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Italy to play England again twice in Nations League group

Italy to play England again twice in Nations League group

NYON, Switzerland (AP) — Italy and England were drawn in the same Nations League group Thursday, setting up two rematches next year of their European Championship final.

The group also includes Germany and Hungary, with teams playing each other at home and away between June and September.

The next edition of the UEFA competition will effectively also be warm-up games for the World Cup which kicks off in November in Qatar.

World champion France was drawn in a group that includes Croatia, its opponent in the 2018 World Cup final, Denmark and Austria.

Top-ranked Belgium was grouped with neighboring Netherlands, Poland and Wales.

Spain, Portugal, Switzerland and the Czech Republic make up the fourth group in the top Nations League level.

The group winners in top-tier League A advance to a Final Four mini-tournament in June 2023 to crown the champion. France is the the title holder, winning the most recent edition in October.

Four rounds of group games are scheduled from June 2-14 and two more rounds are played from Sept. 22-27.

The four groups in League B included a strong draw pooling together Sweden, Norway, Serbia and Slovenia.

The Nations League divides the 55 European teams into three levels of 16 countries each, with seven minnows in a smaller fourth level.

Group winners in Leagues B, C and D are promoted into the league above for the next group stage in 2024. Last-place teams in the top three tiers are relegated one level for the next edition.

Teams can also reach the qualifying playoffs for the 2024 European Championship based on their overall ranking in the Nations League.

This format let Hungary, Slovakia, Scotland and North Macedonia qualify for Euro 2020.

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