Nations League: England and Wales get tough group-stage draw
England will face Italy, who beat them in the Euro 2020 final, and Germany in the group stage of the 2022-23 Nations League, while Wales have been drawn with Belgium and the Netherlands.
Gareth Southgate’s side are in Group A3, which also includes Hungary, while Wales are in Group A4, which is completed by Poland.
Scotland face the Republic of Ireland, Armenia and Ukraine in Group B1.
Northern Ireland are in Group C2 for the tournament, which begins on 2 June.
Ian Baraclough’s side will play Greece, Kosovo and one of Cyprus or Estonia, who must first meet in a play-off next March to determine who goes into the group.
Defending champions France are in Group A1 with Denmark, Austria and Croatia, while neighbours Portugal and Spain have been drawn together in Group A2 with the Czech Republic and Switzerland.
Each team will first play four group game from 2 to 14 June, then a final two games from 22 to 27 September 2022.
The four group winners from the top division – League A – will play in the finals in June 2023.
The teams who win each group in the lower three divisions win promotion, with most of the teams who finish bottom getting relegated.
England lost on penalties to Italy in the final of Euro 2020 at Wembley in July.
However, crowd trouble at that game means the Three Lions’ first home game in the Nations League will be played behind closed doors after European football’s governing body Uefa sanctioned the Football Association over the disorder.
“Whatever happens won’t ease the disappointment of losing the final,” said England boss Southgate of facing Italy again.
“Of course it’s a very good fixture for us to play and the fact we have been to the final with them means it will grab more attention, so that puts more interest on the game, which is what we want.”
On the group as a whole, Southgate added: “They are exciting games. I think the Nations League format throws up these outstanding fixtures.”
Meanwhile, Wales are playing in the top division of the tournament for the first time after they were promoted in the last edition.
“The big one is Belgium,” said Wales boss Robert Page, whose side drew with them in World Cup qualifying on 16 November.
“Off the back of a great performance against them last month, everyone will be talking about that.
“They’re an outstanding outfit but we’ve proved we’re prepared to go toe-to-toe with them.”
Familiar faces for England and Wales – analysis
England will renew some old acquaintances when their Uefa Nations League campaign gets under way in a very tough group.
They will face two of the teams they faced in Euro 2020 last summer in Germany, who they beat in the last 16 and who are now under the guidance of new coach Hansi Flick, and Italy, their conquerors in the final on penalties at Wembley.
They will also know Hungary well, having played them in qualifying for next winter’s World Cup in Qatar, winning in Budapest but being held to a draw at Wembley.
Wales’ residence at the game’s top table sees them meet Belgium, who they also played in World Cup qualifying and most memorably in the Euro 2016 quarter-final, when a 3-1 win gave them their greatest win, yet again.
The Netherlands and Poland make up another testing section but Wales have shown they can stand shoulder to shoulder with the best in recent years.
Scotland, so improved under manager Steve Clarke, will feel they have a real chance of success in the B section in a group containing Armenia, the Republic of Ireland and Ukraine, while Northern Ireland are pitted against Kosovo, Greece or Cyprus or Estonia in Group C.