Belfast Telegraph

Fixtures announced: Northern Ireland begin UEFA Nations League at home to Bosnia & Herzegovinia

By Gareth Hanna

Northern Ireland's fixtures have been announced after they were drawn against Austria and Bosnia & Herzegovinia in Group B3 of the UEFA Nations League.

As a result, Northern Ireland swerved a potential grouping with the Republic of Ireland, who were instead pitted against Denmark in Group B4.

The group stage schedule has also been announced with Northern Ireland beginning at home to Bosnia on Saturday, September 9.

Back-to-back away games follow before the final tie at home to Austria on Sunday, November 18.

Northern Ireland's UEFA Nations League fixtures

Saturday September 8: Bosnia - Herzegovina (H) 2pm

Friday October 12: Austria (A) 7.45pm

Monday October 15: Bosnia - Herzegovina (A) 7.45pm

Sunday November 18: Austria (H) 5pm

Read all about how the UEFA Nations League is going to work here:

"Austria is a country that we prepared in for the Euros, so it will be nice to go and play there in a competitive game," said Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill. "Bosnia again are a strong team, but I think it gives us an opportunity for promotion in the Nations League and also the opportunity to win a place at Euro 2020.

"There will be a little transition in our squad so it's good that the tournament is coming before the Euro qualifiers start.

"When you are a small nation like us, the Euro qualifiers will run from March to November so when they are run over a shorter space of time hopefully injuries won't affect you as much.

"We will need our big players fit for as many games as possible and I'm really looking forward to it, as will the players. It's something different and we will try to do as well as possible.

"You are also playing against teams who will improve your ranking. One of our biggest challenges is the cost of holding friendlies and bringing teams here. The big teams play against the big teams in friendlies so it's good to have this tournament to fill that void."

Meanwhile, Scotland have been drawn against Israel and Albania in Group C1. England have been drawn with Croatia and Spain in Group A4.

UEFA Nations League draw in full

League A

Group 1: Netherlands, France, Germany.

Group 2: Iceland, Switzerland, Belgium.

Group 3: Poland, Italy, Portugal.

Group 4: Croatia, England, Spain.

League B

Group 1: Czech Republic, Ukraine, Slovakia.

Group 2: Turkey, Sweden, Russia.

Group 3: Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Herzegovinia, Austria.

Group 4: Denmark, Republic of Ireland, Wales.

League C

Group 1: Israel, Albania, Scotland. (three teams)

Group 2: Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary.

Group 3: Cyprus, Bulgaria, Norway, Slovenia.

Group 4: Lithuania, Montenegro, Serbia, Romania.

League D

Group 1: Andorra, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Georgia.

Group 2: San Marino, Moldova, Luxembourg, Belarus.

Group 3: Kosovo, Malta, Faroe Islands, Azerbaijan.

Group 4: Gibraltar, Leichtenstein, Armenia, FYR Macedonia.

UEFA Nations League draw as it happened

WATCH: Live coverage of the draw for the new UEFA Nations League. 🏆

Posted by Sky Sports on Wednesday, January 24, 2018
 

Belfast Telegraph Digital

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph