The UEFA Nations League is one of the newest introductions to the international calendar, with the competition running in between the World Cup and the European Championships. The first UEFA Nations League fixtures were only played in 2018, but fans have reacted positively to the competition, as they have an added spice of competitiveness compared to friendlies that were typically played during the same period. You can learn everything you need to know about the competition and the UEFA Nations League teams involved here.
UEFA Nations League History
The UEFA Nations League is one of the newest tournaments to be added to the international game. Plans began to form the Nations League in 2013, as Norwegian Football Association president Yngve Hallen announced that plans were in place to create a third national team tournament. As part of the plans, Nations League fixtures would be played on the dates set aside as part of the FIFA International Match Calendar.
Gianni Infantino seemed to back the plans in 2014, as he announced that it would help less glamorous nations set up fixtures during this period. Later that same year, the tournament was approved at the XXXVIII Ordinary UEFA Congress in Astana.
Some of the biggest national teams are involved in the Nations League, which makes it an incredibly popular tournament to bet on. Some of the UEFA Nations League players involved rank among the very best on the planet, and therefore there is an excellent selection of online betting markets that can be found to wager on the event. More information about the most popular soccer betting markets for the competition can be found below.
The National League Finals are staged at the end of the group stage, with the teams that topped their respective UEFA Nations League table moving into the semi-finals. Bettors can wager on the outright winner as soon as the groups are drawn, but the outright winner isn’t crowned until the conclusion of the tournament and the Nations League Final. If the team selected is crowned champions, then bettors will have returns added to their accounts.
As mentioned above, the winners from each group will progress through to the semi-finals of the Nations League. Bettors can make wagers on the teams that will come through their respective groups in this market. Bets can be made as soon as the draw for the competition is made, but winnings are only returned if the national team selected finishes at the top of their group and reach the semi-final stage of the Nations League.
As is the case with any soccer competition, the most popular way to bet on each individual fixture is in the match betting market. Bets can be placed on either of the two teams involved, as well as the draw. For fixtures in the knockout rounds, the result after 90 minutes will be the winning selection in this market. If your prediction is correct, then the returns will immediately be added to your account. However, if your selection loses, then the stake is lost.
The Nations League format is slightly different from any other international competition. Teams are drawn into one of four leagues, with the top-seeded nations competing in League A. Each league will consist of 16 teams, which are separated into four groups of four teams. The team that finishes top of the groups in League A will progress through to the Nations League semi-finals. Meanwhile, teams that finish fourth in their respective groups will drop into League B.
In Leagues B, C, and D, the teams that finish top will automatically gain promotion to the league above, while the teams that finish bottom will be relegated to the league below. However, in League C, teams that finish bottom will have playoffs to determine the two teams that drop into League D. There is no relegation in League D, as it is at the bottom of the Nations League pyramid. As is the tradition in European soccer, three points are awarded for a win, while a point is earned for a draw. Each team will play against each rival nation on two occasions throughout the group stages.
To date, there have only been two editions of the Nations League. No side has yet won the competition on more than one occasion. Portugal won the inaugural edition of the competition in 2019, as they beat the Netherlands 1-0 in the final. The latest edition, held in 2021, was won in a dramatic fashion by France in the final against Spain. England finished third in the 2019 Nations League, while Italy claimed the bronze medal in the 2021 edition of the competition.
The highest scorer in the Nations League group stages in its previous edition was Romelu Lukaku, Erling Haaland, and Ferran Torres, who all scored on six occasions. Torres would ultimately end the competition as the overall top scorer, as he scored two further goals in the Nations League finals. Sergio Busquets and Bernardo Silva are the only two players to have picked up the Player of the Tournament award.
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