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What's next for England now they have qualified for the Nations League Finals?

What's next for England now they have qualified for the Nations League Finals?
© Reuters
Harry Kane's goal sent Gareth Southgate's side through.

England's qualification for the Nations League semi-finals means Gareth Southgate's side have a second summer of significant action.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at what lies ahead for the national team in 2019.

What's up next for England?

England v Croatia – UEFA Nations League – Group A4 – Wembley Stadium
(Mike Egerton/PA)

While they may have booked their place in a mini-tournament next June, England have to get on the qualifying treadmill before then. The draw for Euro 2020 qualifying takes place on December 2 and matches commence in March through to November 2019. The overall Nations League rankings will determine the composition of the draw pots. In total, there will be five groups of five teams and five groups of six teams playing over 10 match days. The winner and runner-up in each of the 10 groups will qualify automatically.

So where does the Nations League fit in?

England v Croatia – UEFA Nations League – Group A4 – Wembley Stadium
(Nick Potts/PA)

The other four places on offer at Euro 2020 will be awarded to the European Qualifiers play-off winners. These play-offs will be contested in March 2020 by the 16 group winners from the four leagues of the Nations League – unless they have already qualified, in which case the next best-ranked side in the same league will take part. By winning their group, therefore, England have given themselves a second chance at qualification for the Euros.

And what about the Nations League Finals?

France v Croatia – FIFA World Cup 2018 – Final – Luzhniki Stadium
(Aaron Chown/PA)

England will learn their semi-final opponents – either European champions Portugal, Switzerland or one of World Cup winners France or Holland – for their summer trip to hosts Portugal on December 3. The semi-finals will be played on June 5 and 6, with the third-place match and final held on June 9 – while other teams are playing Euro 2020 qualifiers. The team who triumph in the final will be crowned the inaugural Nations League winners. However, that is as much as the achievement will get them. There is no European Championship qualification benefit.

So can winning the Nations League actually be classed as a significant achievement?

Gary Nveille
(John Walton/PA)

The introduction of the tournament was widely derided when it was introduced, but now England are within two matches of winning an actual trophy opinion appears to shifting. Former England defender Gary Neville is coming around to the idea it may turn out to be worth all the change. "We're not sure what they have given us yet, (but) it can't be a bad thing," he told Sky Sports. "If they can make more of it, develop it, they could be on to something, UEFA. We are always critical of associations for creating meaningless tournaments; this seems to be something which might work."

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Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic reacts during the match against Argentina on June 21, 2018
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool1613303462842
2Manchester CityMan City1613214593641
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs16120430161436
4Chelsea16104233132034
5Arsenal16104235201534
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd167542826226
7Everton166642319424
8Bournemouth167272526-123
9Leicester CityLeicester166462120122
10Wolverhampton WanderersWolves166461719-222
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham166372325-221
12Watford166372023-321
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton166371922-321
14Cardiff CityCardiff1642101530-1514
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle163491322-913
16Crystal Palace1633101323-1012
17Burnley1633101532-1712
18Huddersfield TownHuddersfield1624101027-1710
19Southampton161691330-179
20Fulham1623111640-249

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