Taking place in Amsterdam, England saw a friendly draw, avoiding the likes of France, Spain, Germany, and Italy as the Three Lions were placed in Group 2 alongside Iceland, Denmark, and Belgium. Group 4 seems the most difficult off the bat, with Spain and Germany as well as Pot 1 members Switzerland. Poor Ukraine.
The format this time around has been tweaked to balance out team numbers and change rewards for good performance from Euro 2020 qualification to a path towards 2022 World Cup qualification. Here’s a rundown of how it works:
- The group stage will take place between September 2020 and March 2021.
- There are no guaranteed World Cup places handed out in the Nations League, but there is a slight boost to one’s chances for a solid performance. Of all the group winners who do not qualify directly for a World Cup place through traditional means, the top two will earn a spot in a 12-team playoff alongside 10 other teams from World Cup qualifying.
- Any team that finishes top of its group will be promoted to the next League. Any team that finishes bottom of its group will be relegated to the previous League.
- Group winners from League A will be placed in a semifinals draw, with the semis and finals to be played in early June 2021 within a “host nation” selected from the four remaining countries. The finals are essentially just for FIFA seeding, with little else on the line other than the trophy.
Teams that were meant to be relegated in the inaugural Nations League were not actually relegated thanks to the reshuffling that saw uneven numbers of teams wiped out to avoid countries still having to play occasional friendlies. The reshuffling now sees an even 12 countries in all of the top three leagues, with the remaining seven in League D.
Group 1 – Netherlands, Italy, Poland, Bosnia & Herzegovina
Group 2 – England, Belgium, Iceland, Denmark
Group 3 – Portugal, France, Croatia, Sweden
Group 4 – Switzerland, Spain, Germany, Ukraine
Group 1 – Romania, Northern Ireland, Norway, Austria,
Group 2 – Israel, Slovakia, Scotland, Czech Republic
Group 3 – Hungary, Turkey, Serbia, Russia
Group 4 – Bulgaria, Republic of Ireland, Finland, Wales
Group 1 – Azerbaijan, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Montenegro
Group 2 – Armenia, Estonia, North Macedonia, Georgia
Group 3 – Moldova, Slovenia, Kosovo, Greece
Group 4 – Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Belarus, Albania
Group 1 – Malta, Andorra, Latvia, Faroe Islands
Group 2 – San Marino, Liechtenstein, Gibraltar