England were relegated from League A of the Nations League on Friday night after losing 1-0 to Italy at San Siro.
Gareth Southgate’s side are now sure to finish bottom of Group A3, although they still have one game to go – hosting Germany at Wembley on Monday.
Here, PA news agency looks at what relegation could mean for England’s national team next year.
Southgate has always praised the Nations League for replacing non-competitive friendlies with games against Europe’s elite nations.
Since the first edition, England have been drawn into groups alongside Spain, Croatia, Belgium, Denmark and Iceland, before disembarking Italy, Hungary and Germany in the current competition.
The opposition standard could now drop significantly, with possibilities like Kazakhstan, Georgia and Albania in England’s group – not ideal preparation between major tournaments.
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England topped their group in 2019, beating Spain and Croatia to reach the final in Portugal. There, they lost to the Netherlands after extra time in the semi-finals, before beating Switzerland on penalties to secure third place.
Relegation takes away the prospect of reaching the final, which is open only to League A group winners. The prize offered for the first League B groups is promotion back to League A, something England will see as a must. .
Most importantly, the qualification for the Euro 2024 qualifiers is established by the final positions in the Nations League. That means all four group winners go into a Nations League pot, which is one team short to allow the finals to take place at the same time as two rounds of European Championship qualifiers.
The next 10 teams form the first pot, again based on their performances in the Nations League, with England now headless as a result of their relegation.
A good record in recent qualifying campaigns was based on facing inferior opponents, but being in the second pot could see England disembark Portugal, France, Belgium or Italy in an attempt to reach the final in Germany.