How the 2021 UEFA Nations League finals will work: Teams, format, venues, how to watch

·2-min read
Federico Chiesa has been in fantastic form for Italy and Juventus  (AFP via Getty Images)
Federico Chiesa has been in fantastic form for Italy and Juventus (AFP via Getty Images)

The second UEFA Nations League finals kick off on Wednesday and a new name will be on the trophy.

Portugal won the inaugural competition but failed to make it out of their group for the 2021 edition. Standard Sport runs you through what to expect this time:

What is the Nations League?

It was launched in 2018 by UEFA as a way of replacing international friendlies for European teams. For this edition, the 55 teams across the continent were divided into four leagues. League A featured Europe’s top 16 teams spread across four groups of four. After a set of round-robin matches, the four group winners from League A progressed to the finals, where the winners will be crowned champions.

When and where are this year’s finals?

The finals run from Wednesday October 6 to Sunday October 10. They had been due to be held in June but were pushed back so the delayed Euro 2020 finals could take place.

Italy, having qualified for the Nations League finals, were confirmed as hosts on December 3. Matches will be at the San Siro in Milan and the Juventus Stadium in Turin.

Which teams are playing?

It is certainly a high-class field. This year’s finals feature both the world champions, France, and the new European champions, Italy. Then there is the No1 ranked team in the world, Belgium, and the quartet is completed by Spain, who took Italy to penalties before losing in the semi-final of Euro 2020. None of these teams reached the 2019 finals.

England, who finished third in the first Nations League, failed to get through this time after coming third in a group also featuring Belgium, Denmark and Iceland.

Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, left, trains with his France team-mates ahead of their semi-final (AFP via Getty Images)
Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, left, trains with his France team-mates ahead of their semi-final (AFP via Getty Images)

What is the format?

Italy play Spain in the first semi-final on Wednesday in Milan and the following night Belgium take on France in Turin. Both matches kick-off at 7.45pm.

The losers then meet at the Juventus Stadium at 2pm on Sunday while the winners play the final that night at the San Siro, kick-off 7.45pm.

For the semi-final and final, if scores are level at the end of normal time, there will be 30 minutes of extra-time followed by penalties if needed. For the third-place play-off, there is no extra-time and a drawn match will go straight to a shoot-out.

How to watch the finals

Sky Sports will be screening the four games with coverage of the semi-finals starting at 7.30pm. Sky Sports subscribers will be able to watch the match online via the Sky Go app.

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