UEFA Nations League has its fair share of critics with Jurgen Klopp famously quoted as calling “the most senseless competition in the World of Football”. Some calling the matches in the tournament as Glorified Friendlies.
We are now at the closing stages of the tournament for the first time with just 4 Teams and 4 Matches left. The started with Europe’s 55 nations split into four divisions, based on their ranking. With top 4 Teams in every division having a guaranteed playoff spot in Euro 2020 qualifiers.
Portugal cities Porto and Guimarães are all set to host final four matches at Estádio do Dragão and Estádio D. Afonso Henriques respectively.
A Club fan might claim that International Football is waste of time and players need rest after a grueling season of Club football but for some fans, International matches are the only way to support their team across Europe.
Here are some of the reasons why the Nations League win will matter to a team.
Unlike friendlies, every player wants to take part in the tournament and None of the players rejected a call-up. With all the stars featuring every one of the stars will want to give their 100%. Thus making it very important.
Higher quality opposition than Qualifiers
In qualifiers, higher quality teams are usually drawn against weaker opposition due to the pot system. But in the Nations League, every team plays a team which is at their level. Thus making it very important.
As we all know, teams make the competition special. With teams like England, Portugal, Netherlands, and Switzerland in finals, All the teams that were part of Group A, there is no doubt it will be a tournament to be remembered.
Media Interest and fan Interest
Football media will give more prominence to nations League finals than to Qualifiers since the main teams are going to feature in finals tournament and Euro Qualifiers will be held after the Finals schedule. There is no doubt in saying thousands of fans will attend matches in Portugal and millions will tune in to watch the finals. Portugal being host will only add to that.
Pride of winning against best in Europe
We all know Euro 2020 is a bigger tournament and winners of that tournament will be real champions of Europe but there will be no doubt in saying that there will be some pride associated with winning Nations League.
Prize Money of UEFA Nations League
Winners – €10.5 million
Runner Up – €9 million
Third Place – €8 million
Fourth place – €7 million
Break down of Prize money – €2.25 million for participating in Nations league, €2.25 million for reaching finals and
Winners – €6 million
Runner Up – €4.5 million
Third Place – €3.5 million
Fourth place – €2.5 million
for finishing in these positions.
Individual Player stories
At the team level, every team will have a great story to tell if they win the tournament but the stories of these stars will make it more interesting.
Virgil Van Dijk
Virgil Van Dijk is without a doubt the best-placed Defender in the world to win Ballon d’Or this year. Winning nations League will only make the Shouts for him to win it as a defender grow louder. Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Sadio Mane, and Mohamed Salah are the possible competition for him this season.
The argument about who is The Greatest Of All Time (GOAT) between Messi and Ronaldo always includes CR7’s UEFA European Championship in 2016. With Messi all set to take part in Copa América there will be no doubt in saying CR7 will want to add Nations League to his List.
We would also like to add Sterling would also get a shout for Ballon d’Or this season if he wins Nations League with England.