England drawn with Spain and Croatia in UEFA Nations League

"It's good to test ourselves in these games", Gareth Southdate said.

Nations League

Nations League

England have been drawn to play Spain and Croatia in Group Four of League A in the UEFA Nations League. Wales, under new manager Ryan Giggs, will face Republic of Ireland and Denmark in League B Group Four. Northern Ireland are in Group Three of League B, and will play Austria and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Scotland, who have are still without a new manager, will play in League C and were drawn into a three-team Group One.

"The whole concept of this tournament is that you play high-quality matches and competitive matches, so that criteria is fulfilled with the group that we're in", said Gareth Southgate, England manager. "Croatia, in particular, we haven't played for a little while so we're looking forward to that and of course to Spain, one of the best teams in the world. It's good to test ourselves in these games. We like the concept of fewer friendlies and the concept of games against high-level teams. I think that's really important."

Elsewhere, world champions Germany meet France and Holland in League A Group One, while Euro 2016 winners Portugal face Italy and Poland in Group Three of the top division. The competition’s format will see four leagues of A, B, C and D, split into four groups of three or four teams, which will replace the majority of friendlies and feature promotion and relegation. The UEFA competition is designed to allow teams to play against those who are similarly ranked – and will offer some who do not qualify for Euro 2020 via the normal route a path to the play-offs. The Nations League competition will see semi-finals, the final and a third-placed game, held between June 5-9, 2019.

The 16 Nations League group winners will go into play-offs for Euro 2020, to be played in March 2020. If they have already qualified for the European Championship the next best-ranked team in their league will take their place in the play-offs. Each league has a path of its own, and will consist of two single leg semi-finals and a one-off final. The winner of each path qualifies for Euro 2020.

At the end of the group stages of the Nations League, those who finish bottom of the groups will be relegated to the league below and four teams will be promoted to the league above. Wales were in the same World Cup qualifying group as the Republic of Ireland, who then went on to suffer a heavy defeat by Denmark in the play-offs to reach Russia.

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