Trippier: England need to start beating big teams like Spain


France coach Didier Deschamps said 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.

- UEFA's 55 members were divided into four leagues, based on their UEFA national team coefficients after the conclusion of 2018 World Cup qualifying, and further divided into four groups.

England are in the top league, League A, and have been drawn in a group with Spain and Croatia.

Manufactures Adidas designed the ball which features the colourful imagery that helps make up the Nations League logo, which is also prominent on the trophy.

Along with the usual friendlies, UEFA's brand new competition the Nations League will have its first ever matches across Europe.

Each league has then been subdivided into groups of three of four teams.

Les Bleus return to action for the first time since lifting the World Cup trophy in Russian Federation when they take on Joachim Loew's embattled Germany, the previous title holders, at a sold-out Allianz Arena in Munich.

UEFA hopes promotion of group winners and relegation of last-place teams up and down the four Nations League tiers will keep it dynamic.

The finals are slated for 2019, and teams will progress or be relegated from their various groups and division according to their overall points and performance.

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Understanding the UEFA Nations League is a lot like an orange. France and Germany headline League A's first of four three-team groups, along with the Netherlands, and are coming off polar opposite summers.

For the players it should be pretty simple really, go out and continue playing they did in the World Cup. We have important fixtures ahead with the Nations League, and we will prepare the team for the challenge. The top two teams in each of these groups will qualify for Euro 2020 - That will account for 20 teams, 10 group winners and 10 group runners-up.

"Somebody said it's almost sold out and that's a good feeling, hopefully we get a good reception", said Trippier, whose fine displays at right wing-back made him one of England's breakout stars.

The world champions are bringing nearly all of the players that earned that second star in Russian Federation while Germany is seeking massive redemption after crashing out in the group stage.

It's convoluted, complicated and sprawling to the point of delirium, but it's fundamentally created to cut the number of pointless worldwide friendlies and tiresome mismatches, which can only be good thing given the dwindling appetite therefor.

World Cup semi-finalists England host Spain a day later while Switzerland take on Iceland in the other League A clash on the first matchday.

Less than two months after a World Cup, though, and with both sets of players searching for match fitness early in the new season, perhaps it was too much to expect either side to set off fireworks on the Nations League's opening night.

League C will feature four groups, with each group victor earning promotion.