France vs Italy and Netherlands vs Germany are among the stand-out ties in the latest edition of the UEFA Nations League.
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Italy vs France and Germany vs Netherlands are among the pick of the ties to look out for in the 2024/25 UEFA Nations League league phase.
UEFA.com picks out the most eye-catching fixtures following the draw on 8 February.
Group A2: France vs Italy, Friday 6 September
The 2022 FIFA World Cup runners-up take on the UEFA EURO 2020 winners when France welcome Italy on Matchday 1. Les Bleus have triumphed in the last three meetings between the sides but the Azzurri won the teams' most recent competitive encounter, easing to a 2-0 victory in the EURO 2008 group stage thanks to goals from Andrea Pirlo and Daniele De Rossi.
While France coach Didier Deschamps is approaching 12 years in charge of the national team, his opposite number Luciano Spalletti only took the reins from Roberto Mancini last September. Spalletti's charges managed to see off the challenge of Ukraine to book their place at EURO 2024 as Group C runners-up, but they will have their work cut out against a French outfit eager to regain trophy they lifted in Milan in 2021. "The draw is a tough one," Spalletti said. "It's a continuation of our need to be ready for the tough challenge that lies ahead."
Group A3: Netherlands vs Germany, Tuesday 10 September
These two great rivals lock horns in the UEFA Nations League league phase for the second time, having been paired together in the inaugural 2018/19 edition. The Netherlands triumphed 3-0 at the Johan Cruijff ArenA before a pulsating 2-2 draw in Gelsenkirchen – one of several high-scoring affairs between the teams in recent years.
A last-gasp Nico Schulz winner earned Die Mannschaft all three points in a EURO 2020 qualifier in Amsterdam four months later, but Ronald Koeman's charges made amends in the return fixture in Hamburg, hitting four second-half goals in an eye-catching 4-2 victory. "People will think Germany and the Netherlands are the stronger teams, but then we should go ahead and show that as well," Koeman said ahead of the teams' latest tussle. "We have a good group with Germany, Hungary and Bosnia and Herzegovina."
Group B2: Republic of Ireland vs England, Saturday 7 September
England and the Republic of Ireland face each other in a competitive fixture for the first time since the EURO 1992 qualifying campaign. Aside from the Three Lions' 3-0 friendly victory in November 2020, recent encounters between the two nations have tended to be tight affairs – neither team had scored more than once in the seven meetings prior to England's triumph at Wembley Stadium over three years ago, while seven of the last 14 matches have ended 1-1.
Having finished bottom of Group A3 in 2022, Gareth Southgate's team will be eager to secure an immediate return to the competition's top tier – and victory against their rivals on Matchday 1 would be a positive boost as they look to realise that target. "Obviously, our objective will be to try and win the group to get back up into League A," Southgate confirmed. "There are some teams we haven't played in a while. There are going to be some difficult games for us."
Worth looking out for
- European football's renewed kids on the block face the intriguing prospect of pitting their wits against a few stars who have been round the block several times over as Scotland prepare to face Luka Modrić, Cristiano Ronaldo and Robert Lewandoswki in Group A1. "We expected difficult opponents and that's what we got," said coach Steve Clarke. First up Poland on 5 September.
- Wales and Türkiye play each other once again in Group B4 on 6 September. Rob Page's side triumphed in a crucial group match in Baku at EURO 2020 but The Crescent-Stars took four points off their EURO 2024 qualifying Group D opponents to book their place in Germany, condemning Page's charges to the play-offs.
- Denmark and Spain have been among Europe's elite for a few years now but somehow their paths have not crossed since August 2008. Spain have won 12 of their 16 meetings, but 2024 Denmark are a very different beast – they twice defeated France in the last Nations League. Their A4 meeting on 12 October will be fascinating.
2024/25 Nations League dates
Matchday 1: 5–7 September 2024
Matchday 2: 8–10 September 2024
Matchday 3: 10–12 October 2024
Matchday 4: 13–15 October 2024
Matchday 5: 14–16 November 2024
Matchday 6: 17–19 November 2024
Knockout round play-off draw: November 2024
Knockout round play-offs: 20–25 March 2025
League A quarter-finals: 20–25 March 2025
Final tournament: 4–8 June 2025