France, Netherlands and Germany have been drawn in a daunting group in the inaugural UEFA Nations League.
Didier Deschamps’ side have been drawn alongside Netherlands in Group 1 of League A, the two teams having faced off in World Cup qualifying, as well as the reigning world champions.
England meet Croatia, who famously denied them a place at Euro 2008 with a 3-2 win at Wembley in November 2007, and Julen Lopetegui’s Spain.
Italy face Poland and European champions Portugal in Group 3, while Belgium meet Switzerland and Iceland in Group 2.
League B will see the Republic of Ireland meet Wales, now coached by Ryan Giggs, and Denmark, who beat the Irish in the play-off for the 2018 World Cup finals.
Russia, the hosts of this year’s finals, will take on Sweden and Turkey, while Austria face Bosnia-Herzegovina and Northern Ireland. Slovakia, Ukraine and the Czech Republic are in Group 1.
Scotland will take on Albania and Israel in the three-team Group 1 of League C, while Group 4 will see Serbia take on Montenegro.
UEFA’s bold new competition aims to replace a large portion of friendlies with more competitive fixtures against similarly ranked teams.
The system will also offer an alternative route into the European Championship, beginning with Euro 2020.
Teams who finish top of their groups in League A will compete at the Nations League finals next year, while countries can also be promoted and relegated depending on the final standings.
The matches begin in September 2018.
NATIONS LEAGUE DRAW:
Group 1: Germany, France, Netherlands
Group 2: Belgium, Switzerland, Iceland
Group 3: Portugal, Italy, Poland
Group 4: Spain, England, Croatia
Group 1: Slovakia, Ukraine, Czech Republic
Group 2: Russia*, Sweden, Turkey
Group 3: Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Northern Ireland
Group 4: Wales, Republic of Ireland, Denmark
*Russia initially drawn in Group 1 but moved as they cannot share a group with Ukraine
Group 1: Scotland, Albania, Israel
Group 2: Hungary, Greece, Finland, Estonia
Group 3: Slovenia, Norway*, Bulgaria, Cyprus
Group 4: Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, Lithuania
*Norway initially drawn in Group 2 but moved due to winter scheduling fears
Group 1: Georgia, Latvia, Kazakhstan, Andorra
Group 2: Belarus, Luxembourg, Moldova, San Marino
Group 3: Azerbaijan, Faroe Islands, Malta, Kosovo
Group 4: Macedonia, Armenia, Liechtenstein, Gibraltar