What is the UEFA Nations League? Finals, fixtures, results & how it works

The inaugural UEFA Nations League was won by Portugal, who defeated the Netherlands in the finals in June. England picked up the third place trophy after beating Switzerland through penalty shootout.

A total of 55 teams participated in the brand new venture with the first edition having now ended.

There have been some interesting match-ups, but the tournament still prompts a sense of bewilderment among casual observers.

Goal takes a look the Nations League ahead of the 2020-21 edition, how it works and brings you all the fixtures and results.

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1. What is the UEFA Nations League?
2. How does the UEFA Nations League work?
3. UEFA Nations League finals
4. UEFA Nations League A
5. UEFA Nations League B
6. UEFA Nations League C
7. UEFA Nations League D
8. UEFA Nations League prize money
9. European Championship qualifying
10. UEFA Nations League ball

What is the UEFA Nations League?

The Nations League is a bold attempt by UEFA to revamp international football in Europe.

According to the official UEFA website, the establishment of the biennial competition "stems from the desire ... to improve the quality and standing of national team football" with the federation and its associations seeking a move away from meaningless friendly games.

It sees UEFA's 55 member associations split into four leagues (A-D), each consisting of four groups.

When does the UEFA Nations League take place?

The 2018-19 Nations League kicked off in September 2018 , with the first two rounds of group games taking place during that month. The remaining were played in October and November.

The finals were held in June 2019, with the next edition of the competition set to begin on September 3, 2020.

RoundDate
Matchday 1September 3-5, 2020
Matchday 2September 6-8, 2020
Matchday 3October 8-10, 2020
Matchday 4October 11-13, 2020
Matchday 5November 12-14, 2020
Matchday 6November 15-17, 2020
Semi-finalsJune 2-6, 2019 (TBC)
Third-place play-offJune 2-6, 2019 (TBC)
FinalJune 2-6, 2019 (TBC)

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How does the UEFA Nations League work?

As a new concept the Nations League has understandably left many fans, footballers and even officials themselves somewhat bewildered. But it will eventually become a natural and widely understood part of the European football calendar. We've broken it down in greater detail already here , but here are the express notes.

At the top end - in League A - the winners of each of the four groups progress to the finals, where they will fight it out to become Nations League champions.

The competition will also incorporate promotion and relegation, so teams can ascend or descend the ranks depending on their performances.

Four teams - those that finish bottom in their groups - will be relegated from Leagues A to B, B to C and C to D.

Conversely, four teams - those that finish top of their groups - will be promoted from Leagues D to C, C to B and B to A.

Helpfully, UEFA has produced a graphic, which you can see below, that illustrates exactly how promotion and relegation work in the competition.

UEFA Nations League

Straightforward enough, right?

However, there are also qualification places for the European Championship up for grabs, which is where it becomes a little more complicated, but we will deal with that later.

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UEFA Nations League finals

After the conclusion of matchday six, the Nations League moved into the finals stage, which took place in the summer of 2019.

Four teams - Switzerland, England, Portugal and the Netherlands - competed in two semi-finals (on June 5 and 6) with a third-place play-off and final following (on June 9).

The original bid proposed Porto's Estadio do Dragao and the Estadio D. Afonso Henriques in Guimaraes as host venues.

UEFA Nations League 2018 Aleksander CeferinGetty Images

Semi-finals

DateMatchTime (UK)
June 5, 2019Portugal 3-1 Switzerland7:45pm
June 6, 2019Netherlands 3-1 England7:45pm

Third-place play-off

DateMatchTime (UK)
June 9, 2019Switzerland 0-0 England (5-6 pens.)2pm

Final

DateMatchTime (UK)
June 9, 2019Portugal 1-0 Netherlands7:45pm

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UEFA Nations League A tables, fixtures & results

League A features the top 12 ranked teams in Europe and they are divided into four groups of three. Among them are Germany, Portugal, Spain, England and France.

You can see the full breakdown of League A, including group tables, fixtures and results, below.

Group 1

PosTeamGPWDLGDPts
1Netherlands (Q)4211+47
2France421107
3Germany (R)4022-42

Group 1 fixtures

Group 2

PosTeamGPWDLGDPts
1Switzerland (Q)4301+99
2Belgium4301+39
3Iceland (R)4004-120

Group 2 fixtures

Group 3

PosTeamGPWDLGDPts
1Portugal (Q)4220+28
2Italy412105
3Poland (R)4022-22

Group 3 fixtures

DateMatchTime (UK)
Sep 7Italy 1-1 Poland 19:45
Sep 10Portugal 1-0 Italy 19:45
Oct 11Poland 2-3 Portugal 19:45
Oct 14Poland 0-1 Italy 19:45
Nov 17Italy 0-0 Portugal 19:45
Nov 20Portugal 1-1 Poland 19:45

Group 4

PosTeamGPWDLGDPts
1England (Q)4211+17
2Spain4202+56
3Croatia (R)4112-64

Group 4 fixtures

DateMatchTime (UK)
Sep 8England 1-2 Spain 19:45
Sep 11Spain 6-0 Croatia 19:45
Oct 12Croatia 0-0 England 19:45
Oct 15Spain 2-3 England 19:45
Nov 15Croatia 3-2 Spain 19:45
Nov 18England 2-1 Croatia 19:45

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UEFA Nations League B tables, fixtures & results

League B is made up by the teams ranked from 13 to 24 and, like League A, they are divided into four groups of three. Some of the teams involved at this tier include Wales, Ukraine and Russia.

You can see the full breakdown of League B, including group tables, fixtures and results, below.

Gareth Bale Wales 2018Getty Images

Group 1

PosTeamGPWDLGDPts
1Ukraine (Q)430109
2Czech Republic420206
3Slovakia (R)410303

Group 1 fixtures

Group 2

PosTeamGPWDLGDPts
1Sweden (Q)4211+27
2Russia4211+17
3Turkey (R)4103-33

Group 2 fixtures

DateMatchTime (UK)
Sep 7Turkey 1-2 Russia 19:45
Sep 10Sweden 2-3 Turkey 19:45
Oct 11Russia 0-0 Sweden 19:45
Oct 14Russia 2-0 Turkey 17:00
Nov 17Turkey 0-1 Sweden 17:00
Nov 20Sweden 2-0 Russia 19:45

Group 3

PosTeamGPWDLGDPts
1Bosnia & Herzegovina (Q)4310+410
2Austria4211+17
3Northern Ireland (R)4004-50

Group 3 fixtures

Group 4

PosTeamGPWDLGDPts
1Denmark (Q)4220+38
2Wales4202+16
3Republic of Ireland (R)4022-41

Group 4 fixtures

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UEFA Nations League C tables, fixtures & results

Unlike the top two tiers, League C features the next best 15 teams, with one group of three and three groups of four. Scotland, Greece and Serbia are among the teams involved.

You can see the full breakdown of League C, including group tables, fixtures and results, below.

Andrew Robertson Scotland 2018

Group 1

PosTeamGPWDLGDPts
1Scotland (Q)4301+69
2Israel4202+16
3Albania (R)4103-73

Group 1 fixtures

DateMatchTime (UK)
Sep 7Albania 1-0 Israel 19:45
Sep 10Scotland 2-0 Albania 19:45
Oct 11Israel 2-1 Scotland 19:45
Oct 14Israel 2-0 Albania 19:45
Nov 17Albania 0-4 Scotland 19:45
Nov 20Scotland vs Israel 19:45

Group 2

PosTeamGPWDLGDPts
1Finland (Q)6402+212
2Hungary6312310
3Greece6303-19
4Estonia (R)6114-44

Group 2 fixtures

Group 3

PosTeamGPWDLGDPts
1Norway (Q)6411+513
2Bulgaria6321+211
3Cyprus6123-45
4Slovenia (R)6033-33

Group 3 fixtures

Group 4

PosTeamGPWDLGDPts
1Serbia (Q)6420+714
2Romania6330+512
3Montenegro6213+17
4Lithuania (R)6006-130

Group 4 fixtures

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UEFA Nations League D tables, fixtures & results

League D is populated by the 16 lowest-ranked teams and they are divided into four groups of four. The likes of Armenia, San Marino and the Faroe Islands are competing at this level.

You can see the full breakdown of League D, including group tables, fixtures and results, below.

Group 1

PosTeamGPWDLGDPts
1Georgia (Q)6510+1016
2Kazakhstan6132+16
3Latvia6042-44
4Andorra6042-74

Group 2 fixtures

Group 2

PosTeamGPWDLGDPts
1Belarus (Q)6420+1014
2Luxembourg6312+710
3Moldova6231-19
4San Marino6006-160

Group 2 fixtures

Group 3

PosTeamGPWDLGDPts
1Kosovo (Q)6420+914
2Azerbaijan6230+59
3Faroe Islands6123-55
4Malta6033-93

Group 3 fixtures

Group 4

PosTeamGPWDLGDPts
1Macedonia (Q)6501+915
2Armenia6312+610
3Gibraltar6204-106
4Liechtenstein6114-54

Group 4 fixtures

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UEFA Nations League prize money

Every team that competes in the Nations League will receive solidarity payments from UEFA and bonus payments will be made to teams based on their performances.

UEFA announced in October that it would increase solidarity payments by 50 per cent and the higher the league, the better the payment, which you can see in the table below.

LeagueSolidarity paymentWinner's bonus
A€2.25m€2.25m
B€1.5m€1.5m
C€1.125m€1.125m
D€750,000€750,000

The teams that qualify for the Nations League final will also be rewarded for their performance at that stage.

The winner will receive a bonus of €6m, with the runner-up getting €4.5m. Third place will be paid €3.5m and the fourth-placed team will get €2.5m

As such, the maximum overall a team from League A can get is €10.5m; €3m for a team from League B; €2.25m for a team from League C; and €1.5m for a team from League D.

Final positionBonus
Winner€6m
Runner-up€4.5m
Third€3.5m
Fourth€2.5m

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European Championship qualifying

As referred to above, the Nations League will also be linked with the European Championship, beginning with Euro 2020.

First of all, the overall ranking of the teams in the Nations League was used to determined the seeding for the Euro 2020 qualification groups, the draw for which was held in Dublin in December 2018 following the conclusion of the group games.

UEFA Nations League Euro 2020 qualifying

Secondly, the Nations League will also potentially offer a route into the European Championship for teams that fail to reach the tournament through the qualification process.

Each League from A to D has four play-off positions which will be given to the group winners as first priority. However if a group winner has already qualified its place in the play-off will go to the next best ranked team of the league and so on.

There will be four different play-off paths, meaning a total of 16 teams, and these will generally mirror the initial four leagues in terms of make-up. That means there will be opportunities for lower ranked teams to reach the European Championship finals.

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UEFA Nations League ball

A new ball has been produced specifically for the competition by Adidas and it will be used across the games in all leagues.

The design is similar in terms of panelling to the Adidas Telstar 18, which was used during the 2018 World Cup, but the colourway is totally different, as you'd expect.

UEFA Nations League ball Adidas

The ball replicates the branding used by UEFA for their new competition, with various colours appearing in between white and silver panels.

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