FST’s Guide to the UEFA Nations League

FST’s Guide to the UEFA Nations League
Simon Winter
Simon Winter
September 4, 2018
Show Bio

Born in the south east of Ireland, Simon put his life-long love of football to good use when he started a successful independent blog in 2010. That opened up an alternative route to a career in journalism, and having had work published across a number of sites and publications, Simon joined the staff at Spotlight Sports Group in 2018.

The inaugural UEFA Nations League gets underway this week with a showpiece fixture between the last two World Cup winners, Germany and France, kicking off the new competition in Munich.

The formulation and introduction of the Nations League has already sparked plenty of debate and no shortage of confusion about how the tournament actually works and why it was created in the first place.

To try to cut through some of that befuddlement and peel back the shroud of mystery a little, we’ve put together our FST guide to the Nations League.

Read More: Germany vs France predictions, betting tips and match previews 

Why was the UEFA Nations League introduced?

In the works since 2011, the Nations League was introduced to give regular season international football a shot in the arm. The competition’s competitive fixtures will replace a good chunk of the much-maligned international friendly programme.

Ideally that would incentivise the participating countries to pick stronger teams than they normally would for dead-rubber, meaningless friendly games. More competitive mid-season internationals, means more supporters through the gates.

It won’t mean the end of international friendlies completely however, and there will still be room in the calendar for teams to arrange some non-competitive fixtures.

Quote:

The UEFA Nations League creates more meaningful and competitive matches for teams and a dedicated calendar and structure for national team football” – UEFA

How will the UEFA Nations League work?

Germany World Cup 2018

The competition’s format works as follows: the 55 countries that make up the UEFA region are divided into 4 separate Leagues (A,B,C,D), based on their UEFA rankings from November 2017 (after the World Cup qualifiers ended).

Leagues A and B have 12 teams each, League C has 15 teams and League D has 16 teams. Those 4 Leagues are split again into smaller groups of 3 or 4 nations:

League A

Group 1: Germany, France, Netherlands

Group 2: Belgium, Iceland, Switzerland

Group 3: Italy, Poland, Portugal

Group 4: Croatia, England, Spain

League B

Group 1: Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine

Group 2: Russia, Sweden, Turkey

Group 3: Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Northern Ireland

Group 4: Denmark, Republic of Ireland, Wales

League C

Group 1: Albania, Israel, Scotland

Group 2: Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary

Group 3: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Norway, Slovenia

Group 4: Lithuania, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia

League D

Group 1: Andorra, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Latvia

Group 2: Belarus, Luxembourg, Moldova, San Marino

Group 3: Azerbaijan, Faroe Islands, Kosovo, Malta

Group 4: Armenia, Macedonia, Gibraltar, Liechtenstein

The competition will introduce promotion and relegation to international football for the first time and at the end of each Nations League season, 4 teams will go up and 4 will go down to and from each League. (E.g. 4 teams will be promoted from League B to League A and 4 teams will be relegated from A to B. Similarly, 4 teams will move from League C up to League B and 4 will move in the other direction. The same format applies to League C and League D).

The winners of the 4 groups in League A will qualify for the latter stages of the competition, where they will face-off in Semi Finals before the winners of those games contest the first UEFA Nations League Final. The Final Four tournament takes place between the 5th and 9th of June 2019.

EURO 2020 places up for grabs?

The UEFA Nations League trophy and inter-league promotions aren’t the only prizes on offer for the competition’s successful teams. Potentially, a competing nation could earn a spot at the 2020 European Championships.

The established qualification process for the European Championship will largely stay the same. 20 of the 24 European Championships qualification spots will go to teams that finish in the top 2 of their traditional format groups.

However, the remaining 4 places at the Finals will be contested in the Nations League Play Offs that will take place in March 2020.

16 teams will compete in the play-offs. Each Nations League division (League A, B, C, D) gets 4 play-off spots. If the winner of a particular group has already qualified for the Euros via the traditional method, the next best team which has not qualified goes into the play-offs.

Those 16 teams will go into 4 groups, with the top team going to the Euros. The 4 teams play 2 one-off semi-finals and 1 one-off final to determine play-off winners.

Nations League Prize Money

Germany vs France Predictions, Betting Tips and Match Previews

Every competing team in the Nations League is given a participation fee, which breaks down as follows:

€1,500,000 in League A

€1,000,000 in League B

€750,000 in League C

€500,000 in League D

The winners of each Group within the four Leagues wins the same amount of money again for topping their section. (e.g. the group winners in League B get €1,000,000 each).

The overall winner of the Nations League gets €4,500,000 while the runner-up is awarded €3,500,000. The third and fourth-placed teams receive €2,500,000 and €1,500,000 respectively.

Comparatively, the winner of Euro 2020 will get €10,000,000. France were given approximately €32m (£28.8m) when they won the World Cup this year.

Fixtures and Dates

Matchday one

Thursday 6 September

League A
Group A1: Germany v France (20:45)

Read More: Germany vs France predictions, betting tips and match previews

League B
Group B1: Czech Republic v Ukraine (20:45)
Group B4: Wales v Republic of Ireland (20:45)

Read More: Czech Republic vs Ukraine predictions, betting tips and match previews

League C
Group C3: Slovenia v Bulgaria (20:45), Norway v Cyprus (20:45)

League D
Group D1: Kazakhstan v Georgia (16:00), Latvia v Andorra (20:45)
Group D4: Armenia v Liechtenstein (20:45), Gibraltar v FYR Macedonia (20:45)

Friday 7 September

League A
Group A3: Italy v Poland (20:45)

League B
Group B2: Turkey v Russia (20:45)

League C
Group C1: Albania v Israel (20:45)
Group C4: Lithuania v Serbia (20:45), Romania v Montenegro (20:45)

League D
Group D3: Azerbaijan v Kosovo (18:00), Faroe Islands v Malta (20:45)

Saturday 8 September

League A
Group A2: Switzerland v Iceland (18:00)
Group A4: England v Spain (20:45)

League B
Group B3: Northern Ireland v Bosnia and Herzegovina (15:00)

League C
Group C2: Finland v Hungary (18:00), Estonia v Greece (20:45)

League D
Group D2: Belarus v San Marino (18:00), Luxembourg v Moldova (20:45)

Matchday two

Sunday 9 September

League A
Group A1: France v Netherlands (20:45)

League B
Group B1: Ukraine v Slovakia (15:00)
Group B4: Denmark v Wales (18:00)

League C
Group C3: Bulgaria v Norway (18:00), Cyprus v Slovenia (20:45)

League D
Group D1: Georgia v Latvia (18:00)
Group D4: FYR Macedonia v Armenia (18:00), Liechtenstein v Gibraltar (20:45)

Monday 10 September

League A
Group A3: Portugal v Italy (20:45)

League B
Group B2: Sweden v Turkey (20:45)

League C
Group C1: Scotland v Albania (20:45)
Group C4: Serbia v Romania (20:45), Montenegro v Lithuania (20:45)

League D
Group D1: Andorra v Kazakhstan (20:45)
Group D3: Kosovo v Faroe Islands (20:45), Malta v Azerbaijan (20:45)

Tuesday 11 September

League A
Group A2: Iceland v Belgium (20:45)
Group A4: Spain v Croatia (20:45)

League B
Group B3: Bosnia and Herzegovina v Austria (20:45)

League C
Group C2: Hungary v Greece (20:45), Finland v Estonia (20:45)

League D
Group D2: San Marino v Luxembourg (20:45), Moldova v Belarus (20:45)

Matchday three

Thursday 11 October

League A
Group A3: Poland v Portugal (20:45)

League B
Group B2: Russia v Sweden (20:45)

League C
Group C1: Israel v Scotland (20:45)
Group C4: Lithuania v Romania (20:45), Montenegro v Serbia (20:45)

League D
Group D3: Faroe Islands v Azerbaijan (20:45), Kosovo v Malta (20:45)

Friday 12 October

League A
Group A2: Belgium v Switzerland (20:45)
Group A4: Croatia v England (20:45)

League B
Group B3: Austria v Northern Ireland (20:45)

League C
Group C2: Greece v Hungary (20:45), Estonia v Finland (20:45)

League D
Group D2: Belarus v Luxembourg (20:45), Moldova v San Marino (20:45)

Saturday 13 October

League A
Group A1: Netherlands v Germany (20:45)

League B
Group B1: Slovakia v Czech Republic (15:00)
Group B4: Republic of Ireland v Denmark (20:45)

League C
Group C3: Norway v Slovenia (18:00), Bulgaria v Cyprus (20:45)

League D
Group D1: Georgia v Andorra (18:00), Latvia v Kazakhstan (18:00)
Group D4: Armenia v Gibraltar (18:00), FYR Macedonia v Liechtenstein (20:45)

Matchday four

Sunday 14 October

League A
Group A3: Poland v Italy (20:45)

League B
Group B2: Russia v Turkey (18:00)

League C
Group C1: Israel v Albania (20:45)
Group C4: Romania v Serbia (15:00), Lithuania v Montenegro (20:45)

League D
Group D3: Azerbaijan v Malta (18:00), Faroe Islands v Kosovo (18:00)

Monday 15 October

League A
Group A2: Iceland v Switzerland (20:45)
Group A4: Spain v England (20:45)

League B
Group B3: Bosnia and Herzegovina v Northern Ireland (20:45)

League C
Group C2: Estonia v Hungary (20:45), Finland v Greece (20:45)

League D
Group D2: Belarus v Moldova (20:45), Luxembourg v San Marino (20:45)

Tuesday 16 October

League A
Group A1: France v Germany (20:45)

League B
Group B1: Ukraine v Czech Republic (20:45)
Group B4: Republic of Ireland v Wales (20:45)

League C
Group C3: Norway v Bulgaria (20:45), Slovenia v Cyprus (20:45)

League D
Group D1: Kazakhstan v Andorra (16:00), Latvia v Georgia (20:45)
Group D4: Armenia v FYR Macedonia (18:00), Gibraltar v Liechtenstein (20:45)

Matchday five

Thursday 15 November

League A
Group A2: Belgium v Iceland (20:45)
Group A4: Croatia v Spain (20:45)

League B
Group B3: Austria v Bosnia and Herzegovina (20:45)

League C
Group C2: Greece v Finland (20:45), Hungary v Estonia (20:45)

League D
Group D1: Kazakhstan v Latvia (16:00), Andorra v Georgia (20:45)
Group D2: San Marino v Moldova (20:45), Luxembourg v Belarus (20:45)

Friday 16 November

League A
Group A1: Netherlands v France (20:45)

League B
Group B1: Slovakia v Ukraine (20:45)
Group B4: Wales v Denmark (20:45)

League C
Group C3: Cyprus v Bulgaria (20:45), Slovenia v Norway (20:45)

League D
Group D4: Liechtenstein v FYR Macedonia (20:45), Gibraltar v Armenia (20:45)

Saturday 17 November

League A
Group A3: Italy v Portugal (20:45)

League B
Group B2: Turkey v Sweden (18:00)

League C
Group C1: Albania v Scotland (20:45)
Group C4: Serbia v Montenegro (15:00), Romania v Lithuania (20:45)

League D
Group D3: Azerbaijan v Faroe Islands (18:00), Malta v Kosovo (18:00)

Matchday six

Sunday 18 November

League A
Group A2: Switzerland v Belgium (20:45)
Group A4: England v Croatia (15:00)

League B
Group B3: Northern Ireland v Austria (18:00)

League C
Group C2: Hungary v Finland (20:45), Greece v Estonia (20:45)

League D
Group D2: San Marino v Belarus (18:00), Moldova v Luxembourg (18:00)

Monday 19 November

League A
Group A1: Germany v Netherlands (20:45)

League B
Group B1: Czech Republic v Slovakia (20:45)
Group B4: Denmark v Republic of Ireland (20:45)

League C
Group C3: Cyprus v Norway (20:45), Bulgaria v Slovenia (20:45)

League D
Group D1: Andorra v Latvia (18:00), Georgia v Kazakhstan (18:00)
Group D4: Liechtenstein v Armenia (20:45), FYR Macedonia v Gibraltar (20:45)

Tuesday 20 November

League A
Group A3: Portugal v Poland (20:45)

League B
Group B2: Sweden v Russia (20:45)

League C
Group C1: Scotland v Israel (20:45)
Group C4: Serbia v Lithuania (20:45), Montenegro v Romania (20:45)

League D
Group D3: Kosovo v Azerbaijan (18:00), Malta v Faroe Islands (18:00)

Finals: 5–9 June 2019
UEFA EURO 2020 play-off draw: 22 November 2019
UEFA EURO 2020 play-offs: 26–31 March 2020

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