England set for spicy Ireland clash as Gareth Southgate discovers Nations League opponents


England have drawn the Republic of Ireland in their Nations League group as Gareth Southgate looks to bounce back from last campaign's humbling relegation. The Three Lions will also face Finland and Greece in League B2, with group-stage fixtures scheduled to take place between September and November later this year.

Southgate's side came up well short in the last edition of the Nations League, finishing rock-bottom of League A3 behind Italy, Hungary and Germany. England failed to win any of their six matches, causing them to drop down and leaving them with no possibility of winning the 2024/25 tournament.

The Three Lions' key aim will therefore be to secure automatic promotion by winning their group. Second-placed teams can also achieve promotion via a two-legged play-off against a third-placed team from League A.

Taking their place among the second-tier's big hitters in Pot 1, England were drawn against Finland, the Republic of Ireland and Greece in Paris on Thursday.

They will face each nation home and away in fixtures set to take place across international breaks in September, October and November. The Nations League finals, which England will not be a part of, are scheduled for the summer of 2025.

The Three Lions have not met the Irish in a competitive fixture since 1991. Their last four matches have all been friendlies, with six of the last seven head-to-head clashes ending in a draw.

Wales drew Iceland, Montenegro and Turkey in League B4, while Northern Ireland will come up against Luxembourg, Bulgaria and Belarus in League C3. Spain clinched the last Nations League title by edging out Croatia on penalties in June last year.

France and Portugal won the previous two, with England's best performance coming in the tournament's first edition, when they beat Switzerland in 2019's third-place play-off.

Groups in full

League A1: Croatia, Portugal, Poland, Scotland

League A2: Italy, Belgium, France, Israel

League A3: Netherlands, Hungary, Germany, Bosnia and Herzegovina

League A4: Spain, Denmark, Switzerland, Serbia

League B1: Czech Republic, Ukraine, Albania, Georgia

League B2: England, Finland, Republic of Ireland, Greece

League B3: Austria, Norway, Slovenia, Kazakhstan

League B4: Wales, Iceland, Montenegro, Turkey

League C1: Sweden, Azerbaijan, Slovakia, Estonia

League C2: Romania, Kosovo, Cyprus, Lithuania/Gibraltar

League C3: Luxembourg, Bulgaria, Northern Ireland, Belarus

League C4: Armenia, Faroe Islands, North Macedonia, Latvia

League D1: Lithuania/Gibraltar, San Marino, Liechtenstein

League D2: Moldova, Malta, Andorra

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