The football calendar this year has been heavily disrupted due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, but after a period of three months with no football action, we are now being treated to almost non-stop football. Most of the European football leagues resumed their seasons in June, with the UEFA Champions League season also coming to a belated end in August, and we are now almost at the doorstep of the 2020-21 football season. The English Premier League is set to kick off from 12th September, while the French and Scottish leagues have already begun, and the other European leagues are all set to follow suit in the next couple of weeks. At the same time, the break between domestic seasons has also seen the start of the new Nations League campaign. Portugal were crowned the winners of the inaugural season last year, which saw a lot of grudging admiration and acceptance for making international breaks relevant, and doing away with meaningless friendly matches. Thus, the 2020 UEFA Nations League is back once again, where the 55 member nations have been split up into groups based on their rankings as well as their performances in the 2018 Nations League.
The countries have been split into four leagues, the top three of which are further divided into four groups of four teams each, while the bottom league, League D, has two groups, one with four teams and the other with three. League A has the 16 top-ranked European sides, where each group winner will qualify for the Nations League semi-finals, while the bottom team in the four groups will be relegated to League B for the next Nations League campaign. In the lower leagues, the group winners will gain promotion to the higher league for the next season – so the four group winners in League B will play in League A next season, and so on, while the bottom teams get relegated. Playoffs will be used to decide which two teams are relegated from League C to League D. In this manner, the various leagues will be determined for the next season, while also making all the matches relevant. The semi-finals last time around had seen Portugal, England, Switzerland and the Netherlands face-off, with Portugal beating the Netherlands in the final to be the inaugural Nations League champions. The group fixtures will take place between September and November 2020, with the Finals in September and October 2021, and the relegation playoffs in March 2022, to end this cycle of the tournament.
The pandemic has also meant that most people have been able to adapt to getting their entertainment online, especially as attending matches in person is bound to be restricted for the near future. Esports became more popular as a substitute for live sports, while many people also chose to play casino online games, in the absence of land-based casinos which had to shut down to comply with government restrictions. Thus, fans are already used to having online sources of entertainment, so we will now list some of the ways in which people can watch the UEFA Nations League tournament online.
American fans can tune into ESPN to watch the Nations League on cable, with TUDN as the Spanish option. Those who want to check it out online can head to the ESPN+ streaming service, where they will also get access to a host of other sports, such as the NBA, NHL, MLB, MLS, FA Cup, along with college sports, tennis, cricket, rugby, golf and UFC. Fans can also choose to go for Sling TV’s Orange package, which includes ESPN and also has a free trial period on offer at the moment.