UEFA Nations League 2020/21 Stadiums & Stats

Almost since the moment that international football was invented, there have been complaints about the way that the preparatory games for tournaments like the World Cup and European Championships interfered with the domestic football calendar.

Rather than confront those complaints in any meaningful manner, UEFA decided to come up with a third tournament that has been given the moniker of the UEFA Nations League. It is not a tournament in the same way as the other two are, instead essentially being just a more organised way of playing international friendlies.

In this article we’ll tell you how the UEFA Nations League came about, including the moment that it was first revealed that a third international tournament was being considered by the governing body of European football. We’ll tell you how teams qualify for it, how it works and any other information that we think is readily available. Of course we will as always tell you all about the major stadiums involved and all the fixtures along the way.

The inaugural Nations League group stage was completed in 2018 with the four League A group winners progressing to the finals in June 2019: England, Portugal, Netherlands & Switzerland. The host is selected from among the semi-finalists and it was Portugal that was chosen to host the first ever finals. Portugal won the first ever event in their home country.

The second edition of the tournament will take place in 2020/2021, with the group phase from September to November 2020 and the finals in June 2021.

UEFA Nations League 2020/21 Stadiums

Stadium Location League Group Capacity
Fisht Olympic Stadium Sochi, Russia B TBC 47,659
San Siro Milan, Italy A TBC 80,018
Johan Cruyff Arena Amsterdam, Netherlands A TBC 53,502
Baku National Stadium Baku, Azerbaijan C TBC 69,870
Allianz Arena Munich, Germany A TBC 75,000
Cardiff City Stadium Cardiff, Wales B TBC 33,280
Stadion Maksimir Zagreb, Croatia A TBC 38,079
Wembley London, England A TBC 90,000
Kaliningrad Stadium Konigsberg, Russia B TBC 35,212
Parken Stadium Copenhagen, Denmark A TBC 38,065
Veltins-Arena Gelsenkirchen, Germany A TBC 62,271
De Kuip Rotterdam, Netherlands A TBC 51,177
Stade De France Paris, France A TBC 81,338
Puskás Arena Budapest, Hungary B TBC 67,899
Aviva Stadium Dublin, Ireland B TBC 51,700
Windsor Park Belfast, Northern Ireland B TBC 18,434
Rajko Mitić Stadium Belgrade, Serbia B TBC 55,538
Hampden Park Glasgow, Scotland B TBC 51,866
Arena Națională Bucharest, Romania B TBC 55,634
Friends Arena Stockholm, Sweden A TBC 50,653
The Principality Stadium Cardiff, Wales B TBC 74,500

Group Stages

League A

CountryFinal RankGroupGroup PositionW-D-LPoints
Portugal 1 3 1 2-2-0 8
Netherlands 2 1 1 2-1-1 7
England 3 4 1 2-1-1 7
Switzerland 4 2 1 3-0-1 9
Belgium 5 2 2 3-0-1 9
France 6 1 2 2-1-1 7
Spain 7 4 2 2-02 6
Italy 8 3 2 1-2-1 5
Croatia 9 4 3 1-1-2 4
Poland 10 3 3 0-2-2 2
Germany 11 1 3 0-2-2 2
Iceland 12 2 3 0-0-4 0

League B

CountryFinal RankGroupGroup PositionW-D-LPoints
Bos & Herz 13 3 1 3-1-0 10
Ukraine 14 1 1 3-0-1 9
Denmark 15 4 1 2-2-0 8
Sweden 16 2 1 2-1-1 7
Russia 17 2 2 2-1-1 7
Austria 18 3 2 2-1-1 7
Wales 19 4 2 2-0-2 6
Czech Rep 20 1 2 2-0-2 6
Slovakia 21 1 3 1-0-3 3
Turkey 22 2 3 1-0-3 3
Ireland 23 4 3 0-2-2 2
N. Ireland 24 3 3 0-0-4 0

League C

CountryFinal RankGroupGroup PositionW-D-LPoints
Scotland 25 1 1 3-0-1 9
Norway 26 3 1 4-1-1 13
Serbia 27 4 1 4-2-0 14
Finland 28 2 1 4-0-2 12
Bulgaria 29 3 2 3-2-1 11
Israel 30 1 2 2-0-2 6
Hungary 31 2 2 3-1-2 10
Romania 32 4 2 3-3-0 12
Greece 33 2 3 3-0-3 9
Albania 34 1 3 1-1-4 3
Montenegro 35 4 3 2-1-3 7
Cyprus 36 3 3 1-2-3 5
Estonia 37 2 4 1-1-4 4
Slovenia 38 3 4 0-3-3 3
Lithuania 39 4 4 0-0-6 0

League D

CountryFinal RankGroupGroup PositionW-D-LPoints
Georgia 40 1 1 3 16
Macedonia 41 4 1 4 15
Kosovo 42 3 1 2 14
Belarus 43 2 1 1 14
Luxembourg 44 2 2 4 10
Armenia 45 4 2 1 10
Azerbaijan 46 3 2 3 9
Khazakhstan 47 1 2 2 6
Moldova 48 2 3 1 9
Gibraltar 49 4 3 2 6
Faroe Is 50 3 3 4 5
Latvia 51 1 3 3 4
Liech'stein 52 4 4 1 4
Andorra 53 1 4 3 4
Malta 54 3 4 2 3
San Marino 55 2 4 4 0

Tournament Format

Qualification

nations league group structureThe short answer to the question of qualification for the tournament is that there is no need to qualify as such. After all, the hope is that this competition will replace the friendlies that are currently played according to FIFA’s International Match Calendar. As such, all fifty-five national teams from UEFA’s associate members will be eligible to take part.

One thing that is worth noting is that the tournament will be linked to qualifying for the UEFA European Championships and World Cup. That means that teams that don’t quality for the Euros or World Cup via traditional means will have the chance to do so via the UEFA Nations League. That’s not something that’s been met with universal approval, however. It’s felt that it will allow weaker teams to qualify who might not otherwise be able to do so, thereby cheapening the quality of both competitions.

The Group Stages

tournament strutureThe competition sees the fifty-five national sides that are part of UEFA split into four different Leagues. League A will be the top-seeded division and will feature twelve teams, which is the same number as will play in League B. League C will have fifteen sides in it, whilst League D will be the largest with sixteen teams.

Those Leagues are then be split into four groups, with different numbers of teams depending on the number of sides in each league. Each team in a group plays each other home and away.

There are three teams in four groups for leagues A and B. League C has 15 teams and this odd number means some groups have 3 and some 4 teams, the top group has three teams and the remaining three groups have four teams. League D is made up simply of four groups or four teams.

The Nations League Finals

nations league football in a netNever an organisation to shy away from complicating things unnecessarily, UEFA have then decided to allow the winners of each group in League A to compete against other to become the UEFA Nations League Champion. They’ll play in two semi-finals and then a final in order to determine this in June the following year. A play-off is held for third place.

The host for the finals is chosen from among the four semi-finalists. For the inaugural tournament in 2018-19 Portugal was chosen as host nation.

Promotion And Relegation

It’s not just the teams in League A that get to have all of the fun, however. Teams from all leagues can be promoted or relegated according to how they perform across all of their matches.

Each winner of each group in Leagues B, C and D will be promoted to the League above. This means four teams from each league are promoted.

Teams that finish bottom of the group in Leagues A, B and C are relegated. Of course those that finish bottom in League D have not further to go and so stay where they are, only losing their own pride. This means the four lowest placed teams in each group being relegated down a division to compensate.

Prize Money

Armenia vs Gibraltar UEFA Nations League D 2018
Armenia vs Gibraltar UEFA Nations League D 2018 - Preacher lad [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Teams receive a base fee for taking part, this is €2.25M for league A, €1.5M league B, €1.125M league C and €0.75M league D. Each group winner then receives an additional bonus equal to the league fee.

The winner of the Nations League finals will receive a trophy and €6 million in prize money, the runner up gets €4.5M. There is also a third place play-off with 3rd placed team pocketing €3.5M and fourth place €2.5M. This is in addition to group winner and base fees.

The maximum a team can win therefore is €10.5M for winning the final. The maximum a league B team can win is €3M, league C is €2.25 and league D is €1.5.

World Cup and Euro Qualification

One of the biggest draws for smaller European teams playing in the Nations League, other than the fact they will play more equal opposition, is the ability for some teams to earn Euro and World Cup qualifying spots.

For the 2020 Euros 20 of the 24 spots will be determined through the main qualification process. The remaining 4 places are available through a Nations League play-off.

There are play-offs for each league A-D, each group winner automatically gains a spot, if those teams have already qualified for the Euros through the main path then that place will be given to the next ranked team, and so on. If less than four teams in a league remain unqualified then the play-off spots drop to the next league. This could most likely happen for League A, with extra places dropping to League B.

Once 16 unqualified teams have been selected into four groups there will then be a play-off in March 2020. Each group winner will gain one of the four remaining European Championship spots.

A similar process will be in place for European qualification to the World Cup 2022 in Qatar.

Previous Winners

YearHostFinal ResultStadium
2020-21TBDv?TBD
2018-19PortugalPortugalvSwitzerland1-0Estádio do Dragão

KEY: AET - After Extra Time, PS - Penalty Shoot Out

Home Nation Results

Finals

CountryAppsGamesWinsDrawsLosesHighestGoals FGoals AHosted
England121013rd Place130
Wales---------
Scotland---------
N. Ireland---------

League Phase

CountryGamesWinsDrawsLosesFAGroup WinsLeague WinsHighest League
England42116510A
Wales42026500B
Scotland430110410B
N. Ireland40042700C

UEFA Nations League Stats

Tournament Stats
First Year 2018-19
Number of Teams 55
Number of Finalists 4
Number of Leagues 4 (A, B, C & D)
Number of Groups 16 (4 in each league)
Most Goals 342 (2018/19)
Least Goals 342 (2018/19)
Highest Goals / Game2.41 (2018/19)
Base Fee League A Team€2,250,000
Base Fee League B Team€1,500,000
Base Fee League C Team€1,125,000
Base Fee League D Team€750,000
Prize Money League A Group Winner €2,250,000
Prize Money League B Group Winner €1,500,000
Prize Money League C Group Winner €1,125,000
Prize Money League D Group Winner €750,000
Prize Money Finals 4th Place €2,500,000
Prize Money Finals 3rd Place €3,500,000
Prize Money Finals Runner-Up €4,500,000
Prize Money Finals Winner €6,000,000
Team / Country Stats
Most Final Wins1 (Portugal)
Most Final Appearances 1 (Portugal, Netherlands)
Consecutive Winners TBD
Most Matches 6 (Multiple)
Most Wins 5 (Macedonia, Georgia)
Most Loses 6 (San Marino, Lithuania)
Most Draws 4 (Latvia, Andora)
Most Goals Scored 15 (Switzerland, Kosovo)
Most Goals Conceded 16 (San Marino, Lithuania)
Penalty Shoot Outs 1 (England, Switzerland)
Most League A Wins 1 (Portugal)
Most League B Wins 1 (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Most League C Wins 1 (Scotland)
Most League D Wins 1 (Georgia)
Player Stats
Top Scorer (Single Tournament) Aleksandar Mitrovic (6 - Serbia)
Top Scorer (League Phase) Aleksandar Mitrovic (6 - Serbia)
Top Scorer (Final Phase) Christiano Ronaldo (3 - Portugal)
Top Scorer (All Time) Aleksandar Mitrovic (6 - Serbia)
Most Medals 1 (Multiple)
Most Appearances 6 (Multiple)
Youngest Unknown
Oldest Unknown

About the UEFA Nations League

How It Got Started

nations league banner on the sidelines

The first real murmurs about the idea of a UEFA Nations League came about in 2013 when the President of the Norwegian Football Association, Yngve Hallén, confirmed that talks had been ongoing.

He stressed that it was only at the design stage of proceedings at that point, with subsequent information revealing that conversations actually began as long ago as 2011 during the UEFA Strategy Meeting that took place in Cyprus.

More conversations took place over the following years, with the organisation eventually adopting the new tournament at the XXXVIII Ordinary UEFA Congress that was held in Astana on the 27th of March 2014.

What People Have Said About It

nations league footballs with logosAfter the tournament was officially adopted by UEFA in unanimous fashion, the General Secretary of the organisation, Gianni Infantino, said that he hoped that it would allow smaller, less glamorous nations to play games against those that are considering amongst the biggest and best in world football. Greg Dyke, the Chairman of the Football Association at the time, agreed, declaring that it was a ‘very attractive’ way of organising international football.

The General Secretary of the Royal Belgian Football Association, Steven Martens, was thinking about the money, declaring that even the smallest of sides would benefit as the television money would be centralised. Most supporters, meanwhile, didn’t realise anything had changed.

The Trophy

nations league trophy abstractThe UEFA President, Aleksander Čeferin, revealed the design of the competition’s trophy to the world’s press ahead of the draw for the 2018-2019 tournament. It was inspired by the logo for the event itself, which is the first time that’s happened in a UEFA tournament.

It features a flag, representing the fifty-five nations that will compete, wrapped around a flag pole. The entire thing is made of sterling silver, with the interesting touch of competition’s colours being found on the inside of the design. Those colours can then be seen reflected off the silver as the trophy is moved around.

The trophy was designed by a creative design agency called Young & Rubicam, of whom Hélder Pombinho is the Creative Director. It weight seven and a half kilograms and stands at seventy-one centimetres tall, with the aim being that the winning captain of the tournament’s victorious side will lift it aloft as though hosting up the flags of all nations to the pinnacle of the sport. Essentially, exactly the sort of nonsense that you’d expect from a creative design agency.

The Anthem

Belarus v San Marino UEFA Nations League 2018
Belarus v San Marino UEFA Nations League 2018 - Homoatrox [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

UEFA never miss out on an opportunity to come up with some music if they get the chance, so of course the UEFA Nations League is no exception. It’s a bespoke composition that was recorded by a philharmonic orchestra, complete with a Latin singing choir.

It’s not all fuddy-duddy and old-fashioned, however. The more classical aspect of the tune are mixed in with electronic music to create either something contemporary and fresh, or else something that no one will enjoy listening to at any point. It will be used on television adverts for the tournament, when players enter the field of play and during trophy ceremonies.

When Does It Take Place

Allianz Arena Illuminated During the UEFA Nations league 2018-19 Group stage. Germany vs France
Allianz Arena Illuminated During the UEFA Nations league 2018-19 Group stage. Germany vs France - CN glitches [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

The Pool Stage of the tournament, also known as the Group Stage, will be played from September to November in even years. That means that the group games will come hot on the heels of both major international tournaments, beginning not long after the domestic league seasons have got back underway.

The Nations League Finals of League A, meanwhile, will take place in June of odd-numbered years, resulting in a UEFA Nations League champion being crowned every two years in between the World Cup and European Championships.