England adapt to life in second tier of Nations League, Scots look to future in top flight

February 9 – England were drawn with the Republic of Ireland in Group B2 of the Nations League with Finland and Greece completing the group. Elsewhere, Italy and France meet in League A.

Following England’s relegation from League A in September 2022, the two countries were paired together at Thursday’s Nations League draw in Paris.

England and Ireland last met in a friendly at Wembley in November 2020 when Harry Maguire, Jadon Sancho and Dominic Calvert-Lewin ensured a 3-0 win. The last competitive encounter between England and the Republic of Ireland was a Euro 92 qualifier at Wembley which finished 1-1.

England manager Gareth Southgate told Sky Sports: “There’s some teams we haven’t played for a while, there’s going to be some difficult games for us. I think everybody in England will think it was a big disappointment to drop down to League B but you still have difficult games. Obviously, our objective will be we have to try to win the group to get back up into League A.”

For the first time, Scotland will play in League A of the Nations League. They will face Croatia, Poland and Portugal, the 2019 winners of the tournament. In League A, European champions Italy and vice-world champions France were paired together in Group A2 with Belgium and Israel completing the quartet. Once again, the Netherlands and Germany renew their rivalry in Group A3.

The Nations League’s format has been tweaked with the introduction of a quarter-final phase, meaning that the top two countries from each group in League A advance.  Single-leg semis and a final will be played in June 2025.

Nations League 2024/25 draw in full:

League A

  •  Group A1: Croatia, Portugal, Poland, Scotland.
  •  Group A2: Italy, Belgium, France, Israel.
  •  Group A3: Netherlands, Hungary, Germany, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  •  Group A4: Spain, Denmark, Switzerland, Serbia.

League B

  •  Group B1: Czech Republic, Ukraine, Albania, Georgia.
  •  Group B2: England, Finland, Republic of Ireland, Greece.
  •  Group B3: Austria, Norway, Slovenia, Kazakhstan.
  •  Group B4: Wales, Iceland, Montenegro, Turkey.

League C

  •  Group C1: Sweden, Azerbaijan, Slovakia, Estonia.
  •  Group C2: Romania, Kosovo, Cyprus, Gibraltar/Lithuania*.
  •  Group C3: Luxembourg, Bulgaria, Northern Ireland, Belarus.
  •  Group C4: Armenia, Faroe Islands, North Macedonia, Latvia.

*subject to a play-off to decide final placings

League D

  •  Group D1: Lithuania/Gibraltar*, San Marino, Liechtenstein.
  •  Group D2: Moldova, Malta, Andorra.

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