Ireland placed in second tier for inaugural UEFA Nations League

Initially announced several months ago, UEFA have confirmed that the inaugural Nations League will take place in 2018, with the official seedings revealed today and the draw scheduled for January (because you can never have too many draw ceremonies).

The format of the UEFA Nations League will feature promotion and relegation and sees the 55 European national teams divided into four leagues in accordance with UEFA's national association coefficient rankings.

Joining England, Germany, Spain, Italy, France and Holland in League A will be Portugal, Belgium, Switzerland, Poland, Iceland and Croatia.

Teams will be split into four groups of three and play on four of the six matchdays which are spread throughout September, October and November 2018.

The victor of each of the four groups will be drawn to face each other in a Euro 2020 play-off.

In addition, the UEFA Nations League will provide teams with another chance to qualify for the UEFA EURO final tournament, with four sides qualifying through play-off matches which take place in March 2020.

Play-offs in four separate one-off mini-tournaments will find the four final participants in the competition. However, if a whole league does not have enough teams for a play-off, which is conceivable in League A, then the places will be filled by the best-ranked teams from the league below.

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Wales just missed out on League A, edged out by Netherlands, with Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland also in League B with them.

Teams will be split into four groups of three, and will play the other group teams twice each.

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

League D: Azerbaijan, FYR Macedonia, Belarus, Georgia, Armenia, Latvia, Faroe Islands, Luxembourg, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Liechtenstein, Malta, Andorra, Kosovo, San Marino and Gibraltar.

In a similar format, the four group winners will advance to the semi-finals. The winners of each group will be promoted to league above and the losers will be relegated. It concludes with the Final Four tournament in the summer of 2019.

The Uefa Nations League group stage will be played across three global breaks between September and November 2018.

The qualification for Euro 2020 will now now run from March to November 2019, with Dublin hosting the Group draw on 2 December 2018.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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