UEFA Nations League – What is it? How does it work?

UEFA’s latest competition is underway and whilst it is just getting started the format does leave a lot of individuals confused.

All 55 UEFA nations have been split into 4 tiers (Leagues A-D)

Each league has league has 4 groups and for some there is the hope of Euro 2020 qualification.

The sides in each group will play home and away in a 10-week period between September and November 2018 , with the team finishing top of each section being promoted to a higher tier and the nation finishing bottom dropping down one.

Still with us?

In a final flourish, the four nations who win the groups in the top tier (League A) will advance to a knockout finals next June to decide the Nations League winner. So there will be some silverware on offer for those superior nations.

With the winner of the Nations League decided, what about this Euro 2020 qualification hope? This is where it all becomes REALLY confusing!

The traditional qualifying groups for Euro 2020 will still go ahead, finish in the top 2 in your group and you’re in the finals. Boom, nice and simple.

However with 10 groups x 2 qualification places that would leave Euro 2020 four nations short.

Back we go to the Nations League…

The four group winners in each tier will then play-off in March for a first crack at claiming one of those four vacant spots.

However, should a nation already have qualified, their place will go to the next highest-ranked team from their Nations League tier. To confuse things further, that will not necessarily be the runners-up in their group.


If we haven’t explained it properly or your head is extremely sore we’ve included the links for the official videos below:-

The official line from UEFA is “different, not complex”

Not sure we agree, but it will certainly be fun trying to work out what’s going on as this competition progresses.

Qualification image sourced from; www.goal.com

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