The UEFA Nations League will return in the 2020/21 season and European teams have now learned their fate after the draw on Tuesday.
Portugal won the inaugural competition in 2019, beating the Netherlands in the final.
Whatever you think of the format, it has at least to some degree succeeding in making international football more competitive.
Indeed, it could soon be all we’ve got to look forward to with serious talk of Euro 2020 coming under threat due to the spread of the coronavirus. If the unthinkable were to happen and this summer’s showpiece were cancelled, the Nations League would be even bigger next year.
The initial games will take place between September and November of this year, with the finals next summer. One major change is that it no longer guarantees any World Cup 2022 spots, whereas the 2018/19 competition opened up four spots at the Euros.
Just two of the 12 World Cup play-off places (for three spots) are now available via the Nations League.
The full draw can be seen below:
Group D1: Malta, Andorra, Latvia, Faroe Islands
Group D2: San Marino, Liechtenstein, Gibraltar
Group C1: Azerbaijan, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Montenegro
Group C2: Armenia, Estonia, North Macedonia, Georgia
Group C3: Moldova, Slovenia, Kosovo, Greece
Group C4: Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Belarus, Albania
Group B1: Romania, Northern Ireland, Norway, Austria
Group B2: Israel, Slovakia, Scotland, Czech Republic
Group B3: Hungary, Turkey, Serbia, Russia
Group B4: Bulgaria, Republic of Ireland, Finland, Wales
Group A1: Poland, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Italy, Netherlands
Group A2: Iceland, Denmark, Belgium, England
Group A3: Croatia, Sweden, France, Portugal
Group A4: Germany, Ukraine, Spain, Switzerland
England should be reasonably satisfied with their group, although they will have unwelcome memories of facing Belgium having lost twice to them in the 2018 World Cup.
Spare a thought for Sweden, who will play both finalists from that tournament – France and Croatia – as well as Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal.
Group A4 has also thrown up a fascinating clash between Germany and Spain, two fallen giants who will be looking to make a statement next summer.
We could be in for some of the very best games international football has to offer.
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