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France, Germany to launch football’s new complex competition

Ryan Giggs will take charge of his first Wales match on home soil on Thursday night

World champions France were held to a goalless draw by Germany in League A of Uefa's Nations League.

England face Spain in their opening fixture in the tournament on Saturday and in October they get the chance to get revenge on Croatia for their semi-final defeat in Russian Federation.

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.

UEFA's plan to give the Nations League's four Euro 2020 qualification spots was controversial, especially among those who already believe the European Championships is bloated with subpar teams, but it could be the thing that gives their new competition life.

The Netherlands are the other side in the League A group alongside these two.

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 at a sold-out Allianz Arena in Munich.

The top placed teams in the groups of leagues B, C and D are promoted to the next higher tier while the bottom-placed sides are relegated to the lower tier. These are then split into four mini-leagues of three teams.

In League B, Gareth Bale scored his 30th goal for Wales as manager Ryan Giggs was treated to a 4-1 Group 4 victory over a depleted Republic of Ireland in his first home game in charge.

It is understood that plans have been underway since 2011, to introduce the tournament with UEFA only waiting for the ideal opportunity to roll it out.

At least one League D team - possibly Azerbaijan, Belarus or Luxembourg, for instance - will qualify for Euro 2020.

Lower-ranked teams are all booked up in the four-team groups of Leagues C and D.

For the players it should be pretty simple really, go out and continue playing they did in the World Cup.

The top two teams in each qualifying group automatically advance to Euro 2020.

Joachim Low's Germany suffered one of their biggest lows at the recently-concluded Fifa World Cup in Russian Federation as they failed to get past the group stages. Even though our World Cup was so positive we still feel like we need to prove ourselves against the very best teams.

The first tournament is due to commence in September 2018, following the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The remaining four places will be decided in March 2020, in the Nations League playoffs.

Why is the Nations League important?

The competition will largely replace worldwide friendly matches now played on the FIFA global Match Calendar.

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

The principle is simple: Take the eight Federation Internationale de Football Association windows over a period of 14 months UEFA would use to hold qualifying for the European Championship or World Cup, hold qualifying for the last five windows and use the first three windows for the Nations League group stage.