Wednesday at noon Macedonia will find out the opponents in the new competition under UEFA called Nations League. The tournament will substitute the friendly matches, but will also be part of the 2020 EURO. Macedonia sees a great chance to finally realize the dream of qualifying.
The Swiss city of Lausanne will host the draw ceremony that is scheduled for 12.00 CET this Wednesday. The competition will be split into 4 leagues (A, B, C and D) with each league having 12 to 16 teams divided by ranks. League A includes the 12 top-ranked teams. The next 12 teams are in League B, the next 15 in League C and the remaining 16 in League D where Macedonia will compete. The 55 UEFA members are split according to their position in the UEFA National Team Coefficient Rankings following the end of the European Qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup (as per 11 October 2017, play-off results and late friendlies were not included).
Macedonia is seeded and put in Pot 1 as at the time was the second-best ranked national team.
Macedonia will be drawn together with one opponent from each pot, excluding the one where Macedonia is seeded. Four groups of four teams will be formed. The four group winners will be promoted to League C for the next edition.
Due to excessive travel restrictions, UEFA decided that any group can contain a maximum of one of these pairs: Andorra & Kazakhstan, Faroe Islands & Kazakhstan, Gibraltar & Kazakhstan, Gibraltar & Azerbaijan. That means that if Macedonia gets drawn with Faroe Islands, Kazakhstan won’t be able to join.
The important is that the top four ranked teams that DO NOT qualify for UEFA EURO 2020 through the standard qualifications, will enter a play-off in March 2020, with one finals place on offer. That means that if Macedonia wins its Nations League group and later fails to qualify using the standard qualifications, will receive a second chance by entering a final-four tournament against other three best-ranked League D participants that have failed to qualify as well.
Considering the opponents, this is a great chance for Macedonia finally to appear on a major international tournament. It doesn’t mean that it will be easy as the other teams as well see this as their best opportunity, so everyone will be striving for qualification.
Best possible group according to MacedonianFootball:
Worst possible group according to MacedonianFootball:
The official match and draw dates:
Matchday 1: 6–8 September 2018
Matchday 2: 9–11 September 2018
Matchday 3: 11–13 October 2018
Matchday 4: 14–16 October 2018
Matchday 5: 15–17 November 2018
Matchday 6: 18–20 November 2018
Finals draw: early December 2018
Finals: 5–9 June 2019
UEFA EURO 2020 play-off draw: 22 November 2019
UEFA EURO 2020 play-offs: 26–31 March 2020
Video explanation (in Macedonian language):