The UEFA Nations League is in its inaugural year and despite only being a few games in, many positives have emerged.

The competition allows for more competitive matches during international breaks, reducing the number of friendlies throughout the year in Europe. Players can also gain international experience in matches that lead to a trophy.

While each nation plays against others at similar levels, it also allows for the possibility to be promoted to a higher division. This is valuable for teams in League B, who can make the step up to the top division and face the best nations in the world.

Currently, there are a handful of teams on track for promotion to League A, including Ukraine and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

High flying League B side Ukraine have defeated Czech Republic 2-1 and Slovakia 1-0, with a home match against the Czechs to come this international break. Bosnia-Herzegovina were victorious over Northern Ireland 2-1 and Austria 1-0.

Denmark and Russia are also possibilities to be promoted into the top league.

Denmark managed a 2-0 win over Wales and face the Republic of Ireland in the coming days. Fresh from hosting the World Cup, Russia defeated Turkey 2-1 in the first matchday of the competition and welcome both Sweden and Turkey at home this time around.

Another benefit of the Nations League is the grouping of similarly ranked nations with each other. This is especially helpful for teams in League D, as it reduces the number of blowouts against much stronger opponents. For example, San Marino will not have to travel to Spain, fearing the worst. It allows for a more level playing field, giving these nations a greater chance competitive growth.

The Nations League is currently linked with qualification to the European Championship, with a possibility of being connected to European World Cup qualification in future. This would streamline the process and international football in Europe could be overhauled.

Spain manager Luis Enrique recently heaped praise on the Nations League recently, with many expected to follow suit should its positive impact continue.

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Tim Sperliotis
tsperliotis@gmail.com