What you need to know about draw and tournament

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Nations League trophy

The Nations League draw for the 2024-25 men’s tournament takes place in Paris on Thursday from 17:00 GMT and you can follow it with live text on the BBC Sport website.

Every European country, bar the suspended Russia, is involved – with Scotland the highest ranked home nation involved.

For the first time the Scots are in League A, with relegated England and Wales in League B and Northern Ireland in League C.

Who is in it?

League A

Pot 1: Spain, Croatia, Italy, Netherlands

Pot 2: Denmark, Portugal, Belgium, Hungary

Pot 3: Switzerland, Germany, Poland, France

Pot 4: Israel, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Scotland

League B

Pot 1: Austria, Czech Republic, England, Wales

Pot 2: Finland, Ukraine, Iceland, Norway

Pot 3: Slovenia, Republic of Ireland, Albania, Montenegro

Pot 4: Georgia, Greece, Turkey, Kazakhstan

League C

Pot 1: Romania, Sweden, Armenia, Luxembourg

Pot 2: Azerbaijan, Kosovo, Bulgaria, Faroe Islands

Pot 3: North Macedonia, Slovakia, Northern Ireland, Cyprus

Pot 4: Belarus, Lithuania/Gibraltar*, Estonia, Latvia

League D

Pot 1: Lithuania/Gibraltar*, Moldova

Pot 2: Malta, Andorra, San Marino, Liechtenstein

* Gibraltar and Lithuania face a play-out, effectively a relegation play-off to see who ends in Leagues C and D, in March 2024.

How does the draw work?

Leagues A, B and C all have four groups of four teams – with one drawn from each seeding pot into each group. Teams play each other home and away.

League D has two groups of three teams.

There are only two restrictions on who can play who, because many of the prohibited fixtures are impossible because of leagues and pots.

Kazakhstan can only be drawn in a group with a maximum of one of England, Wales, Republic of Ireland or Iceland for excessive travel reasons, while Armenia and Azerbaijan cannot be drawn together in League C for political reasons.

When are the games?

Each team in Leagues A, B and C play two group games in September, two in October and two in November 2024.

A lot of teams will play extra games in March 2025, with four teams in the Nations League finals in June 2025.

How does the tournament work?

Spain are the current Nations League champions, after beating Croatia in last year’s final

The top two teams from each group in League A go into two-legged quarter-finals in March, with the winners going into the final-four tournament in June.

The winner of that will claim the Uefa Nations League trophy.

The winners of each group in Leagues B, C and D are promoted to a higher division. The teams who finish bottom of each group in Leagues A and B are relegated to a lower division.

Teams who finished third in their groups in League A will face League B runners-ups – and League B’s third-placed teams will face League C runners-up – in two-legged promotion/relegation play-offs in March.

There will also be play-offs between the two best fourth-placed teams in League C and the two runners-up in League D.

Europe’s 2026 World Cup qualifiers start next year. The winners of each of those groups qualify automatically for the North American tournament, with the runners-up of each group entering World Cup play-offs.

The four best Nations League group winners who do not qualify either of those ways will also go into the World Cup play-offs.

Why are Scotland above England?

Scotland won Group B1 last time to seal their promotion to League A for the first time, while England dropped a division after finishing bottom of Group A3.

Wales were also in the top tier last time but finished bottom of Group A4 with one point from six games.

England and Wales cannot end up in the same group, as they are in the same pot, but one of them could face the Republic of Ireland, who have remained in League B since the competition started up.

Northern Ireland are in League C again.

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