Scotland are in League B and England are in League A of the Uefa Nations League
When it was unveiled in January the new Uefa Nations League was touted as the answer to “rejuvenate national team football”.
Split into four leagues – A, B, C and D – the inaugural competition will see Uefa’s 55 member associations play group stage matches from September 2018 and the finals from 5-9 June 2019. The leagues were decided by the Uefa National Team Coefficient Rankings with the top 12 teams in League A.
Today it was announced which teams will feature in the four leagues. After losing their World Cup qualifier against Ireland, Wales will now play in League B with the Netherlands taking the final spot in the top tier.
England will be in League A; Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are in League B; while Scotland are in League C.
CONFIRMED: The four leagues for the UEFA Nations League! %u26BD%uFE0F%uD83D%uDC4C
— UEFA EURO (@UEFAEURO) October 11, 2017
Explained: the Uefa Nations League
How do the leagues line up?
- League A: Germany, Portugal, Belgium, Spain, France, England, Switzerland, Italy, Poland, Iceland, Croatia, Netherlands
- League B: Austria, Wales, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Ukraine, Republic of Ireland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Northern Ireland, Denmark, Czech Republic, Turkey
- League C: Hungary, Romania, Scotland, Slovenia, Greece, Serbia, Albania, Norway, Montenegro, Israel, Bulgaria, Finland, Cyprus, Estonia, Lithuania
- League D: Azerbaijan, FYR Macedonia, Belarus, Georgia, Armenia, Latvia, Faroe Islands, Luxembourg, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Liechtenstein, Malta, Andorra, Kosovo, San Marino, Gibraltar
How does the Uefa Nations League work?
The 55 countries that make up Uefa will be split into four divisions according to their rankings. Each division will be split into four groups of three or four teams, who will play each other. The winners of each group will be promoted to league above and the losers will be relegated. The four group-winning teams in the division groups will progress to a final round to determine a champion. This will be held in the summer of 2019.
Why has it been launched?
“The idea behind the Uefa Nations League is to reduce the number of meaningless friendlies and try to ensure nations face opponents of similar quality,” says the Daily Mirror.
Uefa hopes that matches will be “more competitive, leading to more interest from supporters who have become bored with international friendlies”, adds The Sun, which notes the competition will have a wider significance.
“How teams perform in the Nations League will be used to determine which pots they will be placed in for future European qualifiers for the Euros and the World Cup,” the Sun said.
When will it begin?
The Uefa Nations League group games will take place during international breaks in September, October and November 2018 and the four top group winners will play off in the summer of 2019.
The next edition of the competition, with relegation and promotions taken into account, will begin in 2020. It means that each summer without a World Cup or European Championship, there will be a Nations League final.
Uefa Nations League calendar
- Group stage draw: 24 January 2018
- Matchday 1: 6–8 September 2018
- Matchday 2: 9–11 September 2018
- Matchday 3: 11–13 October 2018
- Matchday 4: 14–16 October 2018
- Matchday 5: 15–17 November 2018
- Matchday 6: 18–20 November 2018
- Finals draw: early December 2018
- Finals: 5–9 June 2019
- Uefa Euro 2020 play-off draw: 22 November 2019
- Uefa Euro 2020 play-offs: 26–31 March 2020
Uefa says teams in three-sided groups will play on four of the six matchdays. Russia and Ukraine will not be drawn into the same group. The same applies to Armenia and Azerbaijan if the current UEFA Executive Committee decisions still apply when the draw is made.
What about the major tournaments?
One upshot of the competition is that it will make qualification for the European Championships “more streamlined”, says Uefa. There will be a normal qualifying competition, with two teams going through from each group. Nations League rankings will then be used to decide which teams qualify for the play-offs to decide the final four spots at Euro 2020.
What about friendlies?
“The number of friendlies played by European nations will be greatly reduced, but they will not disappear completely,” says the Daily Mirror. “There will still be time for nations to play friendlies, particularly in the build-up to World Cups and European Championships.”
Will the Uefa Nations League be on TV?
The Guardian reports that Nations League games will still be counted as non-competitive. “Under the current deal, all of England’s matches are screened on ITV but from 2018 the team’s friendly matches – which will be a part of a new Uefa Nations League – will only be available on Sky Sports.”