, grows and prospers based on a series of values that are fair and coherent. This ideas of tampering with the format just to satisfy one of the bigger nations in European football only serves to discredit this new competition.
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