Manchester City Manager Pep Guardiola was without his players as several of his men were recalled to their respective national teams. Whilst none of City’s Brazilian or Argentine players traveled, Guardiola’s European contingency entered the UEFA Nations League.
Created as Europe’s third international competition, the tournament ranks UEFA’s 55 member states and organizes them into four leagues with various groups. The winner of the lower leagues will progress into a higher division, or league, much like a domestic league. Similarly, the loser of the group will be relegated into a lower league.
With the introduction of this competition, UEFA seeks to minimize international friendlies, and instead, wanted to create a new and exciting opportunity for its member states.
Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne and Vincent Kompany met up with the Belgian Red Devils, whilst John Stones, Kyle Walker, Raheem Sterling and Fabian Delph joined England. Bernardo Silva has regrouped with Portugal, Benjamin Mendy was recalled to France, Leroy Sané and İlkay Gündoğan joined Germany, and Oleksandr Zinchenko competed with Ukraine.
In terms of the competition, Germany and France were held to a disappointing 0-0 draw. Moreover, England were defeated 1-2 by Spain. Belgium and Portugal have yet to feature.
Some encouraging news emerged from the tournament, however, as Zinchenko scored Ukraine’s winning goal over the Czech Republic. Whilst the young midfielder has yet to make an appearance for the Blues this season, his international duty may help strengthen his case.
How might Manchester City’s men fare in this new European competition?