The UEFA Nations League finals will be held next year | Marc Atkins/Getty Images
The first stage of the second iteration of the UEFA Nations League is coming to a close, so it’s time to look ahead to next year’s finals.
To simplify the format of a competition which is perhaps a little tricky to grasp, essentially the ultimate goal is to progress into the four-team finals – with the nations who top the respective four groups in League A of the competition progressing into the final phase.
England were beaten 3-1 by Holland in the semi-finals last summer | TF-Images/Getty Images
England were defeated in the semi-finals of the competition by the Netherlands last time out, with Portugal running out 1-0 winners in the final on home soil.
However, the holders won’t be present at next year’s epilogue, and neither will England.
So, who will be? Well, here’s everything you need to know about the 2021 Nations League finals.
The draw for the finals is set to be made on Thursday 3 December, which will determine semi-final matchups:
6 October 2021: Semi-final 1
7 October 2021: Semi-final 2
10 October 2021: Match for third place
10 October 2021: Final
Times and venues are yet to be confirmed.
Could the Stadio Olimpico host the final should Italy progress? | Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images
The host nation for next Autumn’s finals is yet to be revealed, but Italy, the Netherlands and Poland have declared an interest in hosting.
Thus, the winners of Group A1 – in which all three of those nations are competing – will be named the hosts. Italy lead the group and will qualify for the finals with a victory over the relegated Bosnia & Herzegovina on Wednesday.
The formal appointment of the host will be confirmed at the UEFA executive committee meeting on 3 December, ahead of the draw.
France were the first side to book their place in the finals after overcoming Portugal on matchday five | Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images
France secured passage into the finals following their 1-0 victory over the holders on matchday five.
The other three spots, however, are up for grabs.
Italy, Netherlands and Poland could all advance from A1, Denmark and Belgium from England’s A2, while Spain and Germany (A3) battle it out for the right to compete in the finals on Tuesday night.
Here’s the state of play heading into the final matchday.
Basic stuff, really.
Portugal are the current holders | VI-Images/Getty Images
Unfortunately, there are no bonuses for the victor other than a ’71cm-tall sterling silver trophy’ – as it’s described by UEFA.
The finalists, though, will be handed a slight advantage when it comes to 2022 World Cup qualifying. Instead of being drawn into a six-team group, they’ll enjoy a five-team group.