UEFA Nations League 2024-2025 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 - although it does offer an alternative route to Euro and World Cup qualification, as Scotland found out to their benefit in 2020 and Wales in 2022.

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 first three editions of the Nations League have generally been a success. Portugal won the first ever event in their home country in 2019. The second edition of the tournament took place in 2020/2021 with France the overall victors as Italy hosted. In the most recent tournament in 2022/2023 it was Spain who came out on top with the Netherlands as hosts.

The fourth edition of the tournament runs from 2024-2025. The league phase will be held in September & November 2024 (6 matchdays) with the finals due to be held from in June 2025. For this tournament, however, there is a new quarter-final stage to be held in March 2025 between the winners and runner-up in League A groups. This will be played alongside a new promotion/relegation play-off tournament for all leagues. You can read about those format changes further down.

Note that UEFA made the decision to suspend Russia from the 22/23 and 24/25 tournament, they have automatically been relegated to league C for the next tournament and will likely end up relegated again to League D for 2026/2027.

UEFA Nations League 2024-2025 Stadiums

Stadium Location League Group Capacity
Fisht Olympic Stadium Sochi, Russia B 2 47,659
San Siro Milan, Italy A 3 80,018
Johan Cruyff Arena Amsterdam, Netherlands A 4 55,000
Baku National Stadium Baku, Azerbaijan C 3 69,870
Allianz Arena Munich, Germany A 3 75,000
Borussia-Park Mönchengladbach, Germany A 3 54,057
Cardiff City Stadium Cardiff, Wales A 4 33,280
Stadion Maksimir Zagreb, Croatia A 1 35,123
Wembley London, England A 3 90,000
Kaliningrad Stadium Konigsberg, Russia B 2 35,212
Parken Stadium Copenhagen, Denmark A 1 38,065
Veltins-Arena Gelsenkirchen, Germany A 3 62,271
De Kuip Rotterdam, Netherlands A 4 51,177
Stade De France Paris, France A 1 81,338
Puskás Arena Budapest, Hungary A 3 67,215
Aviva Stadium Dublin, Ireland B 1 51,700
Juventus Stadium Turin, Italy A 3 41,507
Windsor Park Belfast, Northern Ireland C 2 18,434
Georgios Karaiskakis Piraeus, Greece C 2 32,115
Red Bull Arena (Leipzig) Leipzig, Germany A 3 47,069
Rajko Mitić Stadium Belgrade, Serbia B 4 53,000
Hampden Park Glasgow, Scotland B 1 51,866
Sinobo Stadium Prague, Czech Republic A 2 20,800
Estadio Jose Alvalade Lisbon, Portugal A 2 50,095
Arena Națională Bucharest, Romania B 3 55,634
Friends Arena Stockholm, Sweden B 4 54,329
Atatürk Olympic Stadium Istanbul, Turkey C 1 76,761
The Principality Stadium Cardiff, Wales A 4 74,500
Molineux Birmingham, England 3 A 31,750

Group Stages

League A

Country2021 RankGroupGroup PositionW-D-LPoints
France 1 1 - - -
Denmark 7 1 - - -
Croatia 12 1 - - -
Austria 17 1 - - -
Spain 2 2 - - -
Portugal 5 2 - - -
Switzerland 11 2 - - -
Czech Rep 19 2 - - -
Italy 3 3 - - -
Germany 8 3 - - -
England 9 3 - - -
Hungary 20 3 - - -
Belgium 4 4 - - -
Netherlands 6 4 - - -
Poland 10 4 - - -
Wales 17 4 - - -

League B

Country2021 RankGroupGroup PositionW-D-LPoints
Ukraine 13 1 - - -
Scotland 23 1 - - -
Ireland 28 1 - - -
Armenia 36 1 - - -
Iceland 16 2 - - -
Russia 24 2 - - -
Israel 26 2 - - -
Albania 35 2 - - -
Bos & Herz 15 3 - - -
Finland 21 3 - - -
Romania 25 3 - - -
Montenegro 34 3 - - -
Sweden 14 4 - - -
Norway 22 4 - - -
Serbia 27 4 - - -
Slovenia 33 4 - - -

League C

Country2021 RankGroupGroup PositionW-D-LPoints
Turkey 29 1 - - -
Luxembourg 39 1 - - -
Lithuania 41 1 - - -
Faroe Is 50 1 - - -
N. Ireland 32 2 - - -
Greece 37 2 - - -
Kosovo 44 2 - - -
Cyprus or Estonia 46 2 - - -
Slovakia 30 3 - - -
Belarus 38 3 - - -
Azerbaijan 43 3 - - -
Khazakhstan 45 3 - - -
Bulgaria 31 4 - - -
Macedonia 40 4 - - -
Georgia 42 4 - - -
Gibraltar 49 4 - - -

League D

Country2021 RankGroupGroup PositionW-D-LPoints
Liech'stein 51 1 - - -
Moldova 49 1 - - -
Andorra 55 1 - - -
Latvia 53 1 - - -
Malta 52 2 - - -
Cyprus or Estonia 50 2 - - -
San Marino 54 2 - - -

Tournament Format


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. The format changed after the inaugural competition, initially leagues A & B had 12 teams with 4 groups of 3, League C had 15 teams with groups of 3 or 4 and League D had 16 teams with four groups of 4. The idea was the winners of League A groups would go to the finals and winners of other League groups would be promoted, group losers would be relegated. In the aftermath of the tournament however UEFA decided to scrap relegation that time around and teams were only promoted. This increased the size of the Leagues A-C and decreases the size of League D.

League A is the top-seeded division and features sixteen teams, which is the same number as play in League B and League C. League D now has seven sides in it. Those Leagues are then be split into four groups (2 groups for League D), with four teams in each group with the exception of League D group two that has 3 teams. Each team in a group plays each other home and away.

The effect of these changes results in an increase in the overall number of Nations League group matches from 138 to 168, whether that was called for or not in another thing as we know UEFA's favourite thing to do is keep expanding competitions.

Quarter-Finals and Promotion / Relegation Play-Offs

Pre-show of the Nations League finals 2021 in Milan
Wackotaku, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

For 2024/25 the format changed again. Now the four teams that win the League A groups do not progress directly to the semi-finals the following June. Instead the group winners play the group runners-up in a two-legged home and away quarter-final the following March. The group winners playing the second legs at home. This will define the four team that progress to the finals proper.

The teams that win the groups in League B, C & D will still be automatically promoted and the teams at the bottom of the groups in Leagues A and B will still be automatically relegated (as England were in 2023). As League D only has two groups only the worst two teams from League C are automatically relegated - this is changed from the 2022/23 edition where 'play-outs' were held to decide if teams were relegated or not.

The new promotion / relegation tournament in March will see third placed teams from League A & B play group runners-up from Leagues B & C in a two-legged play-off, as with the Quarter-Finals. The winner of that match either being promoted (if runners-up) or staying in the league (if third-placed).

The result of this is a further increase in the total number of matches now played in the tournament. Will UEFA ever stop adding more matches?

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 quarter-finals 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, for 2021 Italy were chosen as group A1 winners in each instance. In 2022/23 all nations in group A4 expressed an interest in hosting and as it was The Netherlands that made it to the finals they hosted.

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, €1.25M 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 €6.0 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.

Winners Portugal took home €10.5M in 2019, France took €11M in 2021 and Spain bagged €12M in 2023. The total prize money budget in 2023 was €76.25M

World Cup and Euro Qualification

world cup
Deutsche Bundespost via Wikimedia Commons

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 were determined through the main qualification process. The remaining 4 places became available through a Nations League play-off. For 2024 that was reduced to 3 places due to Germany qualifying as hosts automatically and 20 places being available through the conventional Euros qualifying.

There are play-offs for each league A-D (or A-C if there are only 3 places), 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 (or 12 teams if only 3 places available) have been selected into four groups there will then be a play-off the following spring. Each group winner will gain one of the four/three remaining European Championship spots.

In 2020 Scotland, North Macedonia, Slovakia and Hungary qualified via this route.

A similar process took place for European qualification to the World Cup 2022 in Qatar. This time only 3 extra spots are available, however. The two best Nations League teams that have not already qualified joined the 10 world cup group runners up in a play-off. The 12 teams were split into three paths playing a semi-final and final for each path. This resulted in Wales, Poland and Portugal qualifying for Qatar.

It is not known yet what the system will be for the 2026 World Cup but with this being expanded to 48 teams and Europe having 16 spots it is likely the Nations League will have some involvement.

Previous Winners

YearHostFinal ResultStadium
2022-23NetherlandsCroatiavSpain0-0 AET (4-5 PS)De Kuip
2020-21ItalyFrancevSpain2-1San Siro
2018-19PortugalPortugalvSwitzerland1-0Estádio do Dragão

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

Home Nation Results


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

League Phase

CountryGamesWinsDrawsLosesFAGroup WinsRelegatedHighest League
N. Ireland161411132801B

UEFA Nations League Stats

Tournament Stats
First Year 2018-19
Number of Teams 55
Number of Finalists 8
Number of Leagues 4 (A, B, C & D)
Number of Groups 14 (4 league A-C, 2 league D)
Most Goals 423 (2022/23)
Least Goals 342 (2018/19)
Highest Goals / Game2.64 (2022/23)
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
Highest Attendance 3,219,559 (2022/23)
Lowest Attendance 222,505 (2020/21)
Team / Country Stats
Most Final Wins1 (Portugal, France, Spain)
Most Final Appearances 2 (Spain)
Consecutive Winners TBD
Player Stats
Top Scorer (Single Tournament) Aleksandar Mitrovic (6 - Serbia 2019 & 2023), Erling Haaland (6 - Norway 2021 & 2023), Ferran Torres (6 - Spain 2021)
Top Scorer (League Phase) 6 - Multiple
Top Scorer (Final Phase) Christiano Ronaldo (3 - Portugal 2019)
Top Scorer (All Time) Aleksandar Mitrovic (14 - Serbia)
Most Medals 1 (Multiple)

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 March and 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. Well that is the plan anyway, although in 2020 the suspension of the Euros to 2021 due to corona virus pushed the Nations League finals back to October.