Lewis Ambrose

UEFA Nations League reaction: England face tough test

England have been pitted against Spain and Croatia in the inaugural Uefa Nations League group stage.

In their last six meetings with Spain, England have lost four times and won just once. The two sides haven’t met competitively since Euro 1996.

The Three Lions have a happier record against Croatia, though the most well-remembered meetings remain the two humiliating defeats which saw Steve McClaren’s team fail to qualify for Euro 2008.

Why does it matter?

Similar results in Autumn 2018 would see England relegated to League B with the new Uefa Nations League format.

Whoever finishes bottom of the group will drop down and face worse ranked teams when the tournament repeats itself in 2020.

Meanwhile, the four group winners form League A will head to a finals competition in the summer of 2019 and earn a second shot at earning qualification to Euro 2020 through the play-offs, should they fail to qualify through the regular qualifying process.

When are the games?

England will play Croatia and Spain twice each, once at home and once away.

The dates for those fixtures are yet to finalised but there will be six Nations League matchdays:

Matchday 1: 6–8 September 2018
Matchday 2: 9–11 September 2018
Matchday 3: 11–13 October 2018
Matchday 4: 14–16 October 2018
Matchday 5: 15–17 November 2018
Matchday 6: 18–20 November 2018
Finals draw: early December 2018
Finals: 5–9 June 2019