The UEFA Nations League group phase is coming to a close during the November fixture window, and here's what remains in play for the teams involved.

By Avi Creditor
November 15, 2018

The inaugural UEFA Nations League has its group phase has come to a close, with the summer semifinals and promotion and relegation places being determined across the continent.

After three months, it's still unclear just how seriously nations are taking the nascent competition. Germany manager Joachim Low didn't seem all too perturbed with the thought of relegation to League B, stating this week that the chief focus is on qualifying for the 2020 European championship. He's probably not alone. It's hard to create a new competition and instill the same desire among teams as they have for global tournaments with a deep and rich history.

That said, there is still a competitive element to the new Nations League, far more than in meaningless friendlies, and much was at stake as group play came to an end. Here's how things shook out from the top of League A to the bottom of League D:

LEAGUE A

Group 1

It came down to a sensational late comeback for the Netherlands, who battled back from 2-0 down to Germany to draw 2-2 and secure first place in the group and a spot in the semifinals. The result put both the Dutch and France on seven points, but after the Netherlands snapped France's 15-match unbeaten streak with a 2-0 win last week, it secured the tiebreaker needed to go through.

As for Germany, it was stunningly relegated to League B with the Oranje's win over France and could only be reduced to spoiler for the Dutch–where it failed despite holding a 2-0 lead.

Group 2

Switzerland secured its semifinal spot Sunday after an inspiring 5-2 win over Belgium. Belgium had nine points going into the match after beating Iceland, but Switzerland—which was on six points entering the match—was able to climb over Belgium and into first after earning a better head-to-head record.

Iceland has secured relegation to League B after going winless in its four matches.

Group 3

Portugal is into the semifinals after a scoreless draw against Italy and seven points from three games–despite playing without Cristiano Ronaldo. Italy sits in second with five points through four matches. Poland sits last in the group and has been relegated despite having a game to go.

Group 4

After the dust settled on a wild group, England is the one going to the semifinals.

The Three Lions came from a goal down and rallied late for a 2-1 win over Croatia, which sends England to the final four next summer and World Cup runner-up Croatia to relegation to League B. Spain will remain in League A for the next edition of the Nations League despite blowing a comfortable edge in the group.

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LEAGUE B

Group 1

Ukraine already secured promotion through three matches and will move up to League A for the second edition of the competition despite losing handily to Slovakia on Friday. Relegation to League C came down to the Czech Republic and Slovakia, with the Czechs staying up in League B with a 1-0 win, sending Slovakia down to League C.

Group 2

Sweden wound up winning the group and securing promotion to League A with a 2-0 win over Russia on the final day of group play. Turkey, which also fell to Sweden in its last match, has been relegated to League C. 

Group 3

Bosnia and Herzegovina is a perfect 4-0-0 and secured promotion with a 0-0 draw vs. Austria on Thursday.

That result seals Austria's second-place finish and safety and Northern Ireland's relegation and made their final match on Sunday a dead rubber. Austria won, 2-1, meaning Northern Ireland goes down to League C after going without a point in its four games.

Group 4

Denmark has been promoted and Ireland relegated after the Danes' 2-1 win over Wales on Friday.

Tuesday's group finale between Denmark and Ireland was solely for pride and it unfolded as such, with a 0-0 draw putting Denmark two points clear of Wales and six clear of the Irish to close group play.

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LEAGUE C

Group 1

Scotland edged Israel 3-2 in their finale to secure promotion to League B, while Israel will remain in League C the next time around.

Albania finished in third but avoided relegation, as it was not the worst third-place finisher among the four groups in League C (the three others have four teams).

Group 2

Finland secured promotion to League B despite consecutive losses to Hungary and Greece close the group. 

Relegation was also decided last Thursday, as Hungary created enough distance between itself and Estonia to secure safety and send its opponent to League D. Greece is safe from relegation as the best of the third-place finishers among the four-team groups.

Group 3

Norway earned promotion after beating Cyprus 2-0 as Bulgaria drew at home vs. Slovenia. They both entered the final day on 10 points with a game to go. Slovenia, with three points in six games, has been relegated, while Cyprus, despite being in third, also went down as the worst third-place team in League C.

Group 4

Serbia finished off its quest for promotion with a 4-1 win over Lithuania in their final match. Romania and Montenegro staved off relegation, while Lithuania (no points) was sent down to League D with no points in its six games.

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LEAGUE D

Group 1

Georgia was promoted to League C with two matches to spare and rolled to 16 points, while Kazakhstan (six points) finished in second place ahead of Latvia and Andora (four points each).

Group 2

Belarus (14 points) secured promotion, holding off with Luxembourg (10 points) and Moldova (nine). San Marino (no points) never stood a shot.

Group 3

Kosovo topped its group with a 4-0 win over Azerbaijan on the final day to secure a spot in League C. Faroe Islands (five points) and Malta (three points) were well out of the race and will remain in League D.

Group 4

Macedonia (15 points) secured promotion to League C, finishing five points clear of Armenia. Gibraltar and Liechtenstein rounded out the group.

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