UEFA Nations League: how Scotland can still qualify for Euro 2020 - and who they could face in the play-offs

Scotland have finished outside the top two of their Euro 2020 qualifying group, but they can still earn a place at next year's tournament via the Nations League.

The draw for the European tournament takes place later this month, but the qualification process isn't over just yet.

Teams who failed to qualify for the tournament via the traditional group stage are offered a second bite of the cherry via the UEFA Nations League play-offs

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

How does the UEFA Nations League work?

Scotland can still qualify for Euro 200 via the Nations League (Getty Images)

All 55 UEFA member associations were divided into four leagues depending on their coefficient.

Group A was made up of the 12 best ranked nations, while Group D features the 16 lowest ranked nations. Scotland featured in Group C.

Within those leagues the nations were divided into four groups of three or four. Teams play each other twice, home and away. Scotland came out on top of their mini-group, finishing above Albania and Israel.

The winners of the groups in Leagues B, C and D will be promoted, while the bottom-placed sides in A, B and C will be relegated for the next edition.

Scotland could face Aleksandar Mitrovic and Serbia should both sides progress through their Nations League semi-finals (Getty Images)

A team's positioning will determine if they are involved in the Nations League play-off if they fail to qualify via the normal European Qualifiers.

How does the play-off work?

Leagues A, B, C and D will each provide an entrant via the play-offs. The four group winners from each will enter the play-offs for their respective league.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

However, if the group winners have already qualified via the European Qualifiers, their slot will go to the next best-ranked team(s) within the league who have not qualified.

There is a waterfall mechanism in play so slots are awarded to lower leagues if less than four teams remain available for a play-off qualification.

At the end there will be a play-off winner from each of the four leagues, to bring the tournament up to 24 teams.

Who will Scotland face at the play-offs?

With the group stages of the Euro 2020 qualification process almost completed Scotland now have a better picture of who they could face in the Nations League play-offs.

As Scotland finished as the highest ranked Nations League Group C winner, they will host one of the play-off semi-finals at Hampden Park

As things stand they will face either Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary or Israel.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The winner of the semi-final would then go on to face the winner of the opposite semi-final contested by Serbia and Norway.

How have Scotland's potential opponents performed?

Romania finished in fourth place in their Euro 2020 group behind potential final opponents Norway, and Sweden and Spain.

Bulgaria meanwhile finished fourth in Group A on 6 points behind England, Czech Republic and Kosovo.

Israel, who Scotland defeated once and lost to once in the initial Nations League group stage, finished fifth in Group G behind Poland, Austria, Slovenia and North Macedonia.

Hungary narrowly missed out on qualification, losing a shootout with Wales for Group G's second spot.

Serbia, who boast the talents of Aleksandar Mitrovic and Dusan Tadic, finished third in their group behind Ukraine and Portugal.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

When do the play-offs take place?

The play-off semi-final at Hampden will take place on March 26, just three months before the Euro 2020 tournament gets underway.

The final will take place five days later on March 31.