Sunday, 17 December, 2017

Ireland Could Meet Familiar Foes In UEFA Nations League

Robbie Brady with Ben Davies Source Ryan Byrne INPHO
Spencer Simpson | 12 October, 2017, 00:38

England will take their place alongside the heavyweights of Europe in league A when the inaugural Nations League starts in 2018, Uefa confirmed today as it outlined the format of the new competition.

The top four-ranked League B teams that do not qualify for Euro 2020 will enter play-offs in March 2020, with one finals place on offer.

That means missing out on the potential for games against Germany, Italy, Spain and England, who are among the dozen teams to qualify for League A.

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.

The four best placed finishers in each league tier of the Nations Cup that failed to qualify for Euro 2020 will then go into a play-off for one place - with a one legged semi-final and one legged final in March 2020.

Group games will be followed by semi-finals involving the four group winners and a final to be played in June 2019.

If the group victor has already qualified for Euro 2020, the spot goes to the next best team who haven't and UEFA will simply go down through the Leagues until the mini-tournaments are fully stocked, thus affording both big teams who missed the cut (the Netherlands, as a hypothetical example) and no-hoper minnows alike a potential opportunity to claw their way into Euro 2020.

League B: Austria, Wales, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Ukraine, Republic of Ireland, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Northern Ireland, Denmark, Czech Republic, Turkey.

League C contains Hungary, Romania, Scotland, Slovenia, Greece, Serbia, Albania, Norway, Montenegro, Israel, Bulgaria, Finland, Cyprus, Estonia and Lithuania.

The top team in each group will be promoted and the bottom team relegated for the next Nations League competition which takes place in 2021.

For example, with League D guaranteed a representative, Azerbaijan, Macedonia, Belarus and Latvia are the favourites to battle it out over a series of one-off contests to join, but not necessarily be competitive in, the finals jamboree.

The national teams of Ukraine and Russian Federation will be divided into different groups.

Euro 2020 qualification will begin after the group stages of the Nations League concludes and will run throughout 2019, with the play-offs taking place the following Spring.

England are in League A with the 12 top nations in the UEFA rankings.

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