World champions France vow no let-up ahead of Germany clash

Joe Ledley and Co stretch out during agility drills on Monday at their Vale Resort training base

Joe Ledley and Co stretch out during agility drills on Monday at their Vale Resort training base

France coach Didier Deschamps says the world champions can not afford any drop in standards as they prepare to launch their UEFA Nations League campaign away to Germany on Thursday.

The Leagues and groups that constitute the UEFA Nations League.How does it affect Euro 2020 qualification?

This clash will hold as high regard as any other official match since the Thursday night's match is the World Champions' opening clash of the UEFA Nations League's first edition, 2018-19.

Each of the three leagues will be divided into four groups of three teams, and will feature promotion and relegation.

The UEFA Nations League kicks off tonight and the first match of the newly formed tournament sees Joachim Loew's men host world champion France at the Allianz Arena. The final four places will be decided via play-offs, which will involve four groups of four playing one-off semi-finals and finals to determine the victor.

Each of these leagues are themselves split into four groups (1, 2, 3 and 4), with each team playing each other home and away during September, October and November 2018.

On Friday, September 7, Italy tackle Poland and thereafter England will take on 2010 World Cup winners Spain Saturday, September 8, when Northern Ireland face Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Nations League provides an additional opportunity for countries to qualify for the European Championships. Both sides begin the road to Euro 2020 against one another in a highly anticipated encounter.

If a team tops their group but has already qualified for the tournament, the next best-ranked team in their league will take their place.

England may not have won the World Cup in Russian Federation but Eric Dier believes they did win respect.

Unusually, the Germans started with four central defenders and with Joshua Kimmich switching from right back to a holding midfield position, as coach Joachim Low tried to strike a better balance between attack and defence than his team had done in Russian Federation.

During the same ceremony, the Nations League anthem was also revealed.

Germany's defence of their World Cup title ended with a disastrous group-stage exit in Russian Federation, the country's earliest elimination since falling in the first round of the 1938 tournament.

The matches are set to be played on Thursdays, ahead of Europa League matches.

It is the first time that either side has played since their World Cup exploits which saw France lift the trophy and Germany crash out at the group stage. His deputy keeper Steve Mandanda is also out for four weeks, and these two remain the only absentee from the squad that won the FIFA World Cup 2018 title in Russian Federation.

On paper, this game had everything required to kick-start the European governing body's initiative to eradicate the scourge of meaningless friendlies from the global calendar.

However, if a group victor has already qualified via the classic route, then their spot will go to the next best-ranked team in their league.

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