World champions France could await England in Nations League draw

Gareth Southgate will learn who his England side will face in the next edition of the Nations League this evening.

The Three Lions finished third in the inaugural competition last summer, which was a surprise hit with supporters and television audiences.

The Nations League has reduced the number of meaningless international friendlies and offers an alternative qualification route to the World Cup and European Championship.

For the 2020-21 edition, the two highest-ranked Nations League group winners who fail to win or finish runner-up in their World Cup qualifying groups will get a second chance to play off for a place in the 2022 finals in Qatar.

England are in League A for this evening’s draw in Amsterdam, as one of the top 16 nations in UEFA’s co-efficient rankings. They are in the top pot of seeds, but could be drawn against world champions France, or Spain or Italy from the second pot.

Croatia, who England face in the group stage at Euro 2020 this summer having already met in the 2018 World Cup semi-finals and the first edition of the Nations League, are potential opponents once again.

Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Wales are all in League B.

Ryan Giggs' Wales are among the top seeds in League B of the Nations League
Ryan Giggs' Wales are among the top seeds in League B of the Nations League

There is the potential for Wales, Scotland and one of Northern Ireland or the Republic to be drawn in the same group.

Northern Ireland and the Republic will be under new management for the competition, with Stephen Kenny taking over from Mick McCarthy no later than the summer and Michael O’Neill leaving the Northern Ireland job whenever their Euro 2020 campaign ends, having moved into club management with Stoke.

The group matches will be played over six match rounds between September and November of this year, with the finals to be played in early June 2021.