February 24, 2024

Nations League draw: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales discover the fate of the group

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The European Nations League is preparing again for Wales coach Rob Page, England coach Gareth Southgate, Scotland coach Steve Clarke, and Northern Ireland coach Michael O'Neill.

England have been drawn against the Republic of Ireland, Finland and Greece in Group B of the 2024-25 Men's UEFA Nations League.

Scotland, which is in the first league groups, will face Croatia, Poland and Portugal.

Wales were placed in the same group in League Two as Iceland, Montenegro and Turkey.

Northern Ireland plays Belarus, Bulgaria and Luxembourg in Group C of the league.

Leagues A, B and C each consist of four groups of four teams, while League D has two groups of three teams.

England, which was relegated to League Two after occupying last place in Group A3 in the previous edition of the European Nations League, last faced the Republic of Ireland in an official match in 1991 when they tied 1-1 in the qualifiers for the European Championship 92.

A friendly match at Lansdowne Road in 1995 was canceled due to massive crowd unrest, while the last meeting between the two sides was a friendly in 2020 which England won 3-0.

England coach Gareth Southgate said: “There are some teams that we have not played for a while. There will be some difficult matches for us.”

“I think everyone in England will think the relegation to League Two was a huge disappointment, but you still have tough games ahead of you.

“Obviously our goal will be to try to top the group to get back to League One.”

Will Southgate take charge of the UEFA Nations League matches?

Southgate will lead England in the UEFA Euro 2024 in Germany this summer, and says his future may depend on his team's performance in the tournament before the start of the Nations League in September.

“There is a high probability that half the coaches will not be here after the European Championship,” said the 53-year-old, whose contract runs until December. “This is international football.”

“You have to see how the summer goes. It's that simple. I know what we can achieve in the summer, I know what my criteria for success is, and after that I don't really think about anything else.

“We have to perform well and you have to make the best decisions for everyone. I will not be in a position to make that decision before the tournament.”

It's a tough game – Scotland coach Clarke

Scotland won Group B1 last time out to advance to League A for the first time.

“It's a tough game,” Scotland coach Steve Clarke said of his team's group.

“We were expecting tough opponents. That's what we have but that's what we wanted.

“I'm always a big believer that if you want to improve you have to play against the best teams. We have good opponents and I'm looking forward to the matches.”

Wales were in the top flight last time out but finished bottom of Group A4 with one point from six matches.

Turkey ranked first in the group, while Wales ranked third and will face Finland in the play-off semi-finals next March, as it attempts to qualify for that tournament in Germany.

“It's a positive group, and we're very happy with it,” Wales coach Rob Page said about the UEFA Nations League draw.

“We know more about Turkey after facing them recently. Regarding other teams, we will have to do more research.

“We are very confident.”

The Republic of Ireland have remained in League B since the start of the competition and Northern Ireland are in League C again.

“It's an open, competitive group,” Northern Ireland coach Michael O'Neill said.

“We have a very young squad at the moment and I think this will give them a chance to win games and give them more experience and help us develop the team further, especially with the World Cup qualifiers which is the next big tournament to deal with.”

Each team in Leagues A, B and C will play two group stage matches in September, two in October and two in November 2024.

The A-League quarter-finals and promotion and relegation matches will be held in March 2025, before a single-match semi-final and final in June 2025.

Spain won the title after defeating Croatia on penalties last June.

UEFA Nations League 2024-25 groups

Group A1: Croatia, Portugal, Poland, Scotland

Group A2: Italy, Belgium, France, Israel

Group A3: Netherlands, Hungary, Germany, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Group A4: Spain, Denmark, Switzerland, Serbia

Group B1: Czech Republic, Ukraine, Albania, Georgia

Group Two: England, finland, republic of ireland, Greece

Group B3: Austria, Norway, Slovenia, Kazakhstan

Group B4: Wales, Iceland, Montenegro, Türkiye

Group C1: Sweden, Azerbaijan, Slovakia, Estonia

Group C2: Romania, Kosovo, Cyprus, Lithuania/Gibraltar*

Group C3: Luxembourg, Bulgaria, northern Ireland, Belarus

Group C4: Armenia, Faroe Islands, North Macedonia, Latvia

*Gibraltar and Lithuania face off in a play-off, effectively a relegation play-off to see who finishes in Leagues C and D, in March 2024.

Group D1: Lithuania/Gibraltar, San Marino, Liechtenstein

Group D2: Moldova, Malta, Andorra

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