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Essential guide to the Uefa Nations League ahead of tournament kick-off

England begins campaign on home soil Wembley as they take on previous World Cup Champions Germany.

Read down for tournament guidelines

UEFA have introduced this tournament to give national teams more competitive matches and fewer meaningless friendlies.

It has a group stage, a final tournament and a trophy for the winner.

What is the format?

The 55 European countries have been split into four leagues — A, B, C and D — based on their UEFA ranking.

As England are one of the 12 best-ranked sides, they are in League A.

Each league has been split into four mini-groups, with England pitted against Spain and Croatia in Group 4.

Gareth Southgate’s side will face both teams home and away between now and November, starting with the Spanish at Wembley on Saturday.

Can teams qualify for Euro 2020 through the Nations League?

They can. Four teams will qualify via the Nations League play-offs and join the 20 teams who will take their places for Euro 2020 through a qualifying group as normal.

How do the play-offs work?

The four mini-group winners from each of the Nations League tiers — A, B, C and D — will contest a one-off semi-final, followed by a final, in March 2020.

The winners of the play-off final in each of the four leagues will then qualify for Euro 2020.

It means that if England beat Spain and Croatia to the top of their mini-group this autumn, they could still go on to claim a play-off place for Euro 2020 even if they mess up in their qualifying campaign next year.

What if England do not require the play-offs?

If England win their Nations League group this autumn but also finish in the top two of their qualifying group next year, their play-off place will go to the next best Nations League side who have not already qualified.

NATIONS LEAGUE – THE GROUPS

The Nations League trophy, which will be contested in summer 2019 by the four teams who top their groups in League A
The Nations League trophy, which will be contested in summer 2019 by the four teams who top their groups in League A

LEAGUE A

Group A1: Germany, France, Netherlands

Group A2: Belgium, Switzerland, Iceland

Group A3: Portugal, Italy, Poland

Group A4: Spain, England, Croatia

LEAGUE B

Group B1: Slovakia, Ukraine, Czech Republic

Group B2: Russia, Sweden, Turkey

Group B3: Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Northern Ireland

Group B4: Wales, Republic of Ireland, Denmark

LEAGUE C

Group C1: Scotland, Albania, Israel

Group C2: Hungary, Greece, Finland, Estonia

Group C3: Slovenia, Norway, Bulgaria, Cyprus

Group C4: Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, Lithuania

LEAGUE D

Group D1: Georgia, Latvia, Kazakhstan, Andorra

Group D2: Belarus, Luxembourg, Moldova, San Marino

Group D3: Azerbaijan, Faroe Islands, Malta, Kosovo

Group D4: FYR Macedonia, Armenia, Liechtenstein, Gibraltar.

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