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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.

A heavyweight showdown in Munich between the last two World Cup winners, France and Germany, sets the ball rolling on Thursday as the inaugural UEFA Nations League gets under way.

League B will also contain four groups of four teams.

In simple terms, the competition involves all 55 European national teams, playing in small groups and separated into four tiers using promotion and relegation, and produces a champion at a mini-tournament next June.

England defender Kieran Trippier believes that Saturday's Nations League clash against Spain will give the Three Lions the ideal opportunity to prove that they can beat the big names.

League A group winners will progress to the semi-finals of the competition in June 2019 and then the victor of those matches will play in the final.

- The teams will play four or six group games (depending on the size of the group) over the six dates available during the September, October and November windows.

League B - features the Republic of Ireland.

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Portugal will be Italy's second Nations League opponent on September 10, although the European champions will be without Cristiano Ronaldo, who asked to be left out following his move to Juventus. The four League A winners enter the semi-finals to decide the overall victor, while the highest ranking nations in each 16 groups (that haven't already qualified for Euro 2020) enter a separate set of semi-finals to win a place in the European Champions.

Although Gareth Southgate's side made a run to the semi-finals of the World Cup, they did so by beating relatively modest sides, like Tunisia, Panama and Sweden, while Colombia were only navigated via a penalty shootout. Regular qualifying for Euro 2020 has been pushed back to 2019 where the traditional campaign will be crammed into a year. "We are delighted to acquire the rights for the UEFA Nations league and UEFA EURO 2020".

Arsenal midfielder Ozil, who made 92 appearances for Germany, announced his retirement from worldwide football in the wake of Germany's group-stage exit in Russian Federation, with his statement accusing the German FA (DFB) president, Reinhard Grindel, of racism. We want to get back to that.

The Germany vs France match in the UEFA Nations League starts at 12:15 AM IST.

Last week Deschamps named a largely unchanged squad for Les Bleus' first matches since their World Cup triumph, replacing only the injured goalkeeper Steve Mandanda with Bordeaux's Benoît Costil.

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

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 worldwide calendar.


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