UEFA Nations League composition announced

Martin ONeill

UEFA has confirmed the composition of the four leagues for the inaugural UEFA Nations League 2018-19, with the Republic of Ireland in League B alongside Northern Ireland and Wales.

The tournament, which features all 55 Uefa members, will largely replace global friendlies during the qualification period for the European Championship in 2020.

Italy's runners-up finish in their 2018 World Cup qualifying group ensured they were ranked among UEFA's 12 best national teams, subsequently securing the Azzurri a berth in League A of the new tournament.

Uefa say that the new global league "creates more meaningful and competitive matches for teams and..." League B contains the next 12 teams, League C the 15 following and League D the last 16 teams.

The leagues today have been announced, with Ireland in League 2, alongside Austria, Wales, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Ukraine, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Northern Ireland, Denmark, Czech Republic and Turkey.

Germany, Portugal, Belgium and Spain are the top seeds and can not play each other, with France, England, Switzerland and Italy in pot 2.

The draw of the League of Nations on 24 January 2018 in Lausanne.

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Teams will be split into four groups of three.

The four bottom teams in their respective groups will be relegated to League B for the 2020 edition.

The third division will consist of teams from 25th to 39th positions. The competition starts on 6 September 2018.

The top four-ranked teams that do not qualify for Euro 2020 will contest a play-off in March 2020, with one finals place on offer.

League C: Hungary, Romania, Scotland, Slovenia, Greece, Serbia, Albania, Norway, Montenegro, Israel, Bulgaria, Finland, Cyprus, Estonia and Lithuania.

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 (final four competition of League A).

The first tournament of the UEFA Nations League will kick off in September next year, after the World Cup, and the victor will be known in June 2019. Thus, the UEFA Nations League champion will be crowned every two years.

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