It’s back, the UEFA Nations League and England are set to find out their opponents for the next edition of the tournament when the draw takes place in Amsterdam on Tuesday night.
The Three Lions reached the finals of the 2018-19 campaign, with hosts Portugal winning ahead of England, Switzerland and Holland. Gareth Southgate’s side will feature in the top tier again, with four teams in each of the top three division’s groups as opposed to mostly three last time.
For the draw, last year’s four finalists have been potted together so cannot draw each other - meaning England will avoid Cristiano Ronaldo and Virgil van Dijk, phew! However, Jadon Sancho and Co could face Belgium, Spain, Italy or France from pot 2, while Germany, relegated from the top tier (yes, really) in last season’s tournament are lurking in pot 4. One to avoid, certainly.
There’s also the chance of a Battle of Britain with Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland all in League B. Republic of Ireland are also in the same division so there’s a real possibility of some interesting match-ups.
The competition and format proved a decent hit with football fans last year. Technically replacing friendlies, it was introduced to add a competitive edge to non-tournament and qualifying football. Playing everyone home and away, there were advantages to be made by teams with routes on offer to the Euros. Each team who won their group was promoted to the higher league for this next campaign, while the countries who finished, with countries finishing bottom being relegated.
England finished third last time out, beating Switzerland on penalties in Portugal and will be looking to go two better this time. While last year’s competition provided four spots for this summer’s Euros, there will be no World Cup 2022 places on offer this time around, strictly speaking. However, two sides could possibly qualify for the Qatar showpiece via this route as two World Cup play-off places are available via the Nations League. It’s all to play for.
The draw will take place at 5pm, UK time.
Pot 1: Portugal, Netherlands, England, Switzerland
Pot 2: Belgium, France, Spain, Italy
Pot 3: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ukraine, Denmark, Sweden
Pot 4: Croatia, Poland, Germany, Iceland
Pot 1: Russia, Austria, Wales, Czech Republic
Pot 2: Scotland, Norway, Serbia, Finland
Pot 3: Slovakia, Turkey, Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland
Pot 4: Bulgaria, Israel, Hungary, Romania
Pot 1: Greece, Albania, Montenegro, Georgia
Pot 2: North Macedonia, Kosovo, Belarus, Cyprus
Pot 3: Estonia, Slovenia, Lithuania, Luxembourg
Pot 4: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Moldova
Pot 1: Gibraltar, Faroe Islands, Latvia, Liechtenstein
Pot 2: Andorra, Malta, San Marino
When are the games?
Matchday 1: 3-5 September 2020
Matchday 2: 6-8 September 2020
Matchday 3: 8-10 October 2020
Matchday 4: 11-13 October 2020
Matchday 5: 12-14 November 2020
Matchday 6: 15-17 November 2020
Finals: 2, 3, 6 June 2021
Matches will be played from September through to November, with the finals taking place in June