What is the Women’s Nations League and how does Olympics qualification work?

The Lionesses face a clash with The Tartan Army in front of over 40,000 fans at The Stadium of Light

George Litchfield
Friday 22 September 2023 09:54 BST
England return to action in the Uefa Women’s Nations League
England return to action in the Uefa Women’s Nations League (The FA via Getty Images)

England will take on Scotland in the first matchday of the inaugural Women’s Nations League on Friday.

The fixture is the first between the two nations for four years, and comes just over a month since Sarina Wiegman’s side suffered heartbreak after narrowly missing out on World Cup success in what was another brilliant tournament from The Lionesses.

They now face a clash with The Tartan Army in front of over 40,000 fans at The Stadium of Light, and the Scottish side will certainly be hoping to get one over the ‘Auld Enemy’ for the first time since 2011.

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Uefa Women’s Nations League explained

The 2023 Uefa Women’s Nations League sees teams initially placed into either League A, B or C depending on their positions in the Uefa women’s national team coefficient rankings, which were issued after the group stage of the European Qualifiers for the 2023 World Cup had finished.

Within these leagues, the teams were then seeded into four pots according to the same rankings, with each group containing one team from each pot.

The initial league stage then features each team playing one home match and one away match against each of the other teams in their group, with the four group winners from League A then qualifying for the knockout stage of the competition.

At stake are league positions for the European Qualifiers for Euro 2025. The top two teams in each group in League A will remain in the same league for the qualifiers, along with the five group winners of League B who will be promoted.

The rest of League A will then enter a playoff system to remain in the division with the runners-up of each group in League B.

The reward for the top eight teams in League A according to the final European Qualifiers league ranking will be direct qualification for Euro 2025, with the other teams having to contest another set of playoffs for the remaining seven places (hosts Switzerland have a guaranteed place).

The teams that make it to the final of the Nations League will also qualify for the 2024 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament, alongside hosts France.

England are the nominated nation for Team GB, who will be managed by Sarina Wiegman should they qualify for Paris 2024.

If France do not reach the Nations League final, the winners and runners-up will take the two other Olympic spots - if France are in the final, a spot would go to the third-placed team.

Great Britain have so far been in the women’s football tournament at the Olympics twice, at London 2012 and Tokyo 2021, being eliminated in the quarter-finals both times.

When is England vs Scotland?

The first matchday in the League Stage of the Women’s Nations League kicks off on 21 September and finishes with a clash between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland on 23 September 2023.

England v Scotland will take place at the Stadium of Light on Friday 22 September, with kick-off at 7.45pm BST.

Where can I watch it?

England v Scotland will be shown live on ITV/STV, with coverage starting at 7.30 pm BST.

The game will also be streamed online via the ITVX / STV player.

If you’re travelling abroad and want to watch the event, you might need a VPN to unblock your streaming app. Our VPN round-up is here to help and includes deals on VPNs in the market. Viewers using a VPN need to make sure that they comply with any local regulations where they are and also with the terms of their service provider.

What is the team news?

England: Aston Villa defender Lucy Parker replaces the injured Lotte Meuben-Woy for the hosts.

Keria Walsh and Beth England have both also been ruled out, while Beth Mead has not been deemed ready for inclusion after recently returning to training following an ACL injury.

Fran Kirby has returned from injury and featured in friendlies this month, but has also been left out of the squad.

Scotland: Real Madrid star Caroline Weir, and WSL Player of the Year nominee Kirsty Hanson provide strong options for Pedro Martinez Losa.

Kirsty Maclean, Lauren Davidson and Emma Watson also provide a trio of young talent likely to feature against England.

The 17 year-old Watson has achieved five goal contributions in her first four games for Scotland.

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