What is the Uefa Nations League – and will it be successful?

Designed to end the ‘meaningless friendly’, Wednesday’s draw for the inaugural competition has good intentions. But will it actually work?When Uefa first began seriously discussing the prospect of a brand new international competition, back in 2011, their intentions were honourable enough. The lustre of national team football had faded steadily over the previous decade, largely due to the club game’s suffocating spread but also due to the contemporary nature of the beast. Friendly matches, seen by managers as valuable testing grounds but by the public and – in some cases – players as halfhearted trudges, had become little more than ballast in the calendar; qualifying for major tournaments had, for the leading lights, generally become a procession. If the latter owed partly to the geopolitical changes within Europe since 1989 and a slew of successor states whose football infrastructure lagged behind the rest, it merely emphasised that a little was long overdue. Continue reading...