After months of corona pause, football fans in Europe get to see international matches again. Ten games will be kicked off this Thursday at the start of the Nations League season – including the top match of the German national team against Spain in League A. Initially viewed critically, the format is now also endorsed by the German Football Association (DFB). National coach Joachim Löw appreciates the opportunity to almost always be able to compete with top-class opponents.
The game is played in four leagues (A to D) with up to four groups. In the German league A, everyone in the four groups of four plays against everyone in home and away games. The four A group winners will qualify for the final tournament in June 2021. The four bottom group will be relegated to League B for the next edition of the Nations League. The DFB team will face Spain, Switzerland and Ukraine in Group 4 of League A.
The corona rules
The national teams are likely to compete with an emergency line-up of healthy players even after positive corona tests. But it has to be at least 13. Otherwise, for example if the entire team is quarantined, the game should at best be rescheduled. However, the dense calendar hardly offers any alternative dates. If no one is found, the person who caused the game to be canceled threatens to lose at the green table. If no team is clearly solely responsible for the cancellation, the Uefa will decide on the result by lot. With regard to the corona risk areas, according to the umbrella association, most “member associations (…) negotiated exceptions with their competent national / local authorities so that the teams can travel to the venues”.
The fact that international matches are taking place again at all is of enormous importance for the balance sheet of the German Football Association. “The international matches are our life insurance in economic terms,” said DFB General Secretary Friedrich Curtius, referring to the income from Uefa’s marketing pot. And there is also prize money. If the Nations League won, the DFB would pocket 7.5 million euros. In addition, a 71 centimeter high trophy made of sterling silver awaits the winner.
The World Cup qualification
The smaller nations can also get a World Cup ticket through the back door. The two best group winners who did not qualify directly for the finals in Qatar 2022 will take part in the playoffs together with the ten best runners-up in the qualification. There are then two knockout rounds for three World Cup tickets. The other ten final round places for Europe will be distributed to the winners of the ten qualifying groups as usual.
The television broadcast
The two German games on Thursday evening in Stuttgart against Spain and three days later against Switzerland in Basel will be shown on ZDF. On October 10th, ARD will be playing the third German game in Group 4 in Ukraine, three days later the game against Switzerland in Cologne can also be seen in Erste. The games on November 14th against Ukraine in Leipzig and on November 17th in Spain are split between ZDF and ARD. The streaming service DAZN owns the rights to all games in Germany without German participation. dpa / nd