The Nations League: Who do England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland play?

Watch every game of the Nations League live on Sky Sports, with England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in competitive action

Portugal crowned Nations League champions
Image: Portugal won the first Nations League in 2019

The Nations League is back - and you'll be able to watch every game on Sky Sports. Read on to find out who England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are up against, what's at stake - and what it means for World Cup 2022…

The second edition of the Nations League kicks off on Thursday, with Germany v Spain one of the standout ties of the opening round of fixtures, as Portugal look to defend their title.

Cristiano Ronaldo was once again the star in last summer's finals, scoring a hat-trick against Switzerland before helping his country win the inaugural competition in Porto against Netherlands.

England will be looking to improve on their third-place finish this time around, with Gareth Southgate's side aiming to reach the final-four stage again, where the semi-finals and final will be held in September or October 2021.

To do that they'll have to finish top of Group A2, ahead of Belgium, Iceland and Denmark, who they play home and away across the international windows in September, October and November. England kick off their campaign with away games against Iceland on Saturday and Denmark on Tuesday.

Action from England vs Netherlands in the Nations League
Image: England lost their Nations League semi-final to the Netherlands in 2019

England fixtures - Nations League

  • Iceland v England - September 5
  • Denmark v England - September 8
  • England v Belgium - October 11
  • England v Denmark - October 14
  • Belgium v England - November 15
  • England v Iceland - November 18

Northern Ireland are in Group B1 with Austria, Norway and Romania, while Scotland face Czech Republic, Slovakia and Israel in Group B2. Wales are in Group B4 with Republic of Ireland, Finland and Bulgaria.

Those three Home Nations will be aiming to win their respective groups to be promoted to League A for the 2022/23 edition of the Nations League - and also potentially secure a 2022 World Cup play-off spot in the process. More on that below.

Also See:

Northern Ireland fixtures - Nations League

  • Romania v Northern Ireland - September 4
  • Northern Ireland v Norway - September 7
  • Northern Ireland v Austria - October 11
  • Norway v Northern Ireland - October 14
  • Austria v Northern Ireland - November 15
  • Northern Ireland v Romania - November 18

Scotland fixtures - Nations League

  • Scotland v Israel - September 4
  • Czech Republic v Scotland - September 7
  • Scotland v Slovakia - October 11
  • Scotland v Czech Republic - October 14
  • Slovakia v Scotland - November 15
  • Israel v Scotland - November 18

Wales fixtures - Nations League

  • Finland v Wales - September 3
  • Wales v Bulgaria - September 6
  • Republic of Ireland v Wales - October 11
  • Bulgaria v Wales - October 14
  • Wales v Republic of Ireland - November 15
  • Wales v Finland - November 18

How it works

In the Nations League, the 55 European countries are split across four leagues - A, B, C and D.

The top three leagues contain four groups of four teams. League D has two groups - one with four teams, one with three.

Teams are put into leagues based on their ranking from the previous Nations League.

So each team - apart from the trio in the bottom group in League D - will play six matches within their group across the international windows in September, October and November.

Groups have increased in size from three teams to four this time around, as UEFA builds on its policy of having more competitive games and fewer friendlies in the international calendar.

James Forrest scored a hat-trick as Scotland beat Isreal 3-2 in November
Image: Scotland face Israel, Czech Republic and Slovakia in Group B2

The title, promotion and relegation

Teams in League A - which includes England and the likes of France, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands - are battling to become Nations League champions.

To do that, they need to win their group and then progress to the final-four stage, where there will be a semi-final, third-place play-off and final in September or October 2021.

One of the countries which reaches those finals will be selected as the host country for the knockout games.

But promotion and relegation is also on the line too. The last-placed teams in Leagues A and B will be relegated, while the top teams in Leagues B, C and D will be promoted.

The four bottom teams in League C will have a play-off to determine which two drop into the two League D pools.

Northern Ireland lost all four of their games in the Nations League last time around
Image: Northern Ireland lost all four of their games in the first Nations League

World Cup qualification

The first steps towards qualification for the 2022 World Cup for European teams starts here.

The groups for World Cup qualifying will be drawn in November, with teams split across 10 groups. The group winners automatically qualify, while the runners-up go into the play-offs.

That's where the Nations League comes in. The two best Nations League group winners which fail to finish in the top two of their World Cup qualifying group will be handed a second chance to reach Qatar.

They'll go into the play-offs, along with the 10 sides which finish as runners-up in those World Cup qualifying groups.

Wales' forward Gareth Bale attends a training session at The Vale Resort near Hensol in South Wales on August 31, 2020 ahead of their UEFA Nations League international football match against Finland
Image: Gareth Bale has been frozen out at Real Madrid but remains key to Wales' hopes of promotion from League B

When are the games?

Nations League schedule

Round Date
Matchday 1 September 3-5 2020
Matchday 2 September 6-8 2020
Matchday 3 October 10-11 2020
Matchday 4 October 13-14 2020
Matchday 5 November 14-15 2020
Matchday 6 November 17-18 2020
Finals September or October 2021
Relegation play-offs March 24-25 & 28-29 2022

How to watch on Sky Sports

You will be able to watch all 162 Nations League matches live on Sky Sports - plus the semi-finals, third-place play-off and final. Games will be shown across our main channels and via the red button.

Our coverage kicks off on Thursday, with Finland v Wales live on Sky Sports Main Event and Bulgaria v Republic of Ireland on Sky Sports Football. Wales v Bulgaria and Republic of Ireland v Finland on Monday will be shown on both Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Football.

Scotland's opener against Israel on Friday is on Sky Sports Main Event on Friday, along with Romania v Northern Ireland on Sky Sports Football. Czech Republic v Scotland and Northern Ireland v Norway will be shown on Tuesday.

You can watch Iceland v England on Sky Sports Main Event and Football on Sunday, and Denmark v England on the same channels on Wednesday.

For a full rundown of Nations League fixtures and where to watch them on Sky Sports head to our fixture page.

If you're out and about, you can follow all of those Home Nations games on the Sky Sports website and app, where we'll have minute-by-minute updates and show you the goals as they go in.

We'll also have highlights of every game involving the Home Nations and the best of the other Nations League fixtures available too.

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