The upcoming edition of the UEFA Nations League could see some of the home nations drawn together, with England having dropped from League A to League B last time out
England suffered relegation from their UEFA Nations League group in 2023, and Gareth Southgate’s team are among those preparing to discover who they will face in the next edition of the tournament.
The 2022-23 edition was a mixed one for the home nations. England failed to win a single game in a group containing Italy, Hungary and Germany, while Wales suffered the same fate against Holland, Belgium and Poland to also drop down to League B. Scotland moved in the opposite direction after topping their group, though, while Northern Ireland stayed put in League C.
Spain claimed overall glory, beating Croatia on penalties in the final. Other national teams managed to secure Euro 2024 play-off spots thanks to their Nations League position, and could yet turn this into a place in Germany come the summer.
There are only two months between the Euros final and the next Nations League campaign, which kicks off in September. Here, Mirror Football has all the details around the draw… and what it might mean for World Cup qualification chances.
When is the draw?
The draw for the 2024-25 UEFA Nations League will take place in Paris on February 8, 2024. It gets underway at 6pm local time, which is 5pm in the UK.
Teams are split into four leagues, ranked between A (the highest) and D (the lowest). The four teams who win their groups in League A will then compete for the overall title, with semi-finals and a final held in 2025.
How can people watch it?
Those wishing to watch the draw live will be able to do so on UEFA’s official website. The lowest-ranked league, League D, will be drawn first, and League A will be drawn last.
Who are you hoping your team draws in the Nations League? Have your say in the comments section
Which teams are involved?
There are 54 European teams in the European confederation, all of whom are part of the draw. Germany weren’t part of the Euro 2024 qualifying draw due to their status as hosts, but they will be part of the Nations League competition, with the groups as follows:
Pot 1: Spain, Croatia, Italy, Netherlands
Pot 2: Denmark, Portugal, Belgium, Hungary
Pot 3: Switzerland, Germany, Poland, France
Pot 4: Israel, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Scotland
Pot 1: Austria, Czechia, England, Wales
Pot 2: Finland, Ukraine, Iceland, Norway
Pot 3: Slovenia, Republic of Ireland, Albania, Montenegro
Pot 4: Georgia, Greece, Türkiye, Kazakhstan
Pot 1: Romania, Sweden, Armenia, Luxembourg
Pot 2: Azerbaijan, Kosovo, Bulgaria, Faroe Islands
Pot 3: North Macedonia, Slovakia, Northern Ireland, Cyprus
Pot 4: Belarus, Lithuania/Gibraltar*, Estonia, Latvia
Pot 1: Lithuania/Gibraltar*, Moldova
Pot 2: Malta, Andorra, San Marino, Liechtenstein
*Lithuania and Gibraltar are due to take part in a relegation play-off to determine who stays in League C and who drops down to League D. These will take place in March.
Can the home nations play each-other?
England and Wales are in League B, while Scotland and Northern Ireland are in Leagues A and C respectively, which means only England and Wales might be able to face one another in the groups. However, both teams are in pot 1 for the draw, which means they’ll be separated.
England or Wales could still be drawn against the Republic of Ireland, who are in a separate pot in League B. Scotland and the Republic of Ireland were drawn in the same group for the 2022-23 edition, trading wins in their group stage.
The 2024-25 edition has also introduced play-offs for promotion and relegation. This means, in theory, Scotland could face one of England and Wales in a play-off if they finish third in their group and one of England and Wales finishes second in theirs.
What does it mean for the 2026 World Cup?
The expanded 48-team World Cup in 2026 will feature 16 teams from Europe. Twelve of these spots will go to the winners of 12 qualifying groups, while the runners-up from those groups will get a second chance in a play-off round.
Those 12 runners-up will be joined in the play-off round by four more teams who finish outside the top two in their group, all of whom will earn a spot on the basis of their Nations League performances That means a strong showing in the Nations League could end up giving a team a path to the tournament in the United States, Mexico and Canada.
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