England’s Nations League campaign: What do we need to qualify?
There are only two matches left in the inaugural Women’s Nations League group stages with promotion, relegation and qualification for next year’s Olympics in Paris all on the line.
England still have a chance of winning Group A1 but Scotland and Wales are hoping to avoid relegation into League B.
England need to reach the Nations League final – or finish third in the finals tournament if France make the final – to see Team GB secure a sport at next summer’s Paris Olympics.
But losses away to the Netherlands and Belgium mean the Lionesses may not top Group A1 even if they win their final matches against the Netherlands (at Wembley) and then another away match at Scotland.
How hard will it be for England to make it to the Olympics?
England must win their group to stand a chance of reaching Paris in 2024.
Asked about their hopes of qualifying, manager Sarina Wiegman said on ITV: “First of all we have to beat the Netherlands by more than one goal at Wembley [in December] so we know we have work to do.
“We have put ourselves in a hard position.”
Qualification for Paris 2024 is out of their hands. They will need to win their next two games, and with one being a Wembey home game and the return of Beth Mead, you would expect England to do so. But even if they beat the Netherlands and then Scotland away in this window, they will need Belgium to drop points in their final two games.
Ives Serneels’ side have caught the eye and two victories would guarantee a semi-final place. The Netherlands are still well placed to qualify, sitting top.
Scotland must win twice to avoid automatic relegation. Going down would serve as a heavy blow to their hopes of qualifying for Euro 2025.
How does the Nations League work?
The Women’s Nations League 2023-24 consists of two leagues of 16 teams, and a third league of 19 teams.
League A is the top division and both League A and B are split into four groups of four, while League C is made up of four groups of four and one of three.
The winners of each group in League A advance to next year’s finals tournament, where the two finalists will qualify for Paris 2024.
If France, who have already qualified as hosts, are in the final, the winner of the third-placed play-off will reach the Olympics.
The winners of each group in Leagues B and C will be promoted into the division above, with the fourth-placed finishers in Leagues A and B – and the worst-ranked third-placed side in League B – going straight down.
The second-placed sides in League B will meet the third-placed sides in League A in a two-legged promotion and relegation play-off for a spot in the top tier.
The three best-ranked runners-up in League C will also face the remaining three third-placed sides from the second tier in a play-off for a spot in League B.
How do the finals in the Nations League work?
A draw will decide the semi-final ties between the group winners from League A, as well as the home team in each of the matches.
The matches, which will take place between 21 and 28 February 2024, will be played as single-leg games, with two semi-finals, a third-place play-off and a final.