UEFA Nations League: What's at stake? Qualification, promotion, relegation and World Cup Qualifying draw pots

This week sees the culmination of the UEFA Nations League group stages – and there’s plenty still at stake.

The second edition of the competition has seen 319 goals scored across the 142 matches played so far, and there has been plenty of drama across the past three international breaks.

Semi-final and promotion places are still up for grabs while some nations are still battling it out to avoid relegation from their League.

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Even defeats for teams already relegated from their League could impact their Pot for World Cup qualifying, as Sky Sports assesses the permutations heading into the final round of fixtures.

Group A1

Remaining fixtures – Wednesday, November 18

  • Bosnia & Herzegovina vs Italy – Nations League, 7.45pm (Sky Sports Football Red Button)
  • Poland vs Netherlands – Nations League, 7.45pm (Sky Sports Football Red Button)

Italy are in the box seat and will be guaranteed of a semi-final berth with a win away to Bosnia & Herzegovina – or if Poland vs Netherlands ends in a draw.

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Netherlands must win in Poland and hope Italy fail to beat Bosnia to reach the final four for the second successive edition.

Poland can still make the semi-finals but must beat Netherlands and hope Italy lose to Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Bosnia and Herzegovina have been relegated to League B, but another defeat to Italy could mean them dropping into Pot 4 for the World Cup qualifying draw.

Nations League Group A1

Group A2

Remaining fixtures – Wednesday November 18

  • England vs Iceland Nations League, 7.45pm (Sky Sports Main Event)
  • Belgium vs Denmark – Nations League, 7.45pm (Sky Sports Football Red Button)

A more straightforward group, where it’s winner-takes-all in Leuven. Belgium just need to avoid defeat to finish top, while Denmark must win to overtake them.



England
Iceland


England will finish third whatever happens in their final fixture against Iceland at Wembley.

Iceland will be playing in League B in the next edition having already been relegated.

Nations League Group A2

Group A3

France, who finish top of Group A3, became the first nation to reach the finals after victory over Portugal in Lisbon on matchday five.

It means holders Portugal will not be at next year’s showpiece event and will finish in second place in the group.

Despite a 3-2 defeat to Portugal on matchday six, Croatia avoided the drop with Sweden relegated to League B after a 4-2 loss in France.

Nations League Group A3

Group A4

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Remaining fixtures

  • Switzerland vs Ukraine – Match called off.

Spain’s stunning 6-0 victory against Germany on matchday six ensured they finished top of Group A4 and booked them a place in next autumn’s semi-finals.

Relegation is still to be decided after Switzerland’s clash with Ukraine was called off.

Nations League Group A4

Group B1

Remaining fixtures – Wednesday November 18

  • Austria vs Norway – Nations League, 7.45pm (Sky Sports Football Red Button)
  • Northern Ireland vs Romania Nations League, 7.45pm (Sky Sports Mix)

*TBC Romania vs Norway

Romania vs Norway was postponed on Sunday as a result of the Norwegian squad not being allowed to travel following a positive coronavirus test, so this group remains in the balance.

The likelihood is Romania will be handed a 3-0 forfeit win, and Norway have called up a completely new squad to fulfil Wednesday’s fixture in Austria.

Regardless of the outcome of Romania vs Norway, the outcome of the game in Vienna will determine which nation is promoted to League A, with the team of uncapped foreign-based Norwegians needing to win by any scoreline other than 1-0 to finish top on head-to-head away goals.



Northern Ireland
Romania


Should Romania be handed a 3-0 forfeit win, Northern Ireland will be relegated to League C irrespective of the result at Windsor Park.

Romania, who cannot top the group, must win in Belfast to have a chance of being seeded in Pot 2 in the World Cup qualifying draw.

Nations League Group B1

Group B2

Remaining fixtures – Wednesday November 18

  • Israel vs Scotland – Nations League, 7.45pm (Sky Sports Football)
  • Czech Republic vs Slovakia – Nations League, 7.45pm (Sky Sports Football Red Button)

Scotland take on Israel still in buoyant mood having qualified for Euro 2020, but they can cap a fine international break by gaining promotion to League A with a win in Israel. They would still top the group if Czech Republic fail to beat Slovakia.



Israel
Scotland


Czech Republic have to win their game at home to Slovakia and hope Scotland fail to do likewise in order to finish top.

At the other end, Slovakia must win in Plzen and hope Israel fail to beat Scotland in order to avoid relegation.

Nations League Group B2

Group B3

Remaining fixtures – Wednesday, November 18

  • Serbia vs Russia – Nations League, 7.45pm (Sky Sports Football Red Button)
  • Hungary vs Turkey – Nations League, 7.45pm (Sky Sports Football Red Button)

Group B3 is wide open with three nations in contention for promotion.

Russia must win in Serbia to be guaranteed top spot, which would also cement their place in Pot 2 for World Cup qualifying. A draw would also be sufficient provided Hungary vs Turkey also ends in a stalemate.

Hungary must better Russia’s result against Turkey, while the visitors to Budapest must win and hope Russia fail to do so in order to finish top.

It will not be easy for the Russians as Serbia know that only a win will give them a chance of avoiding relegation. They must also hope Turkey lose to stay in League B.

Nations League Group B3

Group B4

Remaining fixtures – Wednesday November 18

  • Wales vs Finland – Nations League, 7.45pm (Sky Sports Premier League)
  • Republic of Ireland vs Bulgaria – Nations League, 7.45pm (Sky Sports Arena)

It is winner-takes-all in Cardiff. Wales need to avoid defeat at home to Finland to top the group and earn promotion to League A.

The Finns must win – and a victory for either nation would virtually guarantee one of the two World Cup play-off places that have been allocated via the Nations League, should it be required.



Wales
Finland





Republic of Ireland
Bulgaria


Finland need to win in order to secure Pot 3 in the World Cup qualifying draw, but a defeat for Bosnia against Italy would also confirm that position.

Bulgaria have to win to avoid relegation, while Republic of Ireland just need a point at the Aviva Stadium to stay in League B.

But Stephen Kenny’s men must take three points if they are to stay in contention for World Cup qualifying draw Pot 2.

Nations League Group B4

Group C1

Victory for Montenegro against Cyprus ensured promotion to League B above Luxembourg, who drew 0-0 with Azerbaijan on matchday six.

The big defeat at the hands of Montenegro condemned Cyprus to relegation to League D.

Nations League Group C1

Group C2

Remaining fixtures – Wednesday, November 18

  • Armenia vs North Macedonia – Nations League, 5pm (Sky Sports Football)
  • Georgia vs Estonia – Nations League, 5pm (Sky Sports Football Red Button)

North Macedonia are in pole position and will secure top spot if they avoid defeat away to Armenia. Their opponents must win in order to overtake them.

Georgia cannot top the group, but can still finish second with a win provided Armenia are beaten.

Estonia will be in the relegation play-offs regardless of their result in Georgia – with four teams bottom of their respective League C groups battling it out to decide which two drop down to League D.

Nations League Group C2

Group C3

Remaining fixtures – Wednesday, November 18

  • Greece vs Slovenia – Nations League, 7.45pm (Sky Sports Football Red Button)
  • Kosovo vs Moldova – Nations League, 7.45pm (Sky Sports Football Red Button)

Greece know that only a win would take them above Slovenia at the top of the group.

There is more than just promotion riding on it for the hosts, who also know that victory would prevent them from dropping into Pot 4 of the World Cup qualifying draw.

Kosovo cannot finish higher than third and must avoid defeat at home to Moldova in order to be guaranteed of their League C status.

Nations League Group C3

Group C4

Remaining fixtures – Wednesday November 18

  • Albania vs Belarus – Nations League, 3pm (Sky Sports Football)
  • Kazakhstan vs Lithuania – Nations League, 3pm (Sky Sports Football Red Button)

Table-toppers Belarus could be pipped by Albania to promotion if they are beaten in Tirana on Wednesday. A draw would be enough for the visitors.

At the other end, Kazakhstan must beat Lithuania to avoid the relegation play-offs while Lithuania could still finish second with a win, provided Belarus do likewise.

Nations League Group C4

Group D1

Faroe Islands drew 1-1 with Malta on matchday six to seal top spot in Group D1.

They are promoted to League B, while Andorra finish bottom of the group after 5-0 defeat at home to Latvia.

Nations League Group D1

Group D2

Gibraltar sealed promotion to League C after a 1-1 draw with Liechtenstein on matchday six.

San Marino finish bottom of the group despite keeping two clean sheets.

Nations League Group D2

How to follow

Follow Wednesday’s action with our dedicated live blogs plus watch in-game clips and free match highlights on Sky Sports’ digital platforms.

We will be providing live individual blogs with in-game clips and free match highlights on Sky Sports’ digital platforms for all Home Nations and the Republic of Ireland’s game against Bulgaria on Wednesday.

How is the Nations League linked to 2022 World Cup?

The World Cup qualifying draw takes place on December 7, and results this week could determine seeding. Results in the UEFA Nations League goes towards FIFA World Ranking coefficient points.

League B nations – including Wales and Scotland – who currently top their group will want to not only gain promotion on the final night to League A.

Finishing top will also place them in a strong position for a potential 2022 World Cup qualifying play-off – provided they have not already qualified via the conventional route in the forthcoming qualifiers.

When are the Nations League finals?

Once the four qualifying nations from League A are known, the host of the Nations League Finals will be announced from among the countries involved, as was the case last year with Portugal.

The semi-finals will be determined by an open draw, with games to take place next autumn. The semi-finals will be on October 6 and 7 with the third-place play-off and final occurring on October 10.

Remaining fixtures live on Sky Sports

Wednesday November 18

  • Albania vs Belarus – Nations League, 3pm (Sky Sports Football)
  • Kazakhstan vs Lithuania – Nations League, 3pm (Sky Sports Football Red Button)
  • Armenia vs North Macedonia – Nations League, 5pm (Sky Sports Football)
  • Georgia vs Estonia – Nations League, 5pm (Sky Sports Football Red Button)
  • Austria vs Norway – Nations League, 7.45pm (Sky Sports Football Red Button)
  • Belgium vs Denmark – Nations League, 7.45pm (Sky Sports Football Red Button)
  • Bosnia vs Italy – Nations League, 7.45pm (Sky Sports Football Red Button)
  • Czech Republic vs Slovakia – Nations League, 7.45pm (Sky Sports Football Red Button)
  • England vs Iceland Nations League, 7.45pm (Sky Sports Main Event)
  • Greece vs Slovenia – Nations League, 7.45pm (Sky Sports Football Red Button)
  • Hungary vs Turkey – Nations League, 7.45pm (Sky Sports Football Red Button)
  • Israel vs Scotland – Nations League, 7.45pm (Sky Sports Football)
  • Kosovo vs Moldova – Nations League, 7.45pm (Sky Sports Football Red Button)
  • Northern Ireland vs Romania Nations League, 7.45pm (Sky Sports Mix)
  • Poland vs Netherlands – Nations League, 7.45pm (Sky Sports Football Red Button)
  • Republic of Ireland vs Bulgaria – Nations League, 7.45pm (Sky Sports Arena)
  • Serbia vs Russia – Nations League, 7.45pm (Sky Sports Football Red Button)
  • Wales vs Finland – Nations League, 7.45pm (Sky Sports Premier League)

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