UEFA Nations League

The UEFA Nations League is a biennial international football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the member associations of UEFA, the sport's European governing body.[1]

The first tournament began in September 2018, following the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The four group winners from League A will qualify for the finals, to be played in Portugal in June 2019. Four nations, one from each League, will also qualify for the UEFA Euro 2020 finals.

The competition largely replaces the international friendly matches previously played on the FIFA International Match Calendar.[2]

UEFA Nations League
UEFA Nations League
RegionEurope (UEFA)
Number of teams55
Qualifier forUEFA European Championship
Television broadcastersList of broadcasters
WebsiteOfficial website
2018–19 UEFA Nations League


In October 2013, Norwegian Football Association President Yngve Hallén confirmed that talks had been held to create a third full national-team international tournament for UEFA members [3] in addition to the FIFA World Cup and UEFA European Championship.

The concept of the UEFA Nations League would see all 55 of UEFA's member associations' national teams divided into a series of groups based upon a ranking formulated using their recent results, where they would be promoted and relegated to other groups according to their results within the group.[4] The proposed tournament would take place on dates on the International match calendar that are currently allocated for international friendlies and would not affect the FIFA World Cup or UEFA European Championship.[5]

In March 2014, UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino stated that one of the benefits of the proposal would be to help less glamorous national associations arrange games.[5]

Royal Belgian Football Association's general secretary Steven Martens said that lower ranked nations would still benefit financially from the competition, as the television contract with UEFA would be centralised.[6] The UEFA Nations League was unanimously adopted by the 54 UEFA member associations (Kosovo was not a member at this time) at the XXXVIII Ordinary UEFA Congress in Astana on 27 March 2014.[1]


According to the approved format (prior to Kosovo becoming a UEFA member),[1][7][8] the now 55 UEFA national teams (including Kosovo) are divided into four divisions (called "Leagues"):[9][10] 12 teams in League A, 12 teams in League B, 15 teams in League C, and 16 teams in League D. In each league, four groups are formed (three or four teams in each group) and teams play each other both home and away.

In the top league, League A, the winners of the four groups go on to play in the Nations League Finals, with two semi finals, one third and fourth place decider, and one final to decide which team becomes the UEFA Nations League champion.

Teams can also be promoted and relegated to a higher or lower league. Each group winner (there are four groups in each league) except for League A, who will go on to play in the Nations League Finals, is automatically promoted to the next higher league for the next tournament. Each team placing last in its group, except for League D is automatically relegated to the next lower league; however, in League C, due to different sized groups, the three fourth-placed teams and the lowest-ranking third-placed team are relegated..

UEFA European Championship link

The UEFA Nations League is linked with the UEFA European Championship qualifying, providing teams another chance to qualify for the UEFA European Championship.

There will be play-offs for each of Leagues A, B, C and D in March 2020. Each group winner earns a spot in the semi-finals. If the group winner is already one of the twenty qualified teams, rankings will be used to give the play-off spot to another team of that league. If fewer than four teams in the entire league remain unqualified, play-off spots for that league are given to teams of the next lower league. This determines the four remaining qualifying spots for the European Championship (out of 24 total).[9][10][11]

Possible FIFA World Cup link

The Nations League may also be linked with UEFA's future World Cup qualifications for the same purpose.[12]

Support and criticism

UEFA devised the tournament as a means to eliminate international friendlies – an aim that has been shared by many football clubs and supporters with the regular football season being interrupted with non-competitive international matches as part of the FIFA International Match Calendar.[13][14][15]

In February 2012, it was agreed between UEFA and the European Club Association (ECA) that the international friendly schedule would be reduced from 12 to 9 matches a year with the August round of international friendlies in the UEFA confederation abolished from 2015.[16] The aspiration to eliminate friendlies in favour of a more competitive tournament has been welcomed by many football commentators.[17][18]

Supporters more than most realise that most friendlies fail to deliver competitive and meaningful football. Now they will have the opportunity to see their teams play in more competitive matches, take part in a new competition and get a second chance to qualify for the major tournaments. There will certainly be fewer friendly internationals and undoubtedly fewer meaningless friendlies. However, there will still be space in the calendar for friendly internationals – particularly warm-up matches for final tournaments. UEFA is also keen that European teams will still have the chance to play opponents from other confederations.

— The Nations League was partly created out of UEFA's aspiration to eliminate "meaningless" international friendlies.[19]

However, the format has been criticised as allowing weaker teams to qualify through the Nations League to compete in the European Championship finals, instead of qualifying through the standard qualification process.[20]

In the United Kingdom there has been criticism that the tournament is being shown on Sky Sports, a subscription channel, and not available free-to-air.[21]


UEFA Nations League Cup
The UEFA Nations League trophy

The UEFA Nations League trophy was unveiled during the phase draw in Lausanne, Switzerland. The trophy represents all 55 UEFA National associations and is made of sterling silver. The trophy weighs 7.5 kg and is 71 cm tall; it will first be lifted in June 2019.[22]


The official anthem of the UEFA Nations League was recorded with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir, singing in Latin. It is a mix of classical and electronic music, and is played when the players are entering the field of play, in television sequences and for ceremonial purposes. The composers are Giorgio Tuinfort and Franck van der Heijden.[22][23]


Each season of the UEFA Nations League will be played from September to November of an even-numbered year (pool stage), and June of the following odd-numbered year (Nations League Finals of League A), meaning a UEFA Nations League champion will be crowned every two years.[9][10][11]

Results of Nations League Finals

Season Host Final Third place play-off
Winner Score Runner-up Third place Score Fourth place

Team performances by season

  • Rise Promoted
  • Same position No movement
  • Fall Relegated
  • Q – Qualified for upcoming UEFA Nations League Finals
  •    – Hosts of UEFA Nations League Finals
Team 2018–19 2020–21
 Albania C 34 Same position C
 Andorra D 53 Same position D
 Armenia D 45 Same position D
 Austria B 18 Same position B
 Azerbaijan D 46 Same position D
 Belarus D 43 Rise C
 Belgium A 5 Same position A
 Bosnia and Herzegovina B 13 Rise A
 Bulgaria C 29 Same position C
 Croatia A 9 Fall B
 Cyprus C 36 Fall D
 Czech Republic B 20 Same position B
 Denmark B 15 Rise A
 England A Q Same position A
 Estonia C 37 Fall D
 Faroe Islands D 50 Same position D
 Finland C 28 Rise B
 France A 6 Same position A
 Georgia D 40 Rise C
 Germany A 11 Fall B
 Gibraltar D 49 Same position D
 Greece C 33 Same position C
 Hungary C 31 Same position C
 Iceland A 12 Fall B
 Israel C 30 Same position C
 Italy A 8 Same position A
 Kazakhstan D 47 Same position D
 Kosovo D 42 Rise C
 Latvia D 51 Same position D
 Liechtenstein D 52 Same position D
 Lithuania C 39 Fall D
 Luxembourg D 44 Same position D
 North Macedonia D 41 Rise C
 Malta D 54 Same position D
 Moldova D 48 Same position D
 Montenegro C 35 Same position C
 Netherlands A Q Same position A
 Northern Ireland B 24 Fall C
 Norway C 26 Rise B
 Poland A 10 Fall B
 Portugal A Q Same position A
 Republic of Ireland B 23 Fall C
 Romania C 32 Same position C
 Russia B 17 Same position B
 San Marino D 55 Same position D
 Scotland C 25 Rise B
 Serbia C 27 Rise B
 Slovakia B 21 Fall C
 Slovenia C 38 Fall D
 Spain A 7 Same position A
 Sweden B 16 Rise A
  Switzerland A Q Same position A
 Turkey B 22 Fall C
 Ukraine B 14 Rise A
 Wales B 19 Same position B

See also


  1. ^ a b c "UEFA Nations League receives associations' green light". UEFA.com. 27 March 2014.
  2. ^ Rumsby, Ben (25 March 2014). "England ready to play in new Nations League as revolutionary UEFA plan earns unanimous backing". The Telegraph. The Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  3. ^ Hojem Kvam, Lars (9 October 2013). "Hva om Ronaldo, Özil, Balotelli og Pique møtes til ligaspill – med sine landslag?" (in Norwegian). dagbladet.no. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  4. ^ Gibson, Owen (10 October 2013). "Uefa explores internationals shake-up with Nations League plan". TheGuardian.com. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  5. ^ a b "Nations League: New European tournament to be confirmed". BBC Sport. 26 March 2014. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  6. ^ "Nations League moet nieuwe mijlpaal in Europese voetbal worden" (in Dutch). zita.be. 26 March 2014. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  7. ^ "UEFA Nations League: all you need to know". UEFA.com. 27 March 2014.
  8. ^ "UEFA Nations League/UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying" (PDF). UEFA.com.
  9. ^ a b c "UEFA Nations League format and schedule approved". UEFA.com. 4 December 2014.
  10. ^ a b c "UEFA Nations League format and schedule confirmed". UEFA.com. 4 December 2014.
  11. ^ a b "UEFA Nations League and European Qualifiers competition format, 2018–2020" (PDF). UEFA.com.
  12. ^ "UEFA's new 'League of Nations' – Do you understand it?". CNN. 27 March 2014. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  13. ^ Smith, Giles (2 March 2001). "Put an end to these meaningless friendlies". The Telegraph. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  14. ^ Lawton, James (20 February 2018). "Friendlies do not have to be as meaningless as this". The Independent.
  15. ^ "Do friendly matches really matter?". BBC Sport. 2 March 2006.
  16. ^ "Clubs and Uefa agree to reduce international matches". BBC Sport. 28 February 2012. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  17. ^ Liew, Jonathan (13 October 2017). "Abstract and absurd, Uefa's Nations League is anything but the Ctrl-Alt-Delete the international game needs".
  18. ^ "What is the Uefa Nations League – and will it be successful?". The Guardian. 23 January 2018.
  19. ^ "UEFA Nations League: all you need to know". UEFA. 20 August 2018.
  20. ^ Dunbar, Graham (24 March 2017). "As World Cup hope fades, Europeans turn to Nations League". USA Today. Associated Press. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
  21. ^ "England vs Spain: Millions miss out on watching Nations League match shown on pay-per-view Sky Sports". Independent. 9 September 2018. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
  22. ^ a b "UEFA Nations League trophy and music revealed". UEFA.com. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
  23. ^ UEFA.com. "What are the lyrics to the UEFA Nations League Anthem?". UEFA.com.

External links

2018–19 UEFA Nations League

The 2018–19 UEFA Nations League is the inaugural season of the UEFA Nations League, an international association football competition involving the men's national teams of the 55 member associations of UEFA. The competition, which is being held from September to November 2018 (league phase) and June 2019 (Nations League Finals), will also seed teams for the qualification process of UEFA Euro 2020, and will award berths in the play-offs which will decide four of the twenty-four final tournament slots.

2018–19 UEFA Nations League A

The 2018–19 UEFA Nations League A is the top division of the 2018–19 edition of the UEFA Nations League, the inaugural season of the international football competition involving the men's national teams of the 55 member associations of UEFA. League A will culminate with the Nations League Finals in June 2019 to crown the inaugural champions of the UEFA Nations League.

2018–19 UEFA Nations League B

The 2018–19 UEFA Nations League B was the second division of the 2018–19 edition of the UEFA Nations League, the inaugural season of the international football competition involving the men's national teams of the 55 member associations of UEFA.

2018–19 UEFA Nations League C

The 2018–19 UEFA Nations League C was the third division of the 2018–19 edition of the UEFA Nations League, the inaugural season of the international football competition involving the men's national teams of the 55 member associations of UEFA.

2018–19 UEFA Nations League D

The 2018–19 UEFA Nations League D was the fourth and lowest division of the 2018–19 edition of the UEFA Nations League, the inaugural season of the international football competition involving the men's national teams of the 55 member associations of UEFA.

2019 UEFA Nations League Finals

The 2019 UEFA Nations League Finals will be the final tournament of the 2018–19 edition of the UEFA Nations League, the inaugural season of the international football competition involving the men's national teams of the member associations of UEFA. The tournament will be held by Portugal from 5 to 9 June 2019, and will be contested by the four group winners of Nations League A. The tournament will consist of two semi-finals, a third place play-off, and the final to determine the inaugural champions of the UEFA Nations League.

2020–21 UEFA Nations League

The 2020–21 UEFA Nations League will be the second season of the UEFA Nations League, an international association football competition involving the men's national teams of the 55 member associations of UEFA. The competition will be held from September to November 2020 (league phase) and June 2021 (Nations League Finals).

Andorra national football team

The Andorra national football team (Catalan: Selecció de futbol d'Andorra) represents Andorra in association football and is controlled by the Andorran Football Federation, the governing body for football in Andorra. The team has enjoyed very little success due to the Principality's tiny population, the fifth smallest of any UEFA country (only Liechtenstein, San Marino, Gibraltar and the Faroe Islands are smaller).

Andorra's first official game was a 6–1 defeat in a friendly match to Estonia in 1996. Since the qualifying rounds for the UEFA Euro 2000 tournament, Andorra have competed in qualifying for every European Championship and World Cup but have had very little success. They have only ever won six matches, four of them at home. They have two wins in competitive matches, 1–0 wins against Macedonia in the 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifying competition and against Hungary in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying competition.

England national football team

The England men's national football team represents England in senior men's international football and is controlled by The Football Association, the governing body for football in England.England is one of the two oldest national teams in football, alongside Scotland, whom they played in the world's first international football match in 1872. England's home ground is Wembley Stadium, London, and their headquarters are at St George's Park, Burton upon Trent. The team's manager is Gareth Southgate. Although part of the United Kingdom, England's representative side plays in major professional tournaments, but not the Olympic Games.

Since first entering the tournament in 1950, England has qualified for the FIFA World Cup 15 times. They won the 1966 World Cup, when they hosted the finals, and finished fourth in 1990 and 2018. Since first entering in 1964, England have never won the UEFA European Championship, with their best performances being a third-place finish in 1968 and 1996, the latter as hosts.

Estádio D. Afonso Henriques

The Estádio D. Afonso Henriques (English: D. Afonso Henriques Stadium) is a football stadium in the city of Guimarães, Portugal.

The stadium is home of Guimarães's most successful team, Vitória de Guimarães, presently competing in the top-flight Portuguese Liga. The stadium was built in 1965 and was renovated and expanded in 2003 for the UEFA Euro 2004 tournament by architect Eduardo Guimarães. Estádio D. Afonso Henriques has a capacity of 30,000 and it is named after the first King of Portugal — and also a Guimarães native — Dom Afonso Henriques. It was formerly known as Estádio Municipal de Guimarães, and before that as the Estádio D. Afonso Henriques.

During Euro 2004, the stadium hosted two of the tournament's matches.

Estádio do Dragão

The Estádio do Dragão (Portuguese pronunciation: [(ɨ)ˈʃtaðju ðu ðɾɐˈɣɐ̃w]; Dragon Stadium) is an all-seater football stadium located in Porto, Portugal. It is the current home stadium of FC Porto with a capacity of 50,033, making it the third largest football stadium in Portugal.

Designed by Portuguese architect Manuel Salgado, the infrastructure was constructed to replace Porto's previous ground, the Estádio das Antas, along with becoming one of the host venues for the UEFA Euro 2004 tournament finals. The inauguration took place on 16 November 2003 with a friendly match against Barcelona, setting an attendance record of 52,000 spectators.A UEFA category four stadium, it has held several international club competition and national team matches, receiving some of the Euro 2004 matches, including the opening, as well as being selected to host the upcoming 2019 UEFA Nations League Final and 2020 UEFA Super Cup.

Janne Andersson

Jan Olof "Janne" Andersson (Swedish pronunciation: [²janːɛ ²anːdɛˌʂɔn]; born 29 September 1962), is a Swedish football coach and former player. He is manager of the Sweden national team.

Kosovo national football team

The Kosovo national football team (Albanian: Kombëtarja e futbollit e Kosovës, Serbian: Фудбалска репрезентација Косова/Fudbalska reprezentacija Kosova) represents Kosovo in international men's football. It is controlled by the Football Federation of Kosovo, the governing body for football in Kosovo.

Liechtenstein national football team

The Liechtenstein national football team (German: Liechtensteinische Fußballnationalmannschaft) is the national football team of the Principality of Liechtenstein and is controlled by the Liechtenstein Football Association. The organisation is known as the Liechtensteiner Fussballverband in German. The team's first match was an unofficial match against Malta in Seoul, a 1–1 draw in 1981. Their first official match came two years later, a 0–1 defeat from Switzerland. Liechtenstein's largest win, a 4–0 win over Luxembourg in a 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifier on 13 October 2004, was both its first ever away win and its first win in any FIFA World Cup qualifier. Liechtenstein suffered its biggest ever loss in 1996, during qualification for the 1998 FIFA World Cup, losing 1–11 to Macedonia, the result also being Macedonia's largest ever win to date.

Malta national football team

The Malta national football team (Maltese: Tim nazzjonali tal-futbol ta' Malta) represents Malta in international football and is controlled by the Malta Football Association, the governing body for football in Malta.

The first official game played by Malta was a 2–3 defeat in a friendly against Austria in 1957. Their competitive debut arrived five years later, playing against Denmark in the preliminary round of the 1964 European Nations' Cup. Since becoming a UEFA member in 1960 and a FIFA member in 1959, Malta have competed in every qualifier for the European Championship and World Cup, without ever making it to the finals of any major international competition.

Moldova national football team

The Moldova national football team (Romanian: Echipa națională de fotbal a Moldovei) represents Moldova in association football and is controlled by the Football Association of Moldova, the governing body for football in Moldova. Moldova's home ground is Zimbru Stadium in Chișinău and their head coach is Igor Dobrovolski. After the break-up of the Soviet Union, they played their first match against Georgia on 2 July 1991.

Two of their three best results in the 1990s years, came during the qualifiers for UEFA Euro 96, with wins over Georgia (1–0) in Tbilisi and Wales (3–2) in Chișinău. In 2007, Moldova obtained a very good result, defeating Hungary 3–0 in Chișinău in Euro 2008 qualifying. Their best recent result was a 5–2 win over Montenegro during 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying. The team has never qualified for the final stages of the UEFA European Championship nor the FIFA World Cup as of present time.

Following Moldova's 4–0 defeat to England in September 1997, British writer and comedian Tony Hawks travelled to Moldova to challenge and beat all 11 Moldovan international footballers at tennis. The feature film version of the book of the same name, Playing the Moldovans at Tennis, was filmed in and around Chișinău in May and June 2010 and was released in the spring of 2012.

UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying

The UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying tournament is a football competition that is being played from March 2019 to March 2020 to determine the 24 UEFA member men's national teams that will advance to the UEFA Euro 2020 final tournament. The competition is linked with the 2018–19 edition of the UEFA Nations League, giving countries a secondary route to qualify for the final tournament. For the first time since 1976, no team will automatically qualify for the UEFA European Championship as the host country.There are 55 national teams participating in the qualifying process, with Kosovo taking part for the first time. The draw took place at the Convention Centre Dublin, Republic of Ireland, on 2 December 2018.

UEFA European Qualifiers broadcasting rights

List of broadcasters of the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying and European section of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers (branded as "European Qualifiers" by UEFA), UEFA Nations League and several friendly matches organized by UEFA.

UEFA competitions

UEFA competitions, also referred to by the mass media as European football, are the competitions organised by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), generally in professional and amateur association football and futsal. The term was established by the Confederation to differentiate the tournaments under its administration from other international competitions held in Europe between 1960 and 1990, such as the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, Karl Rappan Cup, Cup of the Alps, Balkans Cup and Mitropa Cup (as well as some which had already been discontinued by 1960 such as the Latin Cup), tournaments still not recognised by the organization. The Confederation is the only organization with legal authority over these tournaments and considers only results in these competitions in calculating and communicating confederation-level official records and statistics and setting combined values in inter-club football.The only team to have won every club competition is Juventus of Italy, while the Italian, German, Spanish, French and Russian men's national teams are only ones to have won the European football championship in all age categories prior to the start of the UEFA Nations League in 2018. The Germany women's national football team is the only team to have won the women's championship in all age categories.

UEFA Nations League
League A Finals
International association football
North America,
Central America
and the Caribbean
South America

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