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This is what the UEFA Nations League will mean for Ireland

This is what the UEFA Nations League will mean for Ireland

Wales's World Cup misery was compounded on Wednesday after Uefa revealed they had been pipped by Holland to a place in the top division of its new Nations League.

If there are not four teams in any league to make up a play-off group - for instance all 12 teams in the top division would expect to qualify automatically - then the next ranked teams from lower tiers would move up.

Perhaps the most important part of the new Nations League is that it offers a route to qualification for Euro 2020.

League A includes the likes of world champions Germany, reigning European Championship winners Portugal, France and England.

The competition, which UEFA says will replace most global friendlies, will be played in September, October and November 2018, with a group stage draw scheduled for next January.

The top four-ranked teams that do not qualify for Euro 2020 will contest a play-off in March 2020, with one finals place on offer.

In addition, the UEFA Nations League will provide teams with another chance to qualify for the UEFA EURO final tournament, with four sides qualifying through play-off matches which take place in March 2020.

Following the final round of qualifying games this week, the four different "leagues" of European clubs were confirmed yesterday.

Leagues A and B will each comprise four groups of three teams.

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Northern Ireland are also in League B, alongside a number of Ireland's recent opponents, Austria, Sweden and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The draw for individual groups takes place in Lausanne, Switzerland, on January 24, 2018.

Organisers will use the UEFA ranking system to determine the make-up of four leagues (A, B, C and D) from the 55 teams involved.

The third pot consists of Montenegro, Israel, Bulgaria and Finland, while the final pot has just three sides - Cyprus, Estonia and Lithuania.

Teams will be drawn into four groups of four.

Uefa says teams in three-sided groups will play on four of the six matchdays.

League D: Azerbaijan, FYR Macedonia, Belarus, Georgia, Armenia, Latvia, Faroe Islands, Luxembourg, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Liechtenstein, Malta, Andorra, Kosovo, San Marino and Gibraltar.

But, for fairness, any team that wins their Nations League group will not be "promoted" into a play-off in a league above their own.

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