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Nations League: Start date, format, how to watch & odds

The third instalment of the Nations League is set to reach a conclusion in June with four teams involved in the competition.

The four group winners of League A - Croatia, Spain, Italy and Netherlands - will take part in the tournament and there will be a new name on the trophy as none of the teams have previously won the Nations League.

League A was made up of the 16 top-ranked UEFA members, who were split into four groups of four. Each team played six matches in their group - four in June 2022 and two three months later.

The winners of each group advanced to the Nations League Final, while the fourth-placed team from each group was relegated to the 2024/25 Nations League Group B.

England, Wales, Czech Republic and Austria have been relegated to Group B.

France were the defending champions having won the Nations League two years ago, but they did not qualify for the finale of the 2023 tournament as they finished third in their group - behind Croatia and Denmark.

Didier Deschamps' World Cup 2022 runners-up only managed to pick up five points in their six group games.

When is the Nations League?

The Nations League will take place in June. Netherlands will face Croatia in Rotterdam on 14th June, with Spain set to play Italy in Enschede one day later.

The winners of each semi-final will play each other in the final in Rotterdam on 18th June.

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Where is the Nations League?

The four nations from Group A4 - Belgium, Netherlands, Poland and Wales – all bid to host the Nations League Finals. As the nation that qualified for the finals, the Dutch were granted hosting rights.

Feyenoord’s De Kuip stadium, which hosted matches at Euro 2000 and has a capacity of over 50,000, and FC Twente’s De Grolsch Veste ground in Enschede, which can hold more than 30,000 spectators, will host the two semi-finals at Nations League 2023.

The third-place play-off will take place in Enschede, with the final set to be staged at De Kuip.

Can I watch the Nations League?

Channel 4 showed all six of England’s Nations League group matches, but as Gareth Southgate’s side did not qualify for the last four of the competition, it is anticipated that Viaplay Sports will show the games in the Netherlands.

How many times has the Nations League taken place?

This is the third time the Nations League has been played. The first competition began in 2018 and replaced the international friendly matches that had previously been played.

The four group winners from League A qualified for the finals in Portugal - the hosts, Netherlands, England and Switzerland - which were played in June 2019.

Portugal beat Switzerland 3-1 and Netherlands saw off England 3-1 after extra-time in the semi-finals, before the hosts edged past the Dutch in the final - Goncalo Guedea grabbing the only goal of the encounter on the hour mark.

England finished third after beating Switzerland on 6-5 penalties after the match had ended goalless after extra-time.

However, Portugal failed to qualify for the last four of the next competition as they could only finish second behind France in Group A3.

Belgium, who won five of their six group matches, Italy and Spain also qualified for the Nations League Finals that were played in October 2021.

None of the four teams had featured in the 2019 finals.

Spain saw off Italy 2-1 and France beat Belgium 3-2 in the two semi-finals, before France defeated Spain 2-1 in the final at the San Siro.

After Spain had taken the lead, France hit back to triumph thanks to second-half goals by Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappe.

Who is the favourite for the Nations League?

The Dutch are the 2/1 favourites to win the Nations League in June, while Spain are currently available at 5/2 and Roberto Mancini’s Italy, who have failed to qualify for the last two World Cups, are 3/1.

Croatia, who were beaten by France in the 2018 World Cup final and reached the semi-finals in Qatar four years later, are the outsiders at 7/2.

The Croats went on to beat Morocco four months ago in the third-place play-off at the 2022 World Cup.

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