UEFA Nations League - how it all works

UEFA Nations League - how it all works

The winners of the four groups in League A will go through to the finals from 5-9 June next year.

In this very easy explainer, we will explain to you how it works, what its objective is and why it is taking place. Let's start off with the basics.

The Nations League, which will kick off during the current global break, is meant to rejuvenate worldwide football in Europe by giving national teams more meaningful matches, while at the same time reducing the number of friendlies.

Of course, with the expanded tournament, first introduced in France 2016, where 24 teams now qualify for the tournament, most teams worth their salt will already have made it through to the multi-city hosted event.

It starts in September and continues across the October and November worldwide breaks. The finals are to be held in June 2019 and the Euro 2020 playoffs in March 2020.

What is the tournament format?

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This new Nations League sounds complicated.

Not so in the Nations League, where the group format pits teams against others of a similar ranking.

England face Spain this weekend and are included in League A, comprising the top 12 European teams.

England are in Group Four of the Nations League, with Spain and Croatia.

The host nation for the league finals will be one of the finalist teams, and announced in December 2018.

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And following the session, Southgate and his players took the time to meet some supporters who had been invited to the session at the national football centre.

So from Ireland's perspective, winning their Nations League mini-group and making the March play-offs should be a real objective, in case Martin O'Neill's side are handed a very tough qualifying group or they hit a slump in form.

England face Spain in their opening fixture in the tournament on Saturday and in October they get the chance to get revenge on Croatia for their semi-final defeat in Russian Federation.

While Leagues B-D compete for promotion and survival, sides in League A are competing to be crowned UEFA Nations League winners.

Reds striker Dominic Solanke has been called up by England U21s for European Championship qualifiers with the Netherlands (Thursday September 6) and Latvia (Tuesday September 11).

League C features the likes of Scotland, Finland, Norway and Romania.

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One group in League C and every League D group consist of four teams, meaning six recognised matchdays are needed to fulfil home and away fixtures. All group winners will double their money, meaning a group win would be worth an extra €1m to Northern Ireland.

How can you qualify for Euro 2020?

Meanwhile, smaller nations find it hard to arrange friendly games, so Uefa believe they have come up with the ideal solution.

The team that finishes bottom of each group - outside of League D - will be relegated to the league below them, while the team that finishes top - outside of League A - will be promoted into the league above them.

The victor can only come from League A and will be determined by a mini-tournament played in June, with semifinals, a game for third place and a final. Should any of the league winners have already qualified through qualifying, they are to be replaced in the playoffs by the next-best ranked team in their league.

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