2020/21 UEFA Nations League: all you need to know
Thursday, December 3, 2020
Draw and match dates, who's playing who, how it works, 2022 World Cup qualifying.
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What is it?
The second edition of UEFA's newest national-team competition. Portugal clinched the first title on home turf in 2019, the culmination of a tournament that drew praise from across the continent. The 2020/21 edition is looking to build on that success, with a couple of tweaks this time around.
What are the dates?
Though the football started on 3 September 2020, the draw took place on Tuesday 3 March in Amsterdam. The League Phase finished in November 2020, with the finals and relegation play-outs to follow.
The winners of the four League A groups – Belgium, France, Italy and Spain – have reached the finals, which are set to take place in October 2021.
Who played who?
The 55 associations were split into four Leagues (1–16 in League A, 17–32 in League B, 33-48 in League C, 49–55 in League D) according to their position in the 2020/21 UEFA Nations League Access List, which was based on the final rankings of teams in the 2018/19 UEFA Nations League after taking into account promotion and relegation. Within each League, teams were subdivided into two pots (League D) or four (for Leagues A, B and C), again according to the access list. The pots can be found here.
Group 1: Netherlands, Italy, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Poland
Group 2: England, Belgium, Denmark, Iceland
Group 3: Portugal, France, Sweden, Croatia
Group 4: Switzerland, Spain, Ukraine, Germany
Group 1: Austria, Norway, Northern Ireland, Romania
Group 2: Czech Republic, Scotland, Slovakia, Israel
Group 3: Russia, Serbia, Turkey, Hungary
Group 4: Wales, Finland, Republic of Ireland, Bulgaria
Group 1: Montenegro, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Azerbaijan
Group 2: Georgia, North Macedonia, Estonia, Armenia
Group 3: Greece, Kosovo, Slovenia, Moldova
Group 4: Albania, Belarus, Lithuania, Kazakhstan
Group 1: Faroe Islands, Latvia, Andorra, Malta
Group 2: Gibraltar, Liechtenstein, San Marino
When did the matches take place?
The group stage matches of the 2020/21 UEFA Nations League were played on the following dates: 3/4/5 and 6/7/8 September; 10/11 and 13/14 October; 14/15 and 17/18 November 2020.
The full list of fixtures and results is available here.
How did the Leagues work?
Teams played each other home and away, with the four group winners of League A qualifying for the UEFA Nations League finals, which feature semi-finals, a third-place match and the final. The group winners in Leagues B, C and D gained promotion and those who finished bottom of the groups in Leagues A and B were relegated.
As League C has four groups while League D has only two, the two League C teams to be relegated will be determined by two-leg play-outs.
If a team due to participate in the play-outs qualifies for the 2022 FIFA World Cup play-offs (more on that below), the League C teams ranked 47th and 48th in the overall UEFA Nations League rankings are automatically relegated.
When are the finals?
The dates for the 2020/21 UEFA Nations League final tournament were confirmed at a meeting of the UEFA Executive Committee in September 2020. The semi-finals will be played in Milan and Turin on 6 and 7 October 2021, with the final and third-place play-off to follow on 10 October.
The four finals games will take place at two of Italy's most famous venues, the Giuseppe Meazza Stadium in Milan and Turin's Juventus Stadium.
How does 2022 World Cup qualifying fit into this?
World Cup qualifying initially remains largely the same, with ten group winners advancing directly to the finals in Qatar. The format of the play-offs has evolved, though, and will now consist of two knockout rounds from which three teams qualify. It will involve the ten group runners-up plus the best two UEFA Nations League group winners (based on their overall UEFA Nations League rankings) who did not directly qualify or reach the play-offs.
Note: The format of the World Cup qualifying competition is subject to final ratification by FIFA.