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- Few knew what to expect when Europe’s governing football (“soccer: in the US) body replaced friendly exhibition matches with a full-fledged tournament, but UEFA’s new Nations League has reached its final round of qualifying matches this week.
- What Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp once called “the most senseless competition in the world of football,” has already piqued the interest of fans in and outside the continent.
- Croatia and Spain kick off a dynamite schedule of matchups between bitter rivals and World Cup powers. The fun begins Thursday afternoon (for fans in the United States), and lasts through Tuesday.
- Nine teams are left in the top division, League A, to qualify for June’s UEFA Nation’s League Finals. Several are fighting to remain in — or to win promotion to— League A. Chief among these is Germany, infamously bounced in Round One from last summer’s 2018 FIFA World Cup, adding more scrutiny to manager Joachim Loew’s position.
- Nations League also brought a change of format to UEFA’s traditional championship tournament. The new qualification criteria has given smaller nations, like Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Scotland, a better chance of qualifying for Euro 2020. With it comes a new lease on life for teams and supporters which often don’t have much to play for in the latter stages of Euro qualification.