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England vs Spain: Match preview, team news and what is the new UEFA Nations League?

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Gareth Southgate’s England evolution begins its next phase on Saturday as they take on Spain at Wembley in the UEFA Nations League.

Spain is also looking to build their next phase with former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique now in the managerial hot seat

No doubt after the heroics of Russia, Southgate’s men will be given a rousing reception as they kick off their Nations League campaign,

Spain, as mentioned, is in a new era themselves as they look to improve the sides situation and maintain some stability, following Julen Lopetegui’s sacking just days before the World Cup.

The two nations have met 25 times, with England winning on 13 of those occasions, Spain taking nine victories and the sides sharing three draws.

England enjoyed a 20-year period of dominance between 1960 and 1980, winning seven games on the trot.

However, Spain has won four of the last six meetings - including three in a row between 2004 and 2009.

The last time the two nations met, La Roja sealed a late 2-2 draw at Wembley with last-gasp goals from Iago Aspas and Isco.

Team News

Raheem Sterling and Adam Lallana withdrew from the squad due to injuries and Gary Cahill and Jamie Vardy have effectively retired from international football but have made themselves available if an injury crisis occurs.

After a great start to the season, Luke Shaw has been recalled to the squad, along with James Tarkowski and uncapped Alex McCarthy.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek keeps his place after impressing in Russia despite having played only 22 minutes for Chelsea this season.

For Spain, Diego Costa has withdrawn from the squad due to personal reasons and has been replaced by Iago Aspas.

The likes of Jordi Alba and Lucas Vazquez also miss out on the squad as Luis Enrique looks to usher in a new era.

What is the UEFA Nations League?

The UEFA Nations League was organized to essentially eliminate the need for international friendlies and to keep players competitiveness strong during the International break. 

The league operates on a four-tier system, similar to the English Football League, but rather relying on coefficients at this early stage.

There will be 55 teams involved, split into four leagues (A, B, C and D) and within those four leagues, the teams will be split into groups which will be made up of either three or four teams.

Within each league, four teams will be promoted at the end of the cycle, while four teams will be relegated. They will then play at their new level in the next competition, which starts in 2020.

The winners of the four groups from League A will compete in a final four winners’ competition at the end of the cycle.

How have the groups been divided?

Full League A draw 

Group 1: Germany, France, Netherlands

Group 2: Belgium, Switzerland, Iceland

Group 3: Portugal, Italy, Poland

Group 4: Spain, England, Croatia

Full League B draw

Group 1: Slovakia, Ukraine, Czech Republic

Group 2: Russia, Sweden, Turkey

Group 3: Austria, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Northern Ireland

Group 4: Wales, Republic of Ireland, Denmark

Full League C draw

Group 1: Scotland, Albania, Israel

Group 2: Hungary, Greece, Finland, Estonia

Group 3: Slovenia, Norway, Bulgaria, Cyprus

Group 4: Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, Lithuania

Full League D draw

Group 1: Georgia, Latvia, Kazakhstan, Andorra

Group 2: Belarus, Luxembourg, Moldova, San Marino

Group 3: Azerbaijan, Faroe Islands, Malta, Kosovo

Group 4: FYR Macedonia, Armenia, Liechtenstein, Gibraltar

Image Credit - Wikipedia Commons

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