England to face Republic of Ireland in Nations League

8 February 2024 0 By Total Football News

Wales manager Rob Page, England boss Gareth Southgate, Scotland manager Steve Clarke and Northern Ireland boss Michael O'NeillThe Nations League beckons again for Wales manager Rob Page, England boss Gareth Southgate, Scotland manager Steve Clarke and Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill

England have been drawn against the Republic of Ireland, Finland and Greece in their League B group for the men’s 2024-25 Nations League.

Scotland, who feature in the top League A groups, will face Croatia, Poland and Portugal.

Wales have been placed in the same League B group as Iceland, Montenegro and Turkey.

Northern Ireland are to play Belarus, Bulgaria and Luxembourg in their League C group.

Leagues A, B and C each have four groups of four teams, while League D has two groups of three teams.

England, who dropped down to League B after finishing bottom of Group A3 in the previous edition of the Nations League, last played the Republic of Ireland in a competitive game in 1991 when they drew 1-1 in a Euro 92 qualifier.

A friendly at Lansdowne Road in 1995 had to be abandoned because of major crowd trouble, while the most recent meeting between the two sides was a friendly in 2020 which England won 3-0.

“There’s some teams we haven’t played for a while, there’s going to be some difficult games for us,” said England manager Gareth Southgate.

“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.”

It’s a tough one – Scotland boss Clarke

Scotland won Group B1 last time to earn promotion to League A for the first time.

“It’s a tough one,” said Scotland manager Steve Clarke about his side’s group.

“We expected difficult opponents. That’s what we’ve got but that’s what we wanted.

“I’m always a great believer that if you want to improve you have to play against the best teams. We’ve got good opponents and I look forward to the matches.”

Wales were in the top tier last time but finished bottom of Group A4 with one point from six games.

They played Turkey in November when the two teams drew 1-1 in a Euro 2024 qualifying group game.

Turkey finished top of the group, while Wales were third and will face Finland in the play-off semi-finals in March as they try to qualify for that tournament in Germany.

“It’s a positive group, we are quite pleased with it,” said Wales manager Rob Page of his team’s Nations League draw.

“We know about Turkey after playing them recently. With regards to the other teams we will have to do a bit more digging.

“We are pretty confident.”

The Republic of Ireland have remained in League B since the competition started up and Northern Ireland are in League C again.

“It’s an open and competitive type of group,” said Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill.

“We’ve got a very young squad at the minute and I think this will give them an opportunity to win games, give them more experience and help us develop the team further, particularly with World Cup qualification the next big tournament to deal with.”

Each team in Leagues A, B and C will play two group games in September, two in October and two in November 2024.

League A quarter-finals and promotion/relegation play-offs take place in March 2025, before single-leg semi-finals and a final in June 2025.

Spain are the trophy holders after they beat Croatia on penalties last June.

Uefa Nations League 2024-25 groups

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, Lithuania/Gibraltar*

Group C3: Luxembourg, Bulgaria, Northern Ireland, Belarus

Group C4: Armenia, Faroe Islands, North Macedonia, Latvia

*Gibraltar and Lithuania face a play-out, effectively a relegation play-off to see who ends in Leagues C and D, in March 2024.

League D

Group D1: Lithuania/Gibraltar, San Marino, Liechtenstein

Group D2: Moldova, Malta, Andorra