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UEFA Nations League: All questions answered


What is the UEFA Nations League?

The UEFA Nations League began in 2018 and takes place biannually with all 55 European national teams competing.

All fixtures take place during the existing FIFA international windows, replacing inconsequential friendly matches.

The basic idea is to ensure national teams of similar ability levels regularly go head-to-head in competitive matches.

Explaining the format of the UEFA Nations League

The competition is split into four divisions, Leagues A, B, C and D.

Each team's league is based upon their performance in the previous edition of the tournament in the form of promotion and relegation.

Europe's heavyweights will feature in League A, while the continents minnows battle it out in League D.

Leagues A, B and C all contain 16 teams, with the remaining seven nations competing in the bottom-tier.

Sides are drawn into groups of four (apart from group D2) and play everyone else in their group in a round-robin home and away format.

So what is at stake in each tier?

League D

The two group winners are promoted to League C.

League C

The four group winners are promoted to League B.

The four bottom-placed sides will compete in relegation play-outs with the two losers relegated to League D.

League B

The four group winners are promoted to League A.

The four bottom-placed sides are relegated to League C.

League A

The four group winners will compete in the UEFA Nations League Finals, the next edition of which is scheduled for June 2023.

The four bottom-placed sides are relegated to League B.

Has the UEFA Nations League been a success?

First and foremost, the UEFA Nations League has replaced meaningless friendly matches with competitive fixtures.

At the top end, Portugal and France have added silverware to their respective collections, winning the 2019 and 2021 finals respectively.

Lower down the pyramid, minnows Faroe Islands and Gibraltar both won promotion from League D in 2020, enjoying their biggest-ever achievements.

Meanwhile, Armenia and Hungary have secured back-to-back promotions, so will now be competing in Leagues B and A respectively.

The UEFA Nations League also provides teams a second chance to qualify for major tournaments, especially the European Championships.

Hungary, Slovakia, Scotland and North Macedonia all capitalised on this opportunity and made it to Euro 2020.

Austria and Czech Republic earned a place in the World Cup 2022 play-offs via the Nations League, before both were beaten at the semi-final stage.

Similarly, teams from Leagues A, B and C, who do not qualify directly, will be given a second chance to reach Euro 2024 in play-offs.

The third edition of the UEFA Nations League commences on 1 June 2022 with the finals taking place between 14-18 June 2023.


UEFA Nations League A: Group by group preview 

UEFA Nations League B: Group by group preview 

UEFA Nations League C: Group by group preview 

UEFA Nations League D: Group by group preview 

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Ben Gray

Ben Gray

Arsenal fan – follow them over land and sea (and Leicester); sofa Celtic supporter; a bit of a football '"encyclopedia".



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