Football Features

Uefa Nations League 2020/21 draw: England to play Belgium in Group A2

By Steve Jennings

Published: 17:50, 3 March 2020

The draw for the 2020/21 Uefa Nations League has been made in Amsterdam ahead of another exciting campaign of European international football.

The inaugural Nations League campaign was won by Portugal, who triumphed in the final against the Netherlands in the summer of 2019.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Co. will now look to defend their title in the 2020/21 campaign, which will see a number of changes to the competition format.

There are some standout draws, with England facing Belgium in Group A2 and Wales going head-t0-head with the Republic of Ireland in League B.

A total of 55 nations will compete this time around, with group matches scheduled between September and November this year and the finals set to take place next summer.

Below you can check out the official groups and details concerning how the draw was made, when the fixtures will take place and how it all affects qualification for the 2022 World Cup.

The 2020/21 Uefa Nations League draw:

League A

Group A1: Poland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy, Netherlands

Group A2: Iceland, Denmark, Belgium, England

Group A3: Croatia, Sweden, France, Portugal

Group A4: Germany, Ukraine, Spain, Switzerland

League B

Group B1: Romania, Northern Ireland, Norway, Austria

Group B2: Israel, Slovakia, Scotland, Czech Republic

Group B3: Hungary, Turkey, Serbia, Russia

Group B4: Bulgaria, Republic of Ireland, Finland, Wales

League C

Group C1: Azerbaijan, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Montenegro

Group C2: Armenia, Estonia, North Macedonia, Georgia

Group C3: Moldova, Slovenia, Kosovo, Greece

Group C4: Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Belarus, Albania

League D

Group D1: Faroe Islands, Latvia, Andorra, Malta

Group D2: Gibraltar, Liechtenstein, San Marino

What’s new about the 2020/21 Nations League? Five things to know…

  • There are still four divisions – League A, League B, League C and League D – but there are now four teams in each group in the top three divisions, rather than three teams like last year.
  • Leagues A, B and C each contain four groups of four. There are just seven teams in League D – four in one group and three in the other.
  • Because League D only has two groups, there will be play-offs – or “play-outs” – to decide which League C teams are relegated.
  • Four teams were able to qualify for Euro 2020 through the 2018/19 Nations League, but no sides will automatically qualify for the 2022 World Cup through the 2020/21 Nations League.
  • However, two of the 12 World Cup play-off spots are up for grabs through the Nations League.

How were teams seeded for the Nations League draw?

The group stage pots were determined by where each nation finished in the 2018/19 Nations League. For example, the four previous semi-finalists – Portugal, Netherlands, England and Switzerland – were placed in League A, Pot 1.

The seven worst performers in the previous campaign – Gibraltar, Faroe Islands, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Andorra, Malta and San Marino – were placed in the League D pots.

How do promotion and relegation work?

The many changes to the format of the competition mean none of the sides who were “relegated” in the 2018/19 Nations League were actually relegated. This time, however, teams can be relegated.

The team that finishes bottom in League A will be relegated to League B. The team that finishes bottom in League B will be relegated to League C.

In League C only, the fourth-placed team in each of the four groups will compete in relegation “play-outs” next March. The 4th ranked fourth-placed team will play the 1st ranked fourth-placed team, and the 3rd ranked fourth-placed team will play the 2nd ranked fourth-placed team.

As for promotion, the team that finishes top of each group will be promoted to the next league up. For example, if Northern Ireland win Group B1, they will be promoted to League A.

The winner of each group in League A will go through to the 2020/21 Nations League finals.

Subscribe to Squawka’s Youtube channel here.

When will the games take place?

Group stage:
Matchday 1: 3-5 September 2020
Matchday 2: 6-8 September 2020
Matchday 3: 8-10 October 2020
Matchday 4: 11-13 October 2020
Matchday 5: 12-14 November 2020
Matchday 6: 15-17 November 2020

Finals:
Semi-finals: 2-3 June 2021
Third place play-off: 6 June 2021
Final: 6 June 2021

Group C relegation play-outs: 24-29 March 2022

Can teams qualify for the 2022 World Cup through the 2020/21 Nations League?

Teams can’t automatically qualify for the 2022 World Cup by performing well in the Nations League. However, two Nations League teams will have the chance to qualify for the World Cup via the play-offs.

There are 10 groups in the 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign. The winner of each group qualifies for the World Cup automatically. Then, the play-offs are made up of the 10 runners-up, plus two Nations League group winners. These two teams are based on the Nations League overall ranking. They will be teams that have not yet qualified or secured a World Cup qualification play-off spot.