The Nations League finals get beneath manner this week with 4 international locations battling to win one in every of worldwide soccer’s latest tournaments.
Hosts Italy wish to do a Uefa double this yr after successful Euro 2020.
That is the second version of the Nations League, with Portugal – who didn’t qualify this time – successful the inaugural title in 2019.
So what’s all of it about? Let BBC Sport clarify.
Who’s taking part in, when and the place?
Italy, who host the four-team, four-game finals, play Spain on Wednesday on the San Siro in Milan within the first semi-final. It’s a repeat of the Euro 2020 last-four tie which Italy gained on penalties.
The Azzurri are unbeaten in a world-record 37 video games, courting again to the final Nations League group stage in 2018.
“Spain had been the workforce we struggled in opposition to most throughout Euro 2020,” Italy boss Roberto Mancini mentioned.
“It could be superb to win [the Nations League] after the European Championship – and it might be superb to qualify for the World Cup early – but it surely will not be that simple. Each sport is stuffed with difficulties.”
Spain boss Luis Enrique mentioned: “It was already a sexy proposition earlier than the Euros befell – to play Italy in Italy within the ultimate 4.
“This can be a competitors that we might like to win. It will likely be a really attention-grabbing match, to see what sort of efficiency we’re able to producing in entrance of an Italian-majority crowd and in opposition to the reigning European champions.”
Belgium and France meet on the Allianz Stadium in Turin the following day. France beat Belgium 1-0 within the 2018 World Cup semi-final.
The ultimate is on Sunday in Milan, with a third-placed play-off in Turin earlier that day (14:00 BST). The opposite video games are at 19:45 BST.
“You can’t examine the Nations League with the European Championship or the World Cup, however it’s a prize that 4 main international locations are competing for. If we will win it, that will be a crowning achievement for this group,” Belgium midfielder Axel Witsel mentioned.
France boss Didier Deschamps mentioned: “There’s this rivalry and it is possibly a bit heightened after the semi-final in Russia.”
Belgium, who’re ranked primary on this planet, haven’t gained a global match for the reason that 1920 Olympic Video games.
These finals had been initially meant to be in June however needed to be moved due to Euro 2020 being rescheduled because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Choose your greatest XI of the Nations League.
How did these groups qualify?
The 2020-21 Nations League group levels befell in September, October and November final yr with the winners of every group within the prime division qualifying for these finals.
England reached the 2019 finals, however this time completed third in Group A2 behind Belgium and Denmark.
Italy completed unbeaten of their group, one level above the Netherlands.
France, additionally unbeaten, completed three factors away from Portugal. Spain had been two factors above Germany.
None of those sides reached the 2019 finals.
What about World Cup qualifying?
These video games should not have any influence on World Cup qualifying.
The 4 sides concerned are in five-team moderately than six-team teams and performed additional video games prior to now two worldwide breaks so different groups can now meet up with them.
The 2 top-ranked Nations League group winners who don’t end within the prime two in World Cup qualifying will enter the Qatar 2022 play-offs – however the Nations League finals don’t have an effect on that.
What is the level?
The Nations League group stage – which contain all 55 Uefa international locations – was introduced in to switch worldwide friendlies with extra significant video games, involving promotion and relegation.
The finals are thought-about a correct match, with the winner getting a sterling silver, 7.5kg, 71cm tall trophy.
Oh, and prize cash. The winners get 10.5m euros (virtually £9m), with 9m euros for second place, 8m euros for third and 7m euros for fourth.
That features the participation charge and prize cash for successful their teams.
Will there be one other Nations League?
Sure. The draw for the 2022-23 Nations League group levels shall be held on 16 December in Montreux, Switzerland.