How the UEFA Nations League could line up

The UEFA Nations League kicks off in 2018, with UEFA's 55 member associations split into four leagues – but who will be in which? Here's how it currently stands.

Wales have shot up into League A
Wales have shot up into League A ©AFP/Getty Images

The UEFA Nations League kicks off in September 2018, with UEFA's 55 member associations split into four leagues – but who will be in which?

Who goes into which league?

  • The 55 participating teams are split for the competition's inaugural edition into four leagues, A–B–C–D, according to their position in the UEFA National Team Coefficient Rankings following the end of the European Qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup (as per 11 October 2017, play-off results will not be included).
  • League A will include the 12 top-ranked teams. The next 12 teams will be in League B, the next 15 in League C and the remaining 16 in League D.
  • Leagues A and B will consist of four groups of three teams.
  • League C will comprise one group of three teams and three groups of four sides.
  • League D will be formed by four groups of four teams.
  • All draw procedures to be confirmed.
  • After the initial edition begins there will be promotion and relegation between the leagues, and the ongoing UEFA Nations League rankings will determine seedings for all future European Qualifiers.

How would the leagues look if they were decided today?

The latest Interim National Team Coefficient Rankings were published after the most recent European Qualifiers on 5 September 2017 (not to be confused with the separate FIFA rankings). If the leagues were decided by these rankings today, here is how they would look ...

LEAGUE A (teams to be split into four groups of three)
Germany, Portugal, Belgium, Spain, Switzerland, France, England, Italy, Poland, Croatia, Iceland, Wales

LEAGUE B (teams to be split into four groups of three)
Russia, Northern Ireland, Slovakia, Sweden, Netherlands, Ukraine, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Austria, Turkey, Republic of Ireland, Denmark, Hungary

LEAGUE C (teams to be split into one group of three, and three groups of four)
Slovenia, Albania, Montenegro, Serbia, Scotland, Czech Republic, Romania, Greece, Bulgaria, Israel, Norway, Cyprus, Finland, Estonia, Azerbaijan

LEAGUE D (teams to be split into four groups of four)
Lithuania, Belarus, Georgia, Armenia, FYR Macedonia, Faroe Islands, Luxembourg, Latvia, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein, Andorra, Malta, Kosovo, San Marino, Gibraltar

These leagues are provisional, and the line-ups will only be confirmed after the European Qualifying groups end in October. There is still opportunity next month for teams to move up and down the categories.

However, as things stand ...

  • Belgium, Switzerland, Poland, Croatia, Iceland and Wales would all have a chance of a first major national-team title competing in League A, with the winners emerging from a final-four tournament between the group victors in June 2019. In September's qualifiers Wales moved up ten spots from provisional League B! 
  • Former European champions the Netherlands and Denmark, and 2018 World Cup hosts Russia, are among those currently set for League B.
  • UEFA EURO 2016 qualifiers the Czech Republic, Romania and Albania, and former European champions Greece, could be in a competitive-looking League C.
  • One side from League D would be assured of a place at UEFA EURO 2020 via play-offs that March; of those, only Latvia have previously made a major final tournament (UEFA EURO 2004).

Note that Russia and Ukraine can be in the same League, but would not be drawn into the same group. The same applies to Armenia and Azerbaijan if the current UEFA Executive Committee decisions still apply when the draw is made.