Nations League 2022/23: England handed chance to avenge Euro 2020 final defeat

Italy join the Three Lions in League A group alongside Germany and Hungary, while Scotland and the Republic of Ireland are reunited in League B.

The draw for the 2022/23 UEFA Nations League took place on Thursday.

England will have an immediate opportunity to avenge their Euro 2020 final defeat after being drawn in the same Nations League group as Italy.

They will also meet up again with Germany, who they beat 2-0 in the last 16 of that tournament, and Hungary, who they faced recently in qualification for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Wales, promoted to League A following the 2020/21 Nations League competition, face tough opposition in the shape of Belgium, Holland and Poland.

Scotland and the Republic of Ireland were drawn together in League B, while Northern Ireland, who were relegated to League C in the 2020/21 competition, face 2004 European champions Greece in Group C2, alongside Kosovo and the winner of the playout tie between Cyprus and Estonia.

But how will the tournament work and are places at Euro 2024 also up for grabs? Andy Schooler explains all...

What is the format of the 2022/23 Nations League?

Andorra Qualifier Nov21

A total of 55 countries will compete in the third edition of the UEFA Nations League.

As in the 2018/19 and 2020/21 tournaments, the teams have been divided into four 'leagues' - League A featuring the highest-ranked teams, including England, and League D involving the lowest-ranked sides, such as San Marino and Andorra.

Each 'league' has been sub-divided into four groups - 1, 2, 3 and 4. Every group has four teams, except one in League D which has three.

These round-robin groups will see the teams play each other home and away with the first four rounds of matches taking place in June 2022 and the last two being staged in September 2022. You may notice these dates differ to those used previously - this is due to the winter World Cup taking place in November and December 2022.

The tournament winners can only come from League A. Its four group winners will progress to the Nations League Finals, due to take place in June 2023 and likely to be hosted by one of the four teams who qualify. That event will involve two semi-finals, a third-place play-off and a final.

That's not to say that the teams in Leagues B-D have little to play for. As well as fighting for promotion and against relegation (top team goes up, bottom team goes down), there's the potential to earn a place in the Euro 2024 play-offs. At least, that's the expectation - more on that below.

What is the draw for the Nations League?

Italy lift Euro 2020 trophy Jul21

The draw for the group stage of the 2022/23 UEFA Nations League took place at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, on Thursday, December 16.

A seeding system was in place for each 'league' draw with the teams divided into four pots based on their finishing position in the 2020/21 Nations League.

Due to England finishing only third in their group in that edition of the tournament, Gareth Southgate's side found themselves in pot three.

The top seeds were holders France, Spain, European champions Italy and Belgium.

The teams were drawn as follows:

Republic of Ireland Scotland Jun15

League A:

Group 1 - France, Denmark, Croatia, Austria

Group 2 - Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Czech Republic

Group 3 - Italy, Germany, England, Hungary

Group 4 - Belgium, Netherlands, Poland, Wales

League B:

Group 1 - Ukraine, Scotland, Republic of Ireland, Armenia

Group 2 - Iceland, Russia, Israel, Albania

Group 3 - Bosnia and Herzegovina, Finland, Romania, Montenegro

Group 4 - Sweden, Norway, Serbia, Slovenia

League C:

Group 1 - Turkey, Luxembourg, Lithuania, Faroe Islands

Group 2 - Northern Ireland, Greece, Kosovo, Cyprus/Estonia

Group 3 - Slovakia, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan/Moldova

Group 4 - Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Georgia, Gibraltar

League D:

Group 1 - Liechtenstein, Kazakhstan/Moldova, Andorra, Latvia

Group 2 - Malta, Cyprus/Estonia, San Marino

You will notice that in Leagues C and D there are some either/or scenarios. This is due to the fact that the 2021/22 Nations League play-outs have yet to take place.

Those matches, played between the four teams who finished bottom of the League C groups, are required as only two nations are relegated into League D. The play-outs are scheduled for March 2022.

What is the fixture schedule for the Nations League?

England will open their 2022/23 Nations League campaign in Hungary on June 4 before heading to Germany three days later.

Their highly-anticpated Wembley rematch with Italy will come on June 11 with their season ending at home to Hungary on June 14.

Southgate's side will head to Italy on September 23 before their group campaign ends on September 26 at home to the Germans.

The full fixture list for the Home Nations is as follows:

England

Jun 4 - Hungary A; Jun 7 - Germany A; Jun 11 - Italy H; Jun 14 - Hungary H; Sep 23 - Italy A; Sep 26 - Germany H

Scotland

Jun 4 - Armenia H; Jun 7 - Ukraine H; Jun 11 - Rep of Ireland A; Jun 14 - Armenia A; Sep 23 - Rep of Ireland H; Sep 26 - Ukraine A

Wales

Jun 3 - Poland A; Jun 6 - Netherlands H; Jun 10 - Belgium H; Jun 13 - Netherlands A; Sep 22 - Belgium A; Sep 25 - Poland H

Northern Ireland

Jun 2 - Greece H; Jun 5 - Cyprus or Estonia A; Jun 9 - Kosovo A; Jun 12 - Cyprus or Estonia H; Sep 24 - Kosovo H; Sep 27 - Greece A

Will Euro 2024 places be at stake in the Nations League?

North Macedonia fans Euro 2020 Jun21

It is yet to be confirmed whether results in the 2022/23 Nations League will have any bearing on qualifying for Euro 2024.

The regulations for Euro 2024, to be held in Germany, are yet to be published by UEFA, who say that might not happen until June 2022 - a decision should be made before the Nations League kicks off.

However, it is widely expected that the Nations League will play some part in the qualifying process for the next Euros.

Four years ago, the Nations League was responsible for providing all 16 teams for the Euro 2020 play-offs.

The basic idea was that each 'league' would have its own play-off 'path' made of its four group winners. Each path would provide one qualifier for the Finals tournament.

In reality, eight of those Nations League group winners qualified as of right and didn't require their play-off berths. Those places were simply handed down to the 'next best' Nations League sides who hadn't already made it into the Euro 2020 field.

It was a format which was widely welcomed, particularly by Europe's smaller nations. It meant one of the teams in League D was guaranteed a place at Euro 2020. In the end, that team was North Macedonia.

However, with the format of the Nations League having changed since that 2018/19 edition (most notably, there are now fewer teams in League D) it could well be that UEFA opts to change the way the Nations League is used in Euro 2024 qualifying.

Who are the reigning UEFA Nations League champions?

France Nations League winners Oct21

France. The world champions added the Nations League trophy to their cabinet in October 2021, beating Spain 2-1 in the final thanks to a late goal from Kylian Mbappe.

2022/23 UEFA Nations League key dates

Matchday 1 - June 2-4, 2022

Matchday 2 - June 5-7, 2022

Matchday 3 - June 9-11, 2022

Matchday 4 - June 12-14, 2022

Matchday 5 - September 22-24, 2022

Matchday 6 - September 25-27, 2022

Semi-finals: June 14-15, 2023

Final (and 3rd place play-off): June 18, 2023

Play-outs: March 21-26, 2024

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