UEFA Nations league: format, rules, draw, and best outright bets

Best Free Bet Scout explains the new UEFA Nations League and takes you through the best outright bets for the competition.

What is the UEFA Nations league?

Goodbye International friendlies, hello the UEFA Nations League!  In an attempt to get fans enthusiastic about the “interlull” period that annually ruins the flow of excitement of the new football league season, UEFA have scrapped the “friendlies” and brought in a new European national team “competition”.

How does the UEFA Nations league work?

The UEFA nations league takes all the national teams in Europe and puts them in groups with teams of equal rankings, who compete together in a ‘league’ for a chance to win the competition in a the ‘finals’.  Clear as mud?  Let’s break it down…

  • 55 national teams
  • Split into 4 leagues (A, B, C and D – decided by UEFA coefficient ranking)
  • Each league then divided into 4 groups (1-4 – each containing of 3 or 4 teams)
  • Teams in each group play each other twice (home and away)
  • Winners of each group get promoted to group above
  • Group 1 winners in each league get promoted to league above
  • Winners of each group in league A compete in a ‘finals’ 2-stage knock-out tournament in the summer (semis, 3-place playoff, final)
  • The top 4 highest finishing teams in each league who have not qualified for the Euros (via the usual qualifiers), compete in a play-offs competition in March for a the 4 remaining places in the Euros

Nations league draw and best outright betting odds?

The teams in each league were split into 3 or 4 pots and drawn by UEFA.  Best Free Best Scout has trawled the market for the best outright bets to win the competition.

As explained above, only the teams in League A can compete in the summer finals to win the competition outright.

League A

Group A1

Group A2

Group A3

Group A4

League B

Group B1

  • Slovakia
  • Ukraine
  • Czech Republic

Group B2

  • Russia
  • Sweden
  • Turkey

Group B3

  • Austria
  • Bosina 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

When does UEFA Nations League take place?

For the first 2018/19 UEFA Nations league, the head-to-head matches in the groups stage will take place during the usual international friendly breaks, so: September, October, and November 2018.

The play-offs for the four Euros qualification places will take place in March 2019.

The four group winners of League A will compete in the 2-stage finals (semis, 3rd place playoff, final) for the UEFA Nations League trophy in June 2019.

Does the UEFA Nations League replace the Euros?

No. The Euros tournament and qualifying group stages will still take place as normal.

The UEFA Nations League finals will take place every summer in the years between the Euros and World Cup finals, and their qualifying group stages leading in the year leading up to the finals.

What are the incentives for nations to compete?

Each nation has the following reasons to take the UEFA Nations League competition seriously:

  • A chance to progress to League A and qualify for the finals, to win the trophy
  • The bottom 16 ranked teams in are now guaranteed 1 place qualifying place in the Euros
  • Lower ranked teams can now regularly play teams of equal strength, providing better opportunities to improve

Who will host the Nations League finals?

From the 4 group winners in league A, one country will be appointed as the host for the finals in the summer by the UEFA executive committee.

Is this the end of International friendlies?

No.  There will still be opportunities in the schedule for nations to play teams from outside of Europe in friendly competition.

*All odds correct at 22:00 Tuesday 4 September 2018.