Uefa to expand Nations League format from 2024

France are the current Nations League champions, having beating Spain in the 2021 final

Uefa says the introduction of quarter-finals and promotion play-offs to a revised Nations League will make it a “more compelling” competition.

The new expanded format will begin in September 2024.

There will still be groups of four but, for the 16 highest-ranked League A teams, the top two will qualify for a two-legged quarter-final in March 2025, with group winners facing runners-up.

The winners of those matches will go into the ‘Final Four’ in June 2025.

As with the current format, the side finishing fourth in their League A group will be relegated.

But a side finishing third will go into a promotion play-off with a side finishing second in League B, and also held over two legs.

Scotland have been promoted to League A for the 2024-25 event, with England relegated to League B alongside Wales, and Northern Ireland are in League C.

“This makes the Nations League a more compelling competition, with more interesting and attractive knockout matches, ” said Uefa deputy general secretary Giorgio Marchetti.

The revised format will trigger changes to the qualification system for the 2026 World Cup and 2028 Euros.

Instead of 10 qualification groups at present, there will be 12, six with five teams and six with four.

Countries who reach the ‘Final Four’ will be placed in a four-team group as their qualification programme cannot begin until September 2025.

The actual qualification process will begin in March 2025, but only with five-team groups and only with countries not still involved in the Nations League.

Uefa says the changes will have no impact on the current international calendar and would fit any alterations world governing body Fifa makes to it.

However, that only applies if Fifa honours the number of dates currently available to European football’s governing body.

The Nations League was launched in 2018 and has so far been won by Portugal and France.

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