Germany have avoided demotion from the top flight of the Nations League after it was decided to expand and restructure the tournament. League A will now feature 16 teams, resulting in more games and revenue for UEFA.
UEFA are to expand the number of matches played in the Nations League following the success of the inaugural edition of the international competition, European football's governing body announced on Tuesday.
The changes, revealed at UEFA's Executive Committee meeting in Ljubljana, mean that League A, currently featuring the top 12 nations on the continent, will feature 16 nations in four groups of four when the next tournament begins in the autumn of 2020.
That means more games for each side involved and also ensures that Germany will be saved from relegation to the second tier League B. The 2014 World Cup winners had finished bottom of their section and were relegated along with Croatia, Iceland and Poland, who will also remain in the top tier.
The reshuffle also means there will be 16 teams in Leagues B and C, with the remaining seven European countries in League D.
The inaugural edition was won by Portugal, who hosted the final stages of a competition which generated a reported 500 million euros ($551 million) for UEFA. Playing more matches in the next edition of the Nations League will ensure even greater revenues, and will also have the knock-on effect of further reducing the number of friendly matches by filling up remaining spaces in the crowded calendar.
The draw for the next Nations League will be held in Amsterdam on March 3, next year.
mds (afp, dpa)