So this is the new competition that can take Macedonia to the European Championship and in nothing else but in football. UEFA’s League of Nations is biennial competition that will be held in the years when there is not a European championship or a World Cup and has the aim to give a chance to the “smaller” nations to qualify for the European Championship and replacing the friendly internationals in the FIFA calendar.
In short about format: there are four leagues A, B, C and D (Macedonia is in league D) and in each there are four groups consisted of three or four national teams. The winner of the League of Nations is decided on a final tournament that will pit against each other the winners of the four groups in system of a semifinal and a final. Also there is a relegation system based on the results in the group i.e. the national team that finished last goes in the league bellow and of course a qualification system, the national team that won the group goes in the higher league.
Let’s go onto what concerns Macedonia the most, the opportunity to qualify for a European Championship in football. Macedonia is part of league D (in which league one national team will be it is determined by the coefficient in UEFA). The games are on the principle one game home and one game away and are going to be played until the end of November, while the semifinals and final will be in June 2019. As long as Macedonia is first in the group, in June will play in the finals where if they win, will qualify for the European Championship.
Through the League of Nations four teams will qualify for the European Championship, the other twenty places will be taken by the national teams that will qualify through the qualifications that are the same as before. If it happens that one national team manages to qualify through the qualifications and the League of Nations, the place at the European Championship will be awarded to the next best ranked national team in the League of Nations.
Does Macedonia actually have a chance to play at the European Championship in 2020? The national team looks good, of course with a lot of space for improvement, it looks like the manager and the football federation support the players and probably most importantly the people, the crowd see some hope in this generation. The pressure should be felt, Macedonia by its players and ranking is one of the better national teams in this league D and now it is left on the players to raise up to their and the expectations from the public. Macedonia has a chance to play at one big team competition and that chance should be taken.