WINDHOEK, SEPT. 5 – The 2018/19 UEFA Nations League gets underway on Thursday, September 6 with nine matches across Europe – headlined by the clash between the last two World Cup winners, Germany and France.
The continental competition, which will be held from this month to June next year and includes both a league and finals phase, will serve as a seeding system for the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifiers, and will award berths in the play-offs which will decide four of the 24 final tournament slots.
The competition features four tiers – League A (12 teams), League B (12 teams), League C (15 teams) and League D (16 teams) – which run in descending order in terms of the ranking of teams involved.
The only League A game promises to be a thriller, as 2014 world champions Germany take on their successors France at the Allianz Arena in Munich. Joachim Low and Der Mannschaft are looking to recover from their shock group-stage exit at the 2018 World Cup, while Didier Deschamps’ Les Bleus will be making their first appearance since thumping Croatia 4-2 on July 15 to claim their second world title.
Low has admitted his mistakes in Germany’s World Cup collapse, but is confident he can turn their fortunes around.
“It was almost arrogant of me. I wanted to push this style of play as far it could go, perfect it even more,” said the Germany manager, before adding: “With all of our energy, we want to bring the ship back on course.”
League B features the Czech Republic hosting Ukraine in a Group 1 match, while Wales and the Republic of Ireland will meet in a Group 4 match at Cardiff City Stadium which promises to be a fiery encounter.
The match will be Ryan Giggs’ first competitive game in charge of the Dragons and he will look to Real Madrid superstar Gareth Bale to inspire their first win over Ireland since a 1992 friendly in Dublin. That’s so long ago that even Giggs himself was just a teenager at the time and played no part in the game.
The League C matches are Norway v Cyprus and Slovenia v Bulgaria, while League D sees four matches played on the day: Kazakhastan v Georgia, Armenia v Lichtenstein, Latvia v Andorra and Gibraltar v FYR Macedonia.
Key match match stats
Germany v France – Head-to-Head
Matches played 29
Germany wins 9
France wins 13
Czech Republic v Ukraine – Head-to-Head
Matches played 2
Czech Republic wins 1
Ukraine wins 0
Wales v Ireland – Head-to-Head
Matches played 15
Wales wins 5
Ireland wins 6
UEFA Nations League fixtures – Thursday, September 6
All times CAT
Group 1 – Germany v France – 20h45 (Live on SS3, Max2 & Select4)
Group 1 – Czech Republic v Ukraine – 20h45 (Live on SS7)
Group 4 – Wales v Ireland – 20h45 (Live on SS6 & Select2)
Group 3 – Norway v Cyprus – 20h45
Group 3 – Slovenia v Bulgaria – 20h45 (Live on SS11)
Group 1 – Kazakhastan v Georgia – 16h00 (Live on SS3 & Select4)
Group 4 – Armenia v Lichtenstein – 18h00 (Live on SS3 & Select4)
Group 1 – Latvia v Andorra – 20h45
Group 4 – Gibraltar v FYR Macedonia – 20h45