6 September - 20 November 2018
Nations League Finals:
5-9 June 2019
|Goals scored||342 (2.41 per match)|
|Attendance||2,467,041 (17,374 per match)|
|Top scorer(s)||Aleksandar Mitrovi?|
The 2018-19 UEFA Nations League was the inaugural season of the UEFA Nations League, an international association football competition involving the men's national teams of the 55 member associations of UEFA. The league phase of the competition was played between September and November 2018, with the finals tournament for the group winners from League A taking place in Portugal in June 2019. Team performances in the league phase were used to seed teams for the qualifying group stage of UEFA Euro 2020, and will award berths in the play-offs, which will decide four of the twenty-four final tournament slots.
The format and schedule of the UEFA Nations League was formally approved by the UEFA Executive Committee on 4 December 2014. According to the approved format, the 55 UEFA national teams will be divided into four divisions (called "leagues"): 12 teams in League A, 12 teams in League B, 15 teams in League C, and 16 teams in League D. For the 2018-19 UEFA Nations League, teams are divided according to their UEFA national team coefficients after the conclusion of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers (play-off results are not included), with the highest-ranked teams playing in League A, etc.
Each league is divided into four groups of three or four teams, so each team plays four or six matches within their group (using the home-and-away round-robin format), on double matchdays in September, October and November 2018.
In the top division, League A, teams compete to become the UEFA Nations League champions. The four group winners of League A qualify for the Nations League Finals in June 2019, which is played in a knockout format, consisting of the semi-finals, third place play-off, and final. The semi-final pairings, along with the administrative home teams for the third place play-off and final, were determined by means of an open draw on 3 December 2018. The host country will be selected among the four qualified teams on 3 December 2018 by the UEFA Executive Committee, with the winners of the final crowned as the Nations League champions.
Teams also compete for promotion and relegation to a higher or lower league. In each league, the four group winners (except League A) are promoted, while the last-placed teams of each group (except League D) are relegated; however, in League C, due to different sized groups, the three fourth-placed teams and the lowest-ranking third-placed team are relegated. However, due to revamp of the format for the 2020-21 UEFA Nations League, no teams were eventually relegated, and some second-placed teams were also promoted.
If two or more teams in the same group are equal on points on completion of the league phase, the following tie-breaking criteria are applied:
To determine the worst third-placed team in League C, the results against the teams in fourth place are discarded. The following criteria are applied:
Individual league rankings are established according to the following criteria:
In order to rank teams in leagues composed of different sized groups, the following procedure applies:
The ranking of the top 4 teams in League A are determined by their finish in the Nations League Finals:
For the purposes of the European Championship qualifying group stage draw and the European qualifying play-offs, overall UEFA Nations League rankings are established as follows:
The main qualifying process began in March 2019 instead of immediately in September 2018 following the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and will end in November 2019. The format will remain largely the same, although only 20 of the 24 spots for the finals tournament will be decided from the main qualifying process, leaving four spots still to be decided. The 55 teams will be drawn into 10 groups after the completion of the UEFA Nations League (five groups of five teams and five groups of six teams, with the four UEFA Nations League Finals participants guaranteed to be drawn into groups of five teams), with the top two teams in each group qualifying. The draw seeding will be based on the overall rankings of the Nations League. The qualifiers will be played on double matchdays in March, June, September, October and November 2019.
Following the qualifying group stage, the qualifying play-offs will take place in June 2020. Unlike previous editions, the participants of the play-offs will not be decided based on results from the qualifying group stage. Instead, 16 teams will be selected based on their performance in the Nations League. These teams will be divided into four paths, each containing four teams, with one team from each path qualifying for the final tournament. Each league will have its own play-off path if at least four teams are available. The Nations League group winners will automatically qualify for the play-off path of their league. If a group winner has already qualified through the conventional qualifying group stage, they will be replaced by the next best-ranked team in the same league. However, if there are not enough teams in the same league, then the spot will go to the next best team in the overall ranking. However, group winners cannot face teams from a higher league.
Each play-off path will feature two single-leg semi-finals, and one single-leg final. The best-ranked team will host the fourth-ranked team, and the second-ranked team will host the third-ranked team. The host of the final will be decided by a draw, with semi-final winner 1 or 2 hosting the final. The four play-off path winners will join the 20 teams which have already qualified for UEFA Euro 2020.
Below is the schedule of the 2018-19 UEFA Nations League.
|League phase||Matchday 1||6-8 September 2018|
|Matchday 2||9-11 September 2018|
|Matchday 3||11-13 October 2018|
|Matchday 4||14-16 October 2018|
|Matchday 5||15-17 November 2018|
|Matchday 6||18-20 November 2018|
|Finals||Semi-finals||5-6 June 2019|
|Third place play-off||9 June 2019|
All 55 UEFA national teams are eligible to compete in the 2018-19 UEFA Nations League. The 55 members at the time would be divided into the four "Leagues" (12 teams in League A, 12 teams in League B, 15 teams in League C, and 16 teams in League D) according to their UEFA national team coefficients after the conclusion of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers (not including the play-offs), with the highest-ranked teams playing in League A, etc. The seeding pots for the draw were announced on 7 December 2017.
For political reasons, Armenia and Azerbaijan (due to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict), as well as Russia and Ukraine (due to the Russian military intervention in Ukraine), could not be drawn in the same group. Due to winter venue restrictions, a group could contain a maximum of two of the following teams: Norway, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania. Due to excessive travel restrictions, any group could contain a maximum of one of the following pairs: Andorra and Kazakhstan, Faroe Islands and Kazakhstan, Gibraltar and Kazakhstan, Gibraltar and Azerbaijan.
|1||Netherlands||4||2||1||1||8||4||+4||7[b]||Qualification to Nations League Finals||—||2-0||3-0|
|1||Switzerland||4||3||0||1||14||5||+9||9[b]||Qualification to Nations League Finals||—||5-2||6-0|
|1||Portugal||4||2||2||0||5||3||+2||8||Qualification to Nations League Finals||—||1-0||1-1|
|1||England||4||2||1||1||6||5||+1||7||Qualification to Nations League Finals||—||1-2||2-1|
The host of the Nations League Finals, Portugal, was selected from the four qualified teams. The semi-finals pairings were determined by means of an open draw, along with the administrative home teams for the third place play-off and final. The draw took place on 3 December 2018, 14:30 CET (13:30 local time), at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin, Republic of Ireland. For scheduling purposes, the semi-final pairing involving the host team was considered to be semi-final 1.
|5 June 2019 - Porto|
|9 June 2019 - Porto|
|6 June 2019 - Guimarães|
|Third place play-off|
|9 June 2019 - Guimarães|
|England (p)||0 (6)|
|1||Ukraine||4||3||0||1||5||5||0||9||Promotion to League A||—||1-0||1-0|
|1||Sweden||4||2||1||1||5||3||+2||7[b]||Promotion to League A||—||2-0||2-3|
|1||Bosnia and Herzegovina||4||3||1||0||5||1||+4||10||Promotion to League A||—||1-0||2-0|
|1||Denmark||4||2||2||0||4||1||+3||8||Promotion to League A||—||2-0||0-0|
|3||Republic of Ireland||4||0||2||2||1||5||−4||2||0-0||0-1||—|
|1||Scotland||4||3||0||1||10||4||+6||9||Promotion to League B||—||3-2||2-0|
|1||Finland||6||4||0||2||5||3||+2||12||Promotion to League B||—||1-0||2-0||1-0|
|1||Norway||6||4||1||1||7||2||+5||13||Promotion to League B||—||1-0||2-0||1-0|
|1||Serbia||6||4||2||0||11||4||+7||14||Promotion to League B||—||2-2||2-1||4-1|
|1||Georgia||6||5||1||0||12||2||+10||16||Promotion to League C||—||2-1||1-0||3-0|
|1||Belarus||6||4||2||0||10||0||+10||14||Promotion to League C||—||1-0||0-0||5-0|
|1||Kosovo||6||4||2||0||15||2||+13||14||Promotion to League C||—||4-0||2-0||3-1|
|1||Macedonia||6||5||0||1||14||5||+9||15||Promotion to League C||—||2-0||4-0||4-1|
|1||D2||Moldova||6||2||3||1||4||5||−1||9||Promotion to League C|
|League A||League B|
|League C||League D|
The prize money to be distributed was announced in March 2018, with a total of EUR76.25 million in solidarity and bonus fees due to be distributed to the 55 participating national teams. However, in October 2018, the solidarity fees and bonus payments for group winners were increased by 50%, while the bonuses for the teams appearing in the Nations League Finals also increased, resulting in a total of EUR112.875 million in prize money.
The solidarity fees per team were scaled by league:
In addition, the group winners of each league received the following bonus fees:
The four group winners of League A, which participated in the Nations League Finals, also received the following bonus fees based on performance:
This meant that the maximum amount of solidarity and bonus fees was EUR10.5 million for a team from League A, EUR3 million for a team from League B, EUR2.25 million for a team from League C, and EUR1.5 million for a team from League D.
Teams who fail in the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying group stage may still qualify for the final tournament via the play-offs. Each league in the UEFA Nations League will be allocated one of the four remaining UEFA Euro 2020 places. Four teams from each league who have not already qualified for the European Championship finals will compete in the play-offs of their league, to be played in June 2020. The play-off berths will be first allocated to each group winner, and if any of the group winners have already qualified for the European Championship finals, then to the next best ranked team of the league, etc.