The UEFA Men’s Nations League is a biennial tournament involving all 55 men’s national teams in UEFA, to be played in the twelve months following each Men’s World Cup or Men’s European Championship.
Teams in the Men’s Nations League are divided into four leagues. There are sixteen teams in League A, sixteen in League B, sixteen in League C, and seven in League D. Teams in League A play for the Men’s Nations League championship, and teams in Leagues B, C, and D play for promotion to the next higher league.
ALLOCATION TO LEAGUES
Teams have been allocated to the leagues based upon their performances in the 2018-9 UEFA Men’s Nations League.
UEFA have decided to change the league allocations for the 2020-1 competition. Leagues A and B have been increased from twelve to sixteen teams each, League C has been increased from fifteen to sixteen teams, and League D has been reduced from sixteen to seven teams.
Accordingly, teams that were to have been relegated have now been kept in the same league, and some teams that were to have remained in the same league have now been promoted.
- League A:
- Belgium, England, France, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland
- Promoted from League B: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Denmark, Sweden, Ukraine
- Relegation from League A cancelled: Croatia, Germany, Iceland, Poland
- League B:
- Austria, Czech Rep, Russia, Wales
- Promoted from League C: Bulgaria, Finland, Hungary, Israel, Norway, Romania, Scotland, Serbia
- Relegation from League B cancelled: Ireland Rep, Northern Ireland, Slovakia, Turkey
- League C:
- Albania, Greece, Montenegro
- Promoted from League D: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Luxembourg, Moldova, North Macedonia
- Relegation from League C cancelled: Cyprus, Estonia, Lithuania, Slovenia
- League D:
In the league phase, each league is divided into four groups, and teams in each group play one another twice. The league phase is held in September through November of even years, immediately after the Men’s World Cup or the Men’s European Championship.
The draw for the 2020 league phase was held on TUE 03 MAR 2020 in Amsterdam, NED.
In League A, each group contains four teams. The first placed teams in each group advance to the elimination phase, and the last placed teams are relegated to League B for the next edition of the tournament.
ADVANCE TO ELIMINATION PHASE
Likewise, in League B, each group contains four teams. The first placed teams are promoted to League A, and the last placed teams are relegated to League C.
In League C, each group contains four teams. The first placed teams are promoted to League B. The last placed teams take part in the relegation playoffs to determine which two are relegated to League D.
In League D, one group contains four teams, and the other group contains three teams. The first placed teams are promoted to League C.
PROMOTED TO LEAGUE C
The first placed teams in the four League A groups advance to the elimination phase, normally held in June of odd years. One of the participating teams is chosen to host the elimination phase. Italy have been selected to host the 2021 elimination phase.
Following the postponement of the Euro 2020 tournament to 2021, the elimination phase of the 2020-1 UEFA Men’s Nations League has been rescheduled to OCT 2021.
The teams are drawn into two semifinal matches. The winners contest the final match, and the losers contest the third place match.
The last placed teams in the four League C groups take part in relegation playoffs, to be held in MAR 2022.
The highest ranked team plays the lowest ranked team, and the other two teams play one another. Both playoffs are over two legs. The two winning teams on aggregate goals remain in League C, and the losing teams are relegated to League D.
MEN’S WORLD CUP QUALIFICATION
Teams that finish atop their groups in the UEFA Men’s Nations League will also have a second chance to qualify for the 2022 Men’s World Cup.
At the end of the UEFA group phase of qualifiers, ten teams will qualify directly for Qatar 2022, and ten other teams will advance to the playoffs.
Two other places in the playoffs will be awarded to the highest ranked Men’s Nations League group winners who did not already qualify or advance to the playoffs, sorted by league, points, and goal difference.
The following schedule changes were made as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic:
- League phase matchdays 3-6 were rescheduled to accommodate the playoffs for the 2020 European Championship:
- Matchday 3: from THU 08-SAT 10 OCT 2020 to SAT 10-SUN 11 OCT 2020
- Matchday 4: from SUN 11-TUE 13 OCT 2020 to TUE 13-WED 14 OCT 2020
- Matchday 5: from THU 12-SAT 14 NOV 2020 to SAT 14-SUN 15 NOV 2020
- Matchday 6: from SUN 15-TUE 17 NOV 2020 to TUE 17-WED 18 NOV 2020
- The elimination phase was rescheduled from WED 02-SUN 06 JUN 2021 to WED 06-SUN 10 OCT 2021 to accommodate the 2020 European Championship.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, UEFA Men’s Nations League matches in SEP 2020 were played behind closed doors. Starting with matches in OCT 2020, limited numbers of spectators are permitted, subject to local laws.
All players, coaches, and technical staff on each squad undergo a polymerase chain reaction test for SARS-CoV-2-RNA in the three days prior to each match. Those who test positive must self-isolate and cannot travel with the squad or take part in the match. Due to contact tracing protocols, other individuals may also be excluded from the match.
Matches may go ahead provided that each team has at least thirteen eligible players available, including at least one goalkeeper. If at least one team does not have sufficient players available, the match is postponed.
If a postponed match cannot be rescheduled, UEFA will determine whether one team is at fault. If so, that team must forfeit the match. If both teams are found to be at fault, or if neither is, UEFA will hold a random draw to determine the match result: either a 1-0 win to the home team, a 0-0 draw, or a 1-0 win to the away team.