UEFA Confirms Groupings for Inaugural UEFA Nations League

UEFA Confirms Groupings for Inaugural UEFA Nations League

UEFA Confirms Groupings for Inaugural UEFA Nations League

At the conclusion of the World Cup qualifying groups, Northern Ireland ranked 21st, good for a place in League B alongside Wales and the Republic of Ireland.

Chris Coleman's side had been on course to challenge the likes of England, Germany, Spain, Italy and France for the inaugural title in European football's third major worldwide competition but lost out by less than 600 coefficient points.

The 15 League C contestants will be split into one group of three and three groups of four.

The tournament also offers an additional route into the 2020 European Championships as the four best placed finishers in each League who have not yet qualified via the regular qualifying format will enter a play-off and compete for one additional spot.

In order to counteract what many view as meaningless worldwide friendlies, UEFA have established the Nations League, which will be played off between teams of similar standards. The top twelve teams automatically form League A.

In the 2018 World Cup qualification campaign, Albanian finished third in a group stage it could not do much against former world champions Spain and Italy.

Each country plays home and away between September and November with four top sides going into a knockout semi-final and final in June.

UEFA's website has a full breakdown of how the Nations League will work.

Aside from this, the four group winners will earn promotion to League B and the four who finish bottom of their respective groups will be relegated to Group D for the 2020/21 tournament.

Croatia has won a League A spot with the biggest European sides UEFA confirmed on Wednesday.

League D features 16 teams, with four groups of four, and those teams will play on all six assigned matchdays.

League D: Azerbaijan, FYR Macedonia, Belarus, Georgia, Armenia, Latvia, Faroe Islands, Luxembourg, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Liechtenstein, Malta, Andorra, Kosovo, San Marino and Gibraltar. Russian Federation and Ukraine will not be drawn into the same group.

UEFA claim the main advantage of the new system is that it creates "more meaningful and competitive matches for teams" than the current trend of filling global dates with friendlies.

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