Iceland rewarded with place at top table for UEFA Nations League

UEFA Nations League - Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Wales will be in 'B' competition

UEFA Nations League - Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Wales will be in 'B' competition

UEFA have confirmed the makeup of the four leagues for the inaugural UEFA Nations League that will begin in September 2018 and conclude in June 2019, with the hope that the new competition will strengthen worldwide football across the whole confederation.

The Nations League group stage will take place when Europe would ordinarily begin qualifying for the next European Championship.

The highest placed team in each group that has not qualified for the finals will enter four-team playoff from each of the four leagues in March 2020, and the winners will go to the finals - effectively replacing the playoffs between third-placed teams in qualifying for Euro 2016.

Group games will be followed by semi-finals involving the four group winners and a final to be played in June 2019.

In a three-team group, Martin O'Neill's side could easily find them in the top tier of the Nations League at the first time of asking.

Uefa say that the new worldwide league "creates more meaningful and competitive matches for teams and..."

Each of the four leagues A, B, C and D will contain four groups of three or four teams, with these decided in a draw on next January.

A host country will be appointed in December 2018 from the finalist teams.

The top four-ranked teams that do not qualify for Euro 2020 will contest a play-off in March 2020, with one finals place on offer.

The competition which will effectively replace friendlies will run from September to November 2018.

League C: Hungary, Romania, Scotland, Slovenia, Greece, Serbia, Albania, Norway, Montenegro, Israel, Bulgaria, Finland, Cyprus, Estonia and Lithuania. The next 12 teams will be in League B, the next 15 in League C and the remaining 16 in League D.

Teams in three-sided groups will play on four of the six matchdays.

The group winners in Leagues B, C and D will gain promotion and those who finish bottom of the groups in Leagues A, B and C will be relegated.

The Euro 2020 qualification play-offs are set for March 2020 as mentioned above, and Euro 2020 itself, which will be played across the continent, will begin three months later.

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