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UEFA Nations League: Details of the full draw, format & schedule for the new Euro competition

Gareth Southgate's England side have moved up to sixth in the World Rankings
Gareth Southgate's England side have moved up to sixth in the World Rankings

As England return to action this weekend in the UEFA Nations League get the full lowdown on the new European football competition.

The Nations League begins this week as England aim to build on the feelgood factor of their World Cup fourth place.

Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Wales also begin the new international cycle with Nations League matches during the September international break.

Here are the big questions answered about the new event..

What is the Nations League?

The tournament involves all 55 UEFA member countries and aims to replace meaningless friendlies with increased competition.

When does the first Nations League tournament take place?

It starts in September and continues across the October and November international breaks. The finals will be played in June 2019.


UEFA Nations League outright betting

Click here for the full Nations League betting from Sky Bet


What is the tournament format?

The 55 competing nations have been placed into four tiers based on their current UEFA ranking and each tier is split into four leagues - A, B, C and D - made up of three or four teams. Between September and November the teams in each league will play each other home and away.

The team finishing top of each group is promoted to a higher league and the team finishing bottom of each group is relegated to a lower league, except in the lowest tier (D).

The four teams who win their respective League A groups (the bit England are involved in) will qualify for the knockout finals in June 2019 - semi-finals, final and third-place play-off - to decide the Nations League winner. One of those four teams will act as the hosts of the event - with a decision on that to be taken in December.

Who have the home nations and the Republic of Ireland been drawn to play against?

England will play in the top tier (League A) and have been drawn to play World Cup finalists Croatia, plus Spain, in Group Four. England host Spain on Saturday (September 8) at Wembley.

Wales and the Republic of Ireland will play in the second tier (League B) and have both been drawn in Group Four alongside Denmark. Wales host the Republic on Thursday (September 6) and play in Aarhus on Monday, September 10.

Northern Ireland will also play in League B and have been drawn to face Bosnia-Herzegovina and Austria in Group Three. Northern Ireland play Bosnia on Saturday (September 8) at Windsor Park.

Scotland are in the third tier (League C) and they have been drawn to play Israel and Albania in Group One. Scotland play Albania at Hampden Park on Monday, September 10.

Will there still be a regular qualifying campaign for Euro 2020?

Yes. The Euro 2020 qualification draw takes place in Dublin in December with all the matches due to be played between March and November 2019.

The top two teams from 10 groups will automatically qualify for the finals. That will account for 20 of the finalists. The final four places are where the Nations League comes in again.

So the Nations League can be a route to qualification for the Euros?

Yes. The four group winners from each league - A, B, C and D, so 16 teams in all - will play off in March 2020 in a bid to secure one of the four remaining places. The format will be one-off play-off semi-finals, followed by a final, per league, with the winning team from each of leagues A, B, C and D taking the last four spots at the Euros.

If a country has already qualified by the conventional route, their place will go to the next highest-ranked team from their respective Nations League tier.

UEFA Nations League group draw

League A draw

Group 1: Germany, France, Netherlands

Group 2: Belgium, Switzerland, Iceland

Group 3: Portugal, Italy, Poland

Group 4: Spain, England, Croatia

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

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

League D draw

Group 1: Georgia, Latvia, Kazakhstan, Andorra

Group 2: Belarus, Luxembourg, Moldova, San Marino

Group 3: Azerbaijan, Faro Islands, Malta, Kosovo

Group 4: FYR Macedonia, Armenia, Lichtenstein, Gibraltar

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Most Read Football

Get all the football gossip from the National Papers1

Paper Talk: Eriksen in demand

All the latest transfer gossip from the back pages of Wednesday's UK newspapers as Tottenham's Christian Eriksen is linked with some European giants.

Luka Modric (left) and Kylian Mbappe: Both in the Ballon d'Or running after impressive World Cups2

Modric odds-on for Ballon d'Or

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Scotland have clinched a play-off spot for Euro 20203

Scotland reach Euro play-offs

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Kevin Nolan has been backed for a return to Notts County4

Nolan favourite for Notts return

Kevin Nolan has been backed into the new favourite to become the next manager of Sky Bet League Two side Notts County.

Wales were defeated by Albania5

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