Northern Ireland and Republic may meet in new Uefa Nations League
ALTHOUGH they can't meet in next month's World Cup play-offs, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland could come up against each other in the new Uefa Nations League next year.
Both Irish sides will be in the second tier of 12 teams, League B, but will be in different pots, based on the Uefa national team co-efficients calculated after the end of the World Cup qualifying groups.
The Uefa Nations League for its top two levels will consist of three-team groups, with four matches, home and away, over six matchdays in September, October, and November 2018.
Apart from each other, both teams could meet one of Austria, Wales, Russia, and Slovakia, who will all be in Pot 1.
The Republic, who will be in Pot 2, could also meet Northern Ireland, Denmark, the Czech Republic, or Turkey from Pot 3.
NI's other potential opponents from Pot 2 are Sweden, Ukraine, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The draw will take place on January 24 next year, in Lausanne, Switzerland. Uefa has stated that Russia and Ukraine will not be drawn in the same group.
The four group winners will be promoted to League A for the 2020 Nations League, with the four bottom teams relegated to League C for that year.
The top four-ranked League B teams that do not qualify for Euro 2020 through its qualifying (taking place throughout 2019) will enter Nations League play-offs in March 2020, with one Euro 2020 finals place on offer.
2018 Uefa Nations League seedings:
LEAGUE A (four three-team groups to be drawn):
Pot 1: Germany, Portugal, Belgium, Spain
Pot 2: France, England, Switzerland, Italy
Pot 3: Poland, Iceland, Croatia, Netherlands
LEAGUE B (four three-team groups to be drawn):
Pot 1: Austria, Wales, Russia, Slovakia
Pot 2: Sweden, Ukraine, Republic of Ireland, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Pot 3: Northern Ireland, Denmark, Czech Republic, Turkey
LEAGUE C (three four-team groups and one three-team group to be drawn):
Pot 1: Hungary, Romania, Scotland, Slovenia
Pot 2: Greece, Serbia, Albania, Norway
Pot 3: Montenegro, Israel, Bulgaria, Finland
Pot 4: Cyprus, Estonia, Lithuania
LEAGUE D (four four-team groups to be drawn):
Pot 1: Azerbaijan, FYR Macedonia, Belarus, Georgia
Pot 2: Armenia, Latvia, Faroe Islands, Luxembourg
Pot 3: Kazakhstan, Moldova, Liechtenstein, Malta
Pot 4: Andorra, Kosovo, San Marino, Gibraltar