How the UEFA Nations League changes EURO 2020 qualifying


Rules and regulations for the UEFA Nations League have been confirmed ahead of next year’s inaugural edition of the competition, which will impact qualifying for EURO 2020.

UEFA Nations League Format

While qualifying for EURO 2020 will mostly go ahead as usual, the UEFA Nations League will determine the final four entrants into the competition.

European Qualifying will now take place in March rather than the September immediately following a major tournament, while no team gains automatic qualification as hosts (there are 13 host nations for EURO 2020).

uefa nations league
The UEFA Nations League will take place every two years shortly after major tournaments, with six match days stretching from September until November. European Qualifying goes ahead mostly as per usual, except it commences in March the following year after a major tournament. 20 of the 24 teams to play in EURO 2020 will be decided through the qualifying groups, while the final four will earn a qualifying passage based on their UEFA Nations League places.

Qualifying Group Stage

20 teams qualify from the 10 groups of five or six, with the top two in each group booking a place at EURO 2020.


The final four spots for EURO 2020 will be decided via play-offs, which will be battled out by the 16 UEFA Nations League group winners (the four group winners in each of the four divisions).

Each league will grant a passage to EURO 2020, with each passage featuring a single-leg semi-final and single-leg final. The winner of each path will qualify for EURO 2020.

The real beauty of the UEFA Nations League is the opportunity it gives to some of Europe’s minnows to qualify for a major tournament; seeing as though most of the 16 UEFA Nations League Group winners will have likely already qualified for EURO 2020, their play-off spot will go to the next-best ranked team in their league.

If a league doesn’t have four teams to compete in the play-offs, then the remaining slots are allocated to teams from another league (according to overall UEFA Nations League rankings).


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