Nations League: A New International Chapter for football?

Nations League: A New International Chapter for football?

The World Cup may seem like a distant memory for many of us who watched the tournament with bated breath this summer; with the prolonged heat wave and the Three Lions’ continued success at the tournament in Russia, England experienced an unexpected euphoria.

Gareth Southgate’s new philosophy was admired by a nation who welcomed a new lease of life in the squad, while the competition provided a sense of relief and healing to a country bitterly divided by the Brexit referendum.

So has the performance relit the nation’s love for international football?

UEFA’s creation of the Nations League could potentially invigorate international football outside of major tournaments. The new competition integrates promotion and relegation with the use of four leagues, based on UEFA’s rankings of the national teams. Each league contains four groups, comprised of either three or four nations, with teams playing each other home and away.

The tournament has received a mixed response from social media with many England fans stating their confusion at the complexity of the competition. Even England defender Harry Maguire admitted in a recent press interview, ‘It is confusing but we are trying to get our heads around it’.

England’s social media accounts have continued to keep fans connected with the team and its individual players through positive posts that focus on their training and personal relationships. They have continued to allow fans to feel part of the squad with live interaction videos, giving avid followers a chance to ask players such as Jesse Lingard questions of their choice.

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It seems as if the positive attitude has continued to grow on and off the pitch. Kieran Trippier recently stated “[England] can beat anyone”, while a host of bars and pubs have offered up deals in order to unite Three Lions fans once more.

However, the 2-1 defeat to Spain at Wembley on Saturday brought back familiar feelings for English supporters. Marcus Rashford’s goal in the eleventh minute only seemed to empower the visitors, who scored twice before the half-time whistle.

England will have hoped to repeat the success from Russia over the competitive international break and once more ignite the passion of the nation. But this Three Lions team is young and adapting under a new coach, so there may well be more heartbreak before we witness true success.