The Nations League final four is set after all four League A groups have been sorted. So now what?
The Netherlands filled out the field for the summer semifinals, winning Group 1 by virtue of a draw vs. Germany on Monday and a tiebreaker over World Cup champion France. Les Bleus join Portugal, England and Switzerland in an interesting, if not unexpected, quartet vying for the first Nations League title. The other teams staying up in League A will be the France, Belgium, Spain and Italy, while Germany, Iceland, Croatia and Poland suffered the ignominious fate of being the first sides relegated from the top league to League B. They'll be replaced by Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ukraine, Denmark and either Russia or Sweden for the 2020-2021 edition of the competition.
But before then, there's a champion to crown. Here's how the four-team finals will work, where it will take place and when the winner will left the trophy:
How They Got There
The finals are comprised of the four group winners in League A. The Netherlands won Group 1, edging France after a dramatic comeback to draw Germany and go through via tiebreaker. Switzerland took Group 2, routing Belgium 5-2 on the final day of group play to edge the World Cup third-place winner. Portugal eased to first in Group 3 with a game to spare, never really being troubled by Italy or Poland. England topped Group 4, rallying from a goal down in the finale vs. Croatia to go through on Harry Kane's winner.
Portugal is slated to be the host nation for the four-team mini-tournament, though it hasn't officially been granted hosting rights yet. UEFA opened up hosting privileges to a bidding process, with Portugal, Poland and Italy all putting their hats in the ring. Since they were all in the same group, that made the selection process rather easy once Portugal secured first place over the weekend.
Games are slated to be played at Porto's famed Estadio do Dragão and Estadio D. Afonso Henriques in Guimarães.
The Draw and Format
The Nations League finals draw is set for Dec. 3. It'll be a short proceeding. Two group winners will be sent to one destination, while the others will go to another. The winners meet in the final, the losers play for third place. Straightforward enough.
One single-elimination semifinal will take place on June 5, with the other happening a day later.
The third-place game and final, also single-elimination, will both happen on June 9.
What's at Stake
Pride, a trophy and prize money. The fourth-place finisher will earn $1.72 million, while third place will take home $2.86 million. The runner-up will net $4.01 million, and the winner will secure $5.15. All of those figures are on top of the $3.44 million they've already earned for participating in the competition and reaching the semifinals.
All four group winners also have the luxury of being in a seeded pot and five-team groups for Euro 2020 qualifying as well as the safety net of going into the qualifying playoff bracket for Euro 2020 if they don't make it through the group stage.
The Next Nations League
The next stretch on UEFA's international calendar will be focused on Euro 2020 qualifying, but the 2020-21 Nations League is slated to begin in the fall following the true continental championship in two summers' time.