UEFA Nations League Confirms Division Structure For Inaugural Competition
Wales' World Cup "misery was compounded" on Wednesday after UEFA revealed the national side "had been pipped" by the Netherlands to a place in the top division of its new Nations League, according to Ben Rumsby of the London TELEGRAPH. Wales had been "on course to challenge the likes of England, Germany, Spain, Italy and France for the inaugural title" in European football's third major int'l competition but lost out by "less than 600 coefficient points." The results of the past week's World Cup qualifiers "cemented each country's starting position in the Nations League" -- a biennial four-division tournament which replaces friendly matches from September. Joining England, Germany, Spain, Italy, France and the Netherlands in League A will be Portugal, Belgium, Switzerland, Poland, Iceland and Croatia. Teams play their group rivals home and away between September and November, with the winners advancing to a finals tournament that will take place in June '19 and will feature semifinals, a third-place playoff and the final itself "to determine the inaugural Nations League champion." A "streamlined qualification stage of the European Championship will be sandwiched between the Nations League" from March-Nov. '19 and will consist of 10 groups, with the top two teams progressing automatically to the finals (TELEGRAPH, 10/11).