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Nations League: Scotland chasing promotion, but will Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and Wales be relegated?

Can Scotland take their place in League A? Are Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in trouble of being relegated? Find out here with our handy Nations League guide

Karim Benzema, Harry Kane and Gareth Bale

The current international break will see the culmination of the Nations League group stages, meaning promotions, relegations and progression to next summer's finals will all be secured over the next week.

The action began on Wednesday when Scotland beat Ukraine at Hampden Park, while Wales and England both lost in Italy and Belgium respectively on the following two evenings, with matches then taking place every night until Tuesday.

England's 1-0 reverse at San Siro on Friday saw Gareth Southgate's side demoted to League B and Wales - defeated 2-1 by Belgium on Thursday - Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are also in danger of relegation.

Harry Kane shows his frustration in Budapest
Image: England are bottom of their Nations League group with two matches to play

Scotland are a point away from promotion to the top tier, which would guarantee them a Euro 2024 play-off spot, while Croatia and the Netherlands are within touching distance of claiming their places in the final four.

Here's a reminder of the league tables, the games still to be played and what's at stake over the next few days.

How does the Nations League work?

France celebrate their UEFA Nations League victory over Spain
Image: France celebrate their Nations League victory over Spain in the final in October 2021

Europe's sides have been divided into four leagues, with A, B and C containing 16 teams and D containing seven. Leagues A, B and C have then been split into four groups of four, while League D has one group of four and one of three.

Teams grouped together are playing each other home and away. The group winners in Leagues B, C and D will be promoted to the next league up, while the teams finishing bottom of their groups in Leagues A, B and C will be relegated to the lower division.

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There is no relegation from League D, while the four group winners in League A will progress to the finals, which will be held next summer.

What else is at stake?

Goran Pandev scored North Macedonia's first Euros goal
Image: North Macedonia qualified for Euro 2020 through the play-offs, which they reached thanks to their Nations League performance

Performance in the Nations League will also be used to determine seeding for Euro 2024 qualifying, with the draw taking place on October 9 and matches being held between March and November 2023.

Teams that fail to reach Euro 2024 through qualifying can still reach the tournament via the play-offs, which are decided by Nations League placings.

The teams that finish highest in their groups - and do not qualify for Euro 2024 at the first attempt - in Leagues A, B and C will be entered into the play-offs, which take place in March 2024.

Each league will have four teams in its play-off section, with semi-finals and finals being played to determine which sides - one from each of Leagues A, B and C - secure a place at Euro 2024.

The current state of play

The final two matchdays will take place during the current international break but, despite the end of the group stage being near, only one team has secured promotion, while England, Lithuania, Belarus and Gibraltar have all suffered relegation from their respective leagues.

League A

Group A1

Group A1: Remaining fixtures

  • Austria vs Croatia - Vienna, Sunday September 25
  • Denmark vs France - Copenhagen, Sunday September 25

France are the reigning Nations League champions but have already blown their chances of retaining their title after picking up just two points from their first four fixtures. They finally landed a win on Matchday 5, beating Austria 2-0 to leapfrog them and move off bottom spot in Group A1.

Instead, Croatia are leading the race for top spot and a place in next summer's final after beating previous table-toppers Denmark thanks to a late Lovro Majer winner in an engrossing battle between the sides on Thursday.

Croatia go to Austria on Sunday hoping to book their place in the finals, while Denmark host France. Who finishes top and bottom is still far from certain.

Group A2

Group A2: Remaining fixtures

  • Portugal vs Spain - Braga, Tuesday September 27
  • Switzerland vs Czech Republic - St Gallen, Tuesday September 27

Everything is still very much to play for in Group A2 ahead of the final matchday, with Spain and Portugal playing for a place in the Nations League finals and Switzerland and Czech Republic fighting to avoid relegation.

Luis Enrique's side were knocked off stop spot after being defeated 2-1 by Switzerland on Saturday night, with Portugal's 4-0 win over Czech Republic helping them to the summit. If the they avoid defeat against Spain in Braga on Thursday they will go to next summer's finals.

Czech Republic and Switzerland are out of the running for top spot. The Swiss just need a point to survive in the group, while the Czech's must win in St Gallen on Thursday.

Group A3

Group A3: Remaining fixtures

  • England vs Germany - Wembley, Monday September 26
  • Hungary vs Italy - Budapest, Monday September 26

When A3 was drawn, Hungary quickly appeared to be the favourites to finish bottom of this highly competitive group, but Marco Rossi's side have now collected 10 points from their first five games following Friday evening's 1-0 win over Germany in Leipzig that leaves them needing just a point at home to Italy on Monday to make next summer's finals.

Meanwhile, Italy are just two points behind the leaders thanks to their 1-0 victory against England in San Siro, meaning the European champions will top the group if they win in the Puskas Arena Park.

As for Gareth Southgate's team, defeat in Milan meant relegation to League B.

Group A4

Group A4: Remaining fixtures

  • Netherlands vs Belgium - Amsterdam, Sunday September 25
  • Wales vs Poland - Cardiff, Sunday September 25

The Netherlands and Belgium are in a two-way fight for top spot in Group A4, with Netherlands now aiming to defend their three-point advantage in the decider between the teams on Sunday in Amsterdam.

Belgium beat bottom side Wales 2-1 on Thursday to put Rob Page's side in even greater danger of dropping down to League B, but the Netherlands' 2-0 win over Poland means Wales can still survive with victory over Poland in Cardiff on Sunday.

League B

Group B1

Group B1: Remaining fixtures

  • Republic of Ireland vs Armenia - Dublin, Tuesday September 27
  • Ukraine vs Scotland - Krakow (Poland), Tuesday September 27

The challenge to finish top in Group B1 is still wide open thanks to Scotland and Ukraine. Steve Clarke's side are currently two points clear after coming from behind to beat Republic of Ireland 2-1 on Saturday.

The pair face each other again in Krakow on Tuesday - designated as Ukraine's home match - in a game which will decide which side is promoted to League A and guaranteed a Euro 2024 play-off spot.

Republic of Ireland need to avoid defeat against Armenia at the Aviva Stadium on Tuesday to be certain of their safety.

Group B2

Group B2: Remaining fixtures

  • Albania vs Iceland - Tirana, Tuesday September 27

Only one fixture still needs to be played in B2 due to Russia's disqualification after their invasion of Ukraine but all three remaining sides can still finish top of the group.

Israel guaranteed promotion to League A when they beat Albania 2-1 on Saturday.

Russia's ban means they will automatically be relegated to League C.

Group B3

Group B3: Remaining fixtures

  • Montenegro vs Finland - Podgorica, Monday September 26
  • Romania vs Bosnia and Herzegovina - Bucharest, Monday September 26

Bosnia and Herzegovina ensured promotion to League A by beating Montenegro 1-0 at home on Friday night, while Finland and Romania's fight to avoid relegation goes down to the final matchday following their 1-1 draw in Helsinki, with the hosts only needing to match their opponents' result on Monday to stay in League B.

Group B4

Group B4: Remaining fixtures

  • Norway vs Serbia - Oslo, Tuesday September 27
  • Sweden vs Slovenia - Solna, Tuesday September 27

Promotion from Group B4 to League A is a two-horse race between Norway and Serbia, with both sides level heading into the final matchday.

Serbia made up three points on Norway on Saturday as they beat Sweden 4-1, while their rivals suffered a 2-1 loss at the hands of Slovenia.

Norway just need to avoid defeat to secure promotion as they were victorious over Serbia in the reverse fixture, meaning they would finish higher due to their superior head-to-head record. However, if Serbia win by any margin they would be promoted due to their superior goal difference.

Relegation will also be decided on the final matchday, when bottom side Slovenia travel to Sweden. Slovenia just need a point to clinch survival while Sweden must win.

League C

Group C1

Group C1: Remaining fixtures

  • Faroe Islands vs Turkey - Torshavn, Sunday September 25
  • Luxembourg vs Lithuania - Luxembourg, Sunday September 25

Turkey confirmed their promotion to League B with a draw against Luxembourg on Thursday - but it was far from straightforward for the group leaders, who needed an 87th-minute strike to grab a 3-3 draw with the second-placed side in Group C1.

Meanwhile, Lithuania's draw at home to the Faroe Islands condemns them to relegation to League D with a game still to play.

Group C2

Group C2: Remaining fixtures

  • Greece vs Northern Ireland - Athens, Tuesday September 27
  • Kosovo vs Cyprus - Prishtina, Tuesday September 27

C2 is the only one of the 14 Nations League groups in which promotion has already been decided; Greece will be playing in League B next time around after winning their first four fixtures.

The relegation situation is still up in the air, though, with Northern Ireland in the thick of things. Ian Baraclough's side have five points from a possible 15 and only sit above bottom-placed Cyprus on goal difference.

Northern Ireland must beat Greece on the final matchday or rely on Cyprus dropping points to avoid relegation.

Kosovo were dragged into the relegation battle after being beaten 2-1 by Northern Ireland at Windsor Park on Saturday. They would be at risk if they lost to Cyrpus on the final matchday.

Group C3

Group C3: Remaining fixtures

  • Azerbaijan vs Kazakhstan - Baku, Sunday September 25
  • Slovakia vs Belarus - Trnava, Sunday September 25

Kazakhstan are on their way up to League B after a win over bottom-side Belarus on Thursday gave them an unassailable lead at the top of Group C3.

The result also sealed Belarus' relegation to League D - they are four points adrift of a Slovakia side who lost at home to Azerbaijan on Thursday but with just one game remaining the promotion and relegation battle in this pool is decided.

Group C4

Group C4: Remaining fixtures

  • Gibraltar vs Georgia - Gibraltar, Monday September 26
  • North Macedonia vs Bulgaria - Skopje, Monday September 26

Promotion and relegation from Group C4 were both decided on Friday afternoon when Georgia beat North Macedonia 2-0 in Tbilisi to seal their place in League B, while Bulgaria thrashed Gibraltar 5-1 to see the visitors demoted to League D.

League D

Group D1

Group D1: Remaining fixtures

  • Andorra vs Latvia - Andorra la Vella, Sunday September 25
  • Moldova vs Liechtenstein - Chisinau, Sunday September 25

Moldova have set Latvia up for a nervy finale to their Nations League campaign after moving to within two points of the Group D1 leaders with a 2-1 win away in Riga on Thursday.

Latvia will still finish top if they win in Andorra on Sunday but Moldova will aim to keep the pressure on by beating Liechtenstein - still without a point - at home.

Group D2

Group D2: Remaining fixtures

  • San Marino vs Estonia - Serravalle, Monday September 26

Estonia's last-gasp 2-1 home win over 10-man Malta on Friday afternoon confirmed promotion to League C for the hosts.

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