England have been drawn against Spain and Croatia in their maiden UEFA Nations League group campaign, which begins this September.
The Three Lions, whose ranking meant they were in League A, will meet familiar European foes in this new competition which has been launched in a bid to ditch meaningless international friendlies.
Wales and Republic of Ireland were paired together in a mouthwatering Group B4, meaning former Manchester United team-mates Ryan Giggs and Roy Keane will come up against each other.
England manager Gareth Southgate arrives for the UEFA Nations League draw on Wednesday
England were drawn against Spain and Croatia in maiden their UEFA Nations League group
Former Chelsea and Barcelona star Deco pulled England’s name out the pot in Switzerland
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Republic of Ireland
Group One also sees world champions Germany meet France and Holland, while Euro 2016 winners Portugal face Italy and Poland in Group Three.
New Wales manager Giggs was in Lausanne for the draw and saw his team, who were in the pot for top seeds, drawn out against the Republic of Ireland and Denmark in Group Four of League B.
Northern Ireland are in Group B3, and will play Austria and Bosnia-Herzegovina while Scotland, in League Three, will face Israel and Albania.
Scotland, who are still without a new manager, were one of the top seeds in League C, and were drawn into a three-team Group One. The first round of matches for the 2018/2019 season will start in September.
Giggs’ new side were draw in Group B4 with the Republic of Ireland and Denmark
UEFA NATIONS LEAGUE GUIDE
- The UEFA Nations League has been introduced in an effort to reduce the number of meaningless friendlies in the international calendar
- The 55 UEFA member nations have been divided into four ‘Leagues’ based on their UEFA coefficient ranking
- England are in League A, which is the top league; Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are in League B; Scotland are in League C
- Each ‘League’ is sub-divided into three or four groups of either three or four nations. Each nation will play each other home and away in September, October and November 2018
- The winners of each group advance to the finals in June 2019
- There is also promotion and relegation between the ‘Leagues’
- The Nations League is also connected to qualifying for Euro 2020
- Four Euro 2020 places will be decided through play-offs with the teams coming from the Nations League group winners
- CLICK HERE FOR OUR FULL GUIDE TO THE UEFA NATIONS LEAGUE
The competition’s format will see four leagues of A, B, C and D, split into four groups of three or four teams, which will replace the majority of friendlies.
The Nations League, which has promotion and relegation, is designed to allow teams to play against those who are similarly ranked and will offer some who do not qualify for Euro 2020 via the normal route a path to the play-offs.
The Nations League competition will see semi-finals, the final and a third-placed game, held between June 5-9, 2019.
UEFA are replacing meaningless international friendlies with their new Nations League
Scotland were drawn by Jari Litmanen to play Albania and Israel in Group One of League C
The 16 Nations League group winners will go into play-offs for Euro 2020, to be played in March 2020. If they have already qualified for the European Championship the next best-ranked team in their league will take their place in the play-offs.
Each league has a path of its own, and will consist of two single leg semi-finals and a one-off final. The winner of each path qualifies for Euro 2020.
At the end of the group stages of the Nations League, those who finish bottom of the groups will be relegated to the league below and four teams will be promoted to the league above.
The Three Lions and their European rivals will compete for this UEFA Nations League trophy
NATIONS LEAGUE KEY DATES
Matchday 1: 6–8 September 2018
Matchday 2: 9–11 September 2018
Matchday 3: 11–13 October 2018
Matchday 4: 14–16 October 2018
Matchday 5: 15–17 November 2018
Matchday 6: 18–20 November 2018
Finals draw: early December 2018
Finals (including semi-finals and third-placed game): 5–9 June 2019
UEFA EURO 2020 play-off draw: 22 November 2019
UEFA EURO 2020 play-offs: 26–31 March 2020