By Tom Wardman
Last Updated: 9th October 2018
Matchday one and two of the UEFA Nations League in September brought us goals in abundance. Yet there remains some confusion on the inner workings of this international football competition. So, William Hill will provide a breakdown of exactly it works, how it will affect the teams involved, and key UEFA Nation’s League betting markets:
What is the UEFA Nations League?
For those of us still confused as to just what this competition is, our football gurus have listed the main takeaway points with no fancy lingo. Observe:
- The UEFA Nations League is an international competition between 55 nations of UEFA
- The 55 nations are split into four Leagues according to their position in the national rankings
- The strongest nations are placed in League A, and the weakest in League D.
- Each league is then split further groups of three or four
- Teams within the group play each other home and away
- The group winners in Leagues B, C and D gain promotion and those who finish bottom of the groups in Leagues A, B and C are relegated.
What format does the league take?
As previously mentioned, the 55 teams are categorized into four Leagues. Within each league, the groupings vary:
- League A and B: Four groups of three nations (12 teams)
- League C: Three groups of four nations, and one group of three (15)
- League D: Four groups of four nations (16)
Now pay attention and read carefully. While the winners of each group in League B, C and D will move up, the bottom of the nation of League A, B and C will be ‘relegated’ until the tournament swings around again (2020-21).
The four group winners from League A will playoff in knockout format — semifinals, third-place match and final — in June 2019, with all four matches being played in one host European country chosen from the finalists.
Italy, Poland and Portugal have all submitted bids, and as these three countries are in the same Nations League group one will host the finals. Only nations in League A can go on to be overall Nations League champions.
UEFA Nations League betting markets & tips
Now that you know the inner workings of the competition, read below to peruse the best odds on matchday three of the UEFA Nations League betting markets.
Not only do we have a variety of in-play betting markets, but also live odds on all the Nations League ties, with an extra focus on this week’s big games.
England are tipped to win 2-1 against Croatia with intrepid odds of 9/1. Gareth Southgate’s side suffered a defeat against the Vetrani in their World Cup semi-final clash.
Yet, the Croats have struggled for form in recent meetings and will have to be wary of a Harry Kane-led offence.
You can also bet on who will win each game within the group, and every other group, as well as which team could potentially be promoted or relegated.
For instance, where League A is concerned, Croatia are 14/1 favourites to win, with England in danger of being relegated after their loss to Spain in matchday two.
The other home nations side- Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland- are also a feature of our betting markets.
For instance, the Republic of Ireland are playing Denmark on Saturday, with the latter side currently tipped as favourites to win their group.
The Danes thrashed Martin O’Neill’s side 5-1 in matchday two, so all eyes will be on the Green Army to see if they can avoid relegation and pull through with a result.
UEFA Nations League fixture list
The group games will all be played on the six international dates between September and November 2018.
- Matchday 1: Sept. 6-8, 2018
- Matchday 2: Sept. 9-11, 2018
- Matchday 3: Oct. 11-13, 2018
- Matchday 4: Oct. 14-16, 2018
- Matchday 5: Nov. 15-17, 2018
- Matchday 6: Nov. 18-20, 2018
After matchday six, the finals draw will commence in early December 2018, with the actual final taking place sometime between June 5-9th in 2019.
What impact does the competition have on Euro 2020?
This is where things start to get tricky.
While 10 teams will have to qualify for the Euros through the UEFA Nations League (so far, so good), this still leaves four places up for grabs at the finals.
Those four spots remain to be filled, and that is where things start to hot up.
Remember those Nations League groups? Well, the four group winner in each tier will then play-off in March with a chance to claim one of those vacant spots.
However, should a nation already qualified, their place will go to the next highest-ranked team from there league, which might not be the runner-up.