England prepares for intense clash with Ireland as Gareth Southgate learns Nations League opponents

The Three Lions will also face Finland and Greece in League B2, with group-stage fixtures scheduled to take place between September and November later this year. Southgate’s side came up well short in the last edition of the Nations League, finishing rock-bottom of League A3 behind Italy, Hungary, and Germany. England failed to win any of their six matches, causing them to drop down and leaving them with no possibility of winning the 2024/25 tournament.

The Three Lions’ key aim will be to secure automatic promotion by winning their group. Second-placed teams can also achieve promotion via a two-legged play-off against a third-placed team from League A. Taking their place among the second-tier’s big hitters in Pot 1, England were drawn against Finland, the Republic of Ireland, and Greece in Paris on Thursday.

Harry Maguire scored the opener in England’s most recent meeting with the Republic of Ireland (Image: Getty). They will face each nation home and away in fixtures set to take place across international breaks in September, October, and November. The Nations League finals, which England will not be a part of, are scheduled for the summer of 2025.

The Three Lions have not met the Irish in a competitive fixture since 1991. Their last four matches have all been friendlies, with six of the last seven head-to-head clashes ending in a draw. Southgate oversaw a win in the most recent tie – a comfortable 3-0 victory in 2020 – with Ireland still searching for their first triumph since Euro ’88.

England, ranked third in the world by FIFA, will be overwhelming favorites heading into League B2 as Ireland, Finland, and Greece are all outside the top 40. Elsewhere in the draw, Scotland were rewarded for winning League B1 last time out with a star-studded lineup in League A1, and Steve Clarke’s side will have their work cut out against Croatia, Portugal, and Poland. Wales drew Iceland, Montenegro, and Turkey in League B4, while Northern Ireland will come up against Luxembourg, Bulgaria, and Belarus in League C3.

Spain clinched the last Nations League title by edging out Croatia on penalties in June last year. France and Portugal won the previous two, with England’s best performance coming in the tournament’s first edition when they beat Switzerland in 2019’s third-place play-off.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *