Uefa announce line-up of inaugural Nations League with Wales' defeat to Republic of Ireland now more costly

Jack Austin
The Independent
Wales at 'crossroads' with Chris Coleman's future as manager not yet settled

Wales at 'crossroads' with Chris Coleman's future as manager not yet settled

Wales at 'crossroads' with Chris Coleman's future as manager not yet settled

Uefa has confirmed the line-up of each of the four leagues that make up the inaugural Nations League, the European competition designed to replace most international friendlies.

Wales’ agonising defeat to Republic of Ireland on Monday sees them slip into League B with the Netherlands sneaking ahead of them, with England making the top League.

All 55 Uefa nations have been assigned to a league, with 12 teams each in League A and B, 15 in C and 16 in D.

Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland join Wales in League B while Scotland are consigned to League C given their ranking of 27th in Europe.

At a draw on 24th January, each of the four leagues will be divided into four groups of three or four nations who will play each other home and away in the international breaks from September to November next year.

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A promotion and relegation system will be in force between the leagues with the four winners promoted and the four bottom-placed teams relegated before the second edition of the competition begins in September 2020, after the European Championships.

The winners of the inaugural tournament will be decided between the winners of the four groups in League A in June 2019, with two semi-finals, a third-place play-off and a final being played. These games will be held in one of the finalists’ countries.

The competition will run alongside qualification for Euro 2020 and is an attempt by Uefa to revive international football by providing teams with more competitive fixtures against teams of a similar standard.

The qualifying for Euro 2020 will now begin in March 2019, where countries will be divided into 10 groups of five or six, with the top two sides qualifying for the finals.

However, the final four places at Euro 2020 will be decided by the Nations League with the winners of the 16 groups going into a mini play-off occurring in March 2020.

Each league will have its own play-off competition with single-leg semi-final and final to decide who gets the final four places.

If the winners of the Nations League group have already qualified via the normal route, their place will go to the next best team in their group that hasn’t secured a place. However, if a whole league does not have enough teams for a play-off, which is conceivable in League A, then the places will be filled by the best-ranked teams from the league below.

Uefa Nations League sections

League A: Germany, Portugal, Belgium, Spain, France, England, Switzerland, Italy, Poland, Iceland, Croatia, Holland.

League B: Austria, Wales, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Ukraine, Republic of Ireland, Bosnia-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, Macedonia, Belarus, Georgia, Armenia, Latvia, Faroe Islands, Luxembourg, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Liechtenstein, Malta, Andorra, Kosovo, San Marino, Gibraltar.

Uefa Nations League calendar

Group stage draw: 24 January 2018 – SwissTech Convention Centre, Lausanne 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

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