Nations League 2018-19

The Uefa Nations League is contested by the national teams of the member associations of Uefa, the sport’s European governing body. The first tournament commences in September 2018 and the winner will be decided in June 2019. The competition replaces international friendly matches played during the Fifa international match calendar.

All Uefa member associations’ national teams are divided into a series of groups based upon a ranking formulated using recent results, with teams promoted and relegated to other groups according to their results within the group.

The teams are divided into four divisions: 12 teams in League A, 12 teams in League B, 15 teams in League C, and 16 teams in League D. In each division, four groups are formed (three or four teams in each group) and play each other both home and away.

Wales are in group four of League B, along with the Republic of Ireland and World Cup 2018 finalists Denmark.

Ironically, the Republic of Ireland finished ahead of Wales in qualifying for the 2018 World Cup after edging the final showdown in their group with a 1-0 win against the Dragons at Cardiff City Stadium. That win earned the Republic a slot in the play-offs, where they met Denmark who booked their place in Russia with a 5-1 victory at the Aviva Stadium after the sides drew 0-0 in the first leg in Denmark.

In the top division League A, the winners of the four groups go on to play in the Nations League Finals, with two semi-finals and one final to decide which team becomes the Nations League champion.

Teams can also be promoted and relegated to a higher or lower division. Each group winner (there are four groups in each division) is automatically promoted to the next higher division for the next tournament. Each team placing last in its group is automatically relegated to the next lower division.

The tournament forms part of the qualifying process for the European Championships, providing teams with another chance to qualify for the tournament. In addition to the Nations League Finals of League A, there will be four play-offs with a similar format. Each group winner takes a spot in the semi-finals. If the group winner is already one of 20 qualified teams for the European Championships, rankings will be used to give the play-off spot to another team from that league. If fewer than four teams in the entire league remain unqualified, play-off spots will be given to teams from the next-lower league.

These play-offs will determine the four remaining qualifying spots for the European Championships. The Nations League may also be linked with Uefa’s future World Cup qualifications for the same purpose, possibly using the top two divisions.

Wales open their Nations League campaign on 6 September against the Republic of Ireland at Cardiff City Stadium and conclude it against Denmark on 16 November at the same venue.

Wales’ Nations League Group Fixtures
WALES v IRELAND, Thursday 6 September, 19:45, Cardiff City Stadium
DENMARK v WALES, Sunday 9 September, 17:00, Ceres Park, Aarhus
IRELAND v WALES, Tuesday 16 October, 19:45, Aviva Stadium, Dublin
WALES v DENMARK, Friday 16 November, 19:45, Cardiff City Stadium