Here’s an explainer of the UEFA Nations League as Ireland await tomorrow’s draw

The Republic of Ireland will find out their opponents tomorrow at the draw for the inaugural UEFA Nations League.

The first competitive fixture this year for the Boys in Green won’t be until early September and Martin O’Neill will travel to Switzerland for the draw of the new format, which will replace the majority of friendlies.

O’Neill’s side are in Pot 2 of League B, the second-tier of the competition, for the draw alongside Sweden, Ukraine, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

There will be four groups of three teams and Ireland could find themselves up against any two of Austria, Wales, Russia, Slovakia, Northern Ireland, Denmark, Czech Republic and Turkey.

A schedule of four games for each team will be confirmed, taking place from September to November later this year.

England are in Pot 2 of League A for the draw with France, Switzerland and Italy.

They could draw Germany, Portugal, Belgium or Spain from Pot 1 and Poland, Iceland, Croatia or Holland from Pot 3.

Scotland are in Pot 1 of League C and could play the likes of Greece, Cyprus, Montenegro and Lithuania.

Scotland remain managerless after Michael O’Neill turned down the chance to replace Gordon Strachan and is expected remain with Northern Ireland.

The Nations League is designed to allow teams to play against those who are equally ranked and will offer some who do not qualify for Euro 2020 via the normal route a path to the play-offs.

The 16 Nations League group winners will go into the play-offs but if they have already qualified for the European Championships the next best-ranked team in their league will take their place.

Each league has a path of its own, and will consist of two single-leg semi-finals and a one-off final. The winner of each path qualifies for EURO 2020.

At the end of the group stages, those who finish bottom of the groups will be relegated to the league below and four teams will be promoted to the league above.

It is due to start between September 6 and 8 while the draw for the finals is in December with the finals, which includes semi-finals and a third-placed game, held between June 5-9, 2019.

The draw will be held at UEFA’S headquarters in Lausanne in Switzerland at 11am Irish Time tomorrow.

Here, we answer the questions on the format and what the new competition will bring.

What is the UEFA Nations League?

It is a new international competition which will replace most friendlies with competitive matches.

The Nations League is designed to allow teams to play against those who are equally ranked.

It is made up of four mini-leagues, which each contain four groups.

There is also the chance to qualify for Euro 2020 with the play-offs for the tournament due to involve the 16 Nations League group winners.

If they have already qualified for Euro 2020 the next best-ranked team in their league will go into the play-offs.

Each league has a path of its own, and will consist of two single-leg semi-finals and a one-off final. The winner of each path qualifies for EURO 2020.

How does the league work?

The 55 nations will be divided into four mini-leagues (A, B, C, D) with the allocation determined by each country’s UEFA ranking in November 2017.

Those with the highest ranking will go into League A and so on and each league will be split into groups of three or four teams, playing home and away.

The four group winners of League A qualify for the UEFA Nations League Finals in June 2019.

The winners of Leagues B, C and D are promoted but those who finish bottom of A, B and C will be relegated. The next season is 2020/21.

When does it start?

There are 138 league fixtures which start with match day one between September 6 and 8, 2018.

The draw for the finals is in December with the finals, which includes semi-finals and a third-placed game, held between June 5-9, 2019.

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