Nations League draw…fierce clash between Italy and France in the first level

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The draw for the fourth edition of the European Nations League for the 2024–2025 season resulted in a relegation group in the first tier; World runners-up France tied with rivals Belgium and European champions Italy.

The lottery was held in the French capital Paris on Thursday, with teams distributed among four tiers, playoffs for promotion and relegation between tiers introduced, and quarter-finals of two home-and-away matches. . In the first level.

As a result of topping their groups in the first tier during the previous edition and thus reaching the semi-finals, defending champions Spain and its runners-up Croatia, Italy and the Netherlands were classified in the first tier of the draw. , which was ignored in the previous three editions for the second tier as a result of the presence of England, who came alongside its neighbors Ireland, Greece and Finland.

Italy, Belgium and France were in the second group of the first tier, while Spain, the champion, was in the fourth group with Denmark, Switzerland and Serbia, and Croatia, the runner-up, was in the first tier. Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal, champion of the first edition in 2019, Poland, Robert Lewandowski and Scotland.

En route to the title France previously faced Belgium in this competition in 2021, beating them 3-2 in the semi-finals with a goal in the last seconds from Theo Hernandez after coach Didier Deschamps' men trailed by two in the first half. Were. A clean goal through Karim Benzema and Kylian before replying in the second. Mbappe, then Hernandez.

In that particular edition, Italy and Belgium also faced off for third place and the “Azzurri” emerged victorious 2–1.

As for the Netherlands, which finished fourth in the last edition after losing the third-place match 2-3 to Italy on their home ground, they are tied with rivals Germany, the 2024 European Cup hosts, Hungary and Bosnia. Came in third place.

As a result of their last place behind Italy, Hungary and Germany in the third group of the first tier of the previous edition, England were relegated to the second tier, in which they would compete for the first time, and coincidentally, the draw they made it against their neighbors Ireland. kept.

The two neighbors will meet in an official tournament for the first time since 1991, when they drew 1–1 at Wembley Stadium in London in a 1992 European Cup qualifier.

The two teams met in a friendly match at the Lansdowne Road Stadium in Dublin in 1995, but it was not completed due to crowd unrest and they did not clash again until November 2020, when England won the friendly 3–0.

It is noteworthy that Lithuania will face Gibraltar in a playoff match in March, which will determine which team will be relegated to the fourth tier.

Among several amendments introduced to the competition, the players who finished third in the first tier would no longer be guaranteed to remain among the “adults”, but would instead have to go through a playoff against the players who finished second in the second tier. Will be forced to. ,

The draw was as follows:

First stage

  • First group: Croatia, Portugal, Poland and Scotland.
  • Second group: Italy, Belgium, France and Israel.
  • Third group: Netherlands, Hungary, Germany and Bosnia.
  • Fourth group: Spain, Denmark, Switzerland and Serbia.

Second Level

  • First group: Czechia, Ukraine, Albania and Georgia.
  • Second group: England, Finland, Ireland and Greece.
  • Third group: Austria, Norway, Slovenia and Kazakhstan.
  • Fourth group: Wales, Iceland, Montenegro and Turkey.

third level

  • First group: Sweden, Azerbaijan, Slovakia and Estonia.
  • Second group: Romania, Kosovo, Cyprus and Lithuania/Gibraltar.
  • Third group: Luxembourg, Bulgaria, Northern Ireland and Belarus.
  • Fourth group: Armenia, Faroe Islands, North Macedonia and Latvia.

fourth level

  • first group:Lithuania/Gibraltar and San Marino and Palestine.
  • Second group: Moldova, Malta and Andorra.

match dates

  • The first and second rounds will take place between 5 and 10 September 2024.
  • The third and fourth rounds will take place between 10 and 15 October 2024.
  • The fifth and sixth rounds will take place between November 14 and 19, 2024.
  • The chances of ups and downs between 20th to 25th March 2025.
  • The quarter-finals of the first level will take place between 20 and 25 March 2025.
  • The final four of the first level league between June 4 and 8, 2025.

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