Scotland’s rewards for winning their Nations League group have already been well documented, with the team taking three significant benefits from their success.
A Euro 2024 play-off place has been banked in case it is needed, the qualifying campaign should be easier after a seeding boost, and Scotland have been promoted to League A for the next cycle of the Nations League, where they will rub shoulders with Europe’s best.
There could be an added bonus though, as UEFA plan to add Brazil, Argentina and other top South American sides to the competition.
The Nations League was devised as a tournament to replace the slate of international friendlies that it was felt didn’t deliver the right benefits for national teams and associations. Pitting European sides against each other in the new competition allowed for a central television deal, and put teams up against others of similar strength and, in theory, helping everyone to improve.
There were other side-benefits as well, with the virtual abolition of friendlies due to a lack of space in the international calendar putting an end to meaningless games, and also stopping some nations from gaming the ranking and seeding system by carefully picking friendly opposition.
One thing that was lost though, was the regular sight of European teams playing sides from around the globe outside of a World Cup.
That looks to be on the horizon after talks between UEFA and South American governing body CONMEBOL last year. The sides signed a memorandum of understanding as they joined in opposition to a World Cup being held every two years, but also held discussions over expanding the Nations League.
“UEFA is working on a number of projects with CONMEBOL, including a joint Nations League but nothing is finalised and no decisions have yet been made,” a spokesman said at the time.
However, UEFA vice-president Zbigniew Boniek has since said that the move will happen.
“In 2024 CONMEBOL will join the Nations League,” he said in December.
“We do not know yet in what formula, in what form. We signed a memorandum about cooperation between CONMEBOL and UEFA and from 2024 these teams will play in the Nations League.”
Reports from the time said that the top six South American sides (currently Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia, Peru and Chile) would join League A, with the remaining four teams (currently Ecuador, Paraguay, Bolivia and Venezuela) would slot into League B. All games would likely take place in Europe.
UEFA have yet to announce any details of the next Nations League, while starts in 2024, other than confirming the promotion and relegation from the tournament just completed. It is also unclear how South American sides would balance the competition alongside their traditional league format for World Cup qualification.
However, there does seem to be intent from both sides to add fresh teams to the competition, and as part of the to pflight, Scotland would be facing South America’s finest as well as Europe’s best.
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