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Friday, July 15, 2016

UEFA Nations League update (15 July 2016)

The coefficient used for the first edition draw will be made up of:

2014 World Cup (qualifiers and final tournament) - 20% of total weighting
EURO 2016 (qualifiers and final tournament) - 40% of total weighting
2018 World Cup (qualifiers) - 40% of total weighting.

With the EURO 2016 behind us, here's a look at team movements.

Changes since the November 2015 update.
Croatia, Poland and Wales replace Netherlands, Russia and Ukraine in League A.
Best movers:

12 - Wales
8 - Poland
7 - Iceland

Worst movers:

-5: Ukraine, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Romania, Sweden

Most points gained:

5009 - France
4049 - Portugal
3130 - Wales

Ukraine are the only team to actually lose points (-67). Remember I already included EURO 2016 matches as loses for all 24 teams. Ukraine lost all 3.

 1  1 Germany                27966
 2  5 Portugal               27294
 3  9 France                 27168
 4  4 Belgium                26181
 5  2 England                25530
 6  3 Spain                  25449
 7  7 Italy                  24965
 8  8 Switzerland            23865
 9  6 Austria                23378
10 14 Croatia                22918
11 19 Poland                 22701
12 24 Wales                  22328
13 20 Iceland                22174
14 10 Netherlands            22085
15 12 Russia                 21555
16 11 Ukraine                21406
17 21 Hungary                21286
18 13 Bosnia and Herzegovina 21179
19 18 Slovakia               21154
20 15 Czech Republic         20887
21 16 Romania                20817
22 17 Sweden                 20546
23 22 Republic of Ireland    20528
24 23 Turkey                 20517
25 28 Northern Ireland       19307
26 30 Albania                19290
27 25 Slovenia               19047
28 26 Norway                 18987
29 27 Denmark                18811
30 29 Scotland               18361
31 31 Israel                 18091
32 32 Montenegro             17351
33 33 Greece                 17111
34 34 Bulgaria               16991
35 35 Finland                16981
36 36 Serbia                 16246
37 37 Lithuania              15961
38 38 Cyprus                 15671
39 39 Belarus                15168
40 40 Estonia                15160
41 41 Georgia                14643
42 42 Azerbaijan             13941
43 43 Armenia                13365
44 44 Latvia                 13241
45 45 Moldova                12710
46 46 FYR Macedonia          12671
47 47 Kazakhstan             12631
48 48 Luxembourg             12191
49 49 Faroe Islands          12130
50 50 Liechtenstein          11710
51 51 Malta                  10910
52 55 Kosovo                 10000
53 52 San Marino              9170
54 53 Andorra                 9060
55 54 Gibraltar               8650

League A
Pot 1: Germany, Portugal, France, Belgium
Pot 2: England, Spain, Italy, Switzerland
Pot 3: Austria, Croatia, Poland, Wales
League B

Pot 1: Iceland, Netherlands, Russia, Ukraine
Pot 2: Hungary, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovakia, Czech Republic
Pot 3: Romania, Sweden, Republic of Ireland, Turkey

League C

Pot 1: Northern Ireland, Albania, Slovenia, Norway
Pot 2: Denmark, Scotland, Israel, Montenegro
Pot 3: Greece, Bulgaria, Finland, Serbia
Pot 4: Lithuania, Cyprus, Belarus

League D

Pot 1: Estonia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia
Pot 2: Latvia, Moldova, FYR Macedonia, Kazakhstan
Pot 3: Luxembourg, Faroe Islands, Liechtenstein, Malta
Pot 4: Kosovo, San Marino, Andorra, Gibraltar


  1. Hi Edgar,
    Thank you for all your posts.
    What will happen to Russia, given that it does not need to participate in the WC 2018 qualifiers? Are they just going to stay at their current points? Or will the friendlies they play in some qualifying group (now that Kosovo took their place) be used?

    1. Tim, for the UEFA NT-coefficient only WC- and EURO-qualifiers and WC- and EURO-finals matches are included.
      For Russia, not playing WC18-qualifiers, their coefficient remains steady now at 29876 until the WC18. This coefficient is calculated with their EURO16-qualifying results substituted for their missing WC18-qualifying results.

  2. Edgar, I have Switzerland at 23865 ?

  3. Do you include Euro16 qualifying play-offs?

  4. Hi Edgar,

    two things about the coefficients.

    1. Switzerland. As other readers have already noticed, their coeff should be 23865.

    2. Russia. Why do you count Russia 2016 qualifying points for 2018 qualifying? In the National team ranking 2015, for analogical case of France, French 2016 cycle was not adjusted according to their results of 2014 qualifying. The UEFA regulations, as far as I know, haven't changed since, so there is no ground to assume that Russian 2016 qualifying cycle would be doubled. And there is no practical need for UEFA to do that, because WC 2018 Final tournament would not be counted for any team, and Russia will not have neither advantage nor disadvantage if their 2018 cycle is not calculated (as in France case, there total points will be divided not by 5, but by 3). Therefore Russian final coeff for NT 2017 ranking will be 29258.

  5. In the latest regulations (Regulations of the UEFA European Football Championship 2014-16) there are two articles that could both be applied on the calculation of the host's points.

    B.3 Particular cases
    a. For associations that have not participated in certain cycles in the relevant reference period, only cycles (and/or the half cycle) in which they were involved are taken into account with their respective weighting factor. The final result is divided by the sum of the weighting factors of the cycles (and/or the half cycle) concerned.
    b. In the case of an association that has hosted a UEFA EURO or FIFA World Cup final tournament during one of the reference periods as mentioned under Annex B.1.2 and therefore has no points from the respective qualifying competition, the points earned in the most recent qualifying competition in which the association has taken part are used.

    In Annex B.1.2 the following reference periods are mentioned:
    a. Qualifying draw
    – 2010 FIFA World Cup (qualifying competition and final tournament)
    – UEFA EURO 2012 (qualifying competition and final tournament)
    – 2014 FIFA World Cup (qualifying competition: group stage and play-offs)

    For the draw of the UEFA Nations League 2018/2019 (4 years later) these reference periods could be translated to:
    – 2014 FIFA World Cup (qualifying competition and final tournament)
    – UEFA EURO 2016 (qualifying competition and final tournament)
    – 2018 FIFA World Cup (qualifying competition: group stage and play-offs)

    Mantas, now that you mention it, it indeed is a difficult issue. Exact reading of the phrase "that has hosted a UEFA EURO or FIFA World Cup final tournament during one of the reference periods" implies that only hosts of a tournament that has been played already, are indicated with B.3.b., so not Russia.
    One could also read it as "any host of a tournament mentioned under B.1.2" are indicated with B.3.b (and that is how I read it), so yes Russia.

    You certainly got a point anyway with your analogy of France in the 2015 UEFA NT-ranking. For France their missing EURO16 qualifying results were not substituted with their WC14 qualifying results to calculate their 33599 points in October 2015.
    However, that ranking was used for the draw of the EURO16 final tournament (and not for the EURO16 qualifiers) and had the following reference periods:
    b. Play-off and final tournament draws
    – UEFA EURO 2012 (qualifying competition and final tournament)
    – 2014 FIFA World Cup (qualifying competition and final tournament)
    – UEFA EURO 2016 (qualifying competition: group matches)

    The NT-ranking of november 2013 was used to seed the draw for the EURO16 qualifiers and as Brazil was WC14 host that ranking had no uncertainties about how to handle the host, so (unfortunately) can't be used as a guide how to interpret this issue.

    Edgar, anybody else ?

  6. As far as I understand, one of the key words in the paragraph Annex B.3.b is "respective": "In the case of an association that has hosted a UEFA EURO or FIFA World Cup final tournament during one of the reference periods as mentioned under Annex B.1.2 and therefore has no points from the RESPECTIVE qualifying competition, the points earned in the most recent qualifying competition in which the association has taken part are used."

    The Annex B.1.2 says that the half cycle was only EURO 2016 qualifying (and not EURO 2016 Final tournament). So, for NT ranking 2017, the final half cycle would be WC 2018 qualifying (and not WC 2018 Final tournament respectively). It should mean that Annex B.3.b does not talk about WC 2018 Final tournament at all, because it is not included in the "reference period" concept, and therefore the Annex B.3.b for 2017 NT ranking, to my mind, is about the hosts of WC 2014 and EURO 2016 only.

    Also, I agree that the regulations does not clearly state such cases, but the common sense suggests that there is no need for Russia to copy their 2016 qualifying results to 2018 qualifying, because WC 2018 Final tournament will not be counted for any team anyway, and therefore there will not be any discrepancies for Russia case (differently than France 2016 cycle in NT 2017 ranking, where 2018 qualifying is counted for their 2016 non-played qualifying in order that they would not have the advantage over other countries if their only EURO 2016 Final results had been counted).

    This is my interpretation only though, and we need more expert opinions about this issue, so any reasonable commments and explanations would be very appreciated :)

    1. Mantas, I tend to agree with you. Your reasoning seems logical.
      By the way sees it the way I used to: UEFA NT-ranking 2017

    2. Ed, I also saw this in and wrote them too to explained my position. But their response was brief and didn't provide any better understanding, why do they use such methodology:
      "Russian coefficients should be correct - according to newest regulations [link to Regulations of the UEFA European Football Championship 2014-16] which mention national ranking (page 51)."
      So, they just interpret the rules the other way. But I bet my version should be correct :) We need to wait the official updated ranking by UEFA, which I hope will be published soon.

  7. Hi, Ed!
    I want to support Mantas Ste.
    By the way, the calculation of Edgar for Russia, if we discard the minimum points for QT'18 (4000 points) and multiply by 5/3 will result 29258 points.

  8. I got a clear impression that this Nations League will denote to the likes of Germany and France not much more than a savourless friendly tournament, and it's likely to become an uninteresting competition that exists just to fill some pockets and to deal with politics. That's because what are the odds of happening again what happened with Netherlands last Euro Qualifiers? In any case, if the big team in question does not qualify they would probably get in the play-offs confident enough to play teams from a lower division, almost midway the bottom, as the slots for the play-offs drop down to the weaker leagues due the majority of their closest rivals being already through. And considering the opposite, if all or almost all the best teams are expected to have no trouble in the qualifiers, why would one of them strain to win the NL final four anyway or even worry about not getting there? In the majority of cases the final ranking of Nations League wouldn't make any difference for them, so the only purpose of that would be for training and exhibition in "decisive" fancy matches but pointless in the end. It's true that for teams usually ranked at the middle and for the minnows that system really may work, providing them another chance (maybe even when they barely are somewhat competitive) and of course we like the idea of a secondary international tournament in Europe, but this one got a lot of issues.

    1. Hi, Gabriell2,

      You are a bit wrong that "In the majority of cases the final ranking of Nations League wouldn't make any difference for them, so the only purpose of that would be for training and exhibition in "decisive" fancy matches but pointless in the end."

      The usual qualification torunament for Euro 2020 will start after the Nations league group stage finishes, and the seeding for Euro 2020 qualifying will be based according to the perforamance of the teams in the Nations league. Please check here:

      Also, participants of the NL Final four will be assured that they will be drawn into groups of 5, not groups of 6 in Euro 2020 qualifying, which is also at least small, but advantage: they will play one or two matches in June 2019 (Final four) against strong opponents for a trophy, instead of playing qualifiers against the likes of San Marino or Andorra.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Okay, then. But still I think it's a huge change in the schedule to get so few advantages. For less traditional countries could not be good if the number of friendlies were reduced to a little amount. Other than two matches of that final four and the qualifier's draw afterwards based on it there's not so much in the stake, at least I think so. It could be easy to adapt this ideia of leagues they had and create a very good qualifying tournament that would make it reasonably dangerous for high profile teams (they'd need to play seriously, with full strength until the last match to avoid either have to settle for play-offs or failing to qualify) and also with middle-lower teams having a good chance. Four leagues and each one of them receiving a guaranteed spot is lame because potentially good teams in the midway from top to bottom will be out, while the best teams from League D which are still too weak, Azerbaijan, Lativa, Belarus, whatever they are, certainly they will be at a major tournament only to be whipping boys and not having a realistic chance of going through the group stage.

    4. What if League C and D were merged into only one division with more spots allocated to it so transforming it straight into Euro Qualifiers for teams ranked below 30th position? It could make both UEFA Nations League and qualifying tournaments more balanced and competitive because big teams would play big teams so as weak teams playing each other with less predictable matches. UEFA should avoid expand tournaments or create new ones which hand over easier routes for weaker teams and make things more complex but with many of the competitive issues still unsolved.

    5. The system used in some last editions of Qualifying, one play-off round, is much better than allocate the same number of direct spots to each one of the leagues as they were equal. In that case some berths for the play-off round should be contested by bottom league's 30 teams so they still would have chance, playing the lowest ranked teams of League B (they could even maintain the current UEFA Nations League format for divisions A and B and after all teams would enter a separate Euro/WC qualifying tournament, it seems there is enough space in the calendar for this amount of matches) and that's it.

    6. Correction: in the system described League C teams would be ranked from 25th through the last one.