Ireland to face Northern Ireland in inaugural UEFA Nations League

Fiorentina's Spanish striker Vero Boquete draws Ireland out in UEFA Women's Nations League Phase Draw at UEFA HQ in Nyon

Fiorentina's Spanish striker Vero Boquete draws Ireland out in UEFA Women's Nations League Phase Draw at UEFA HQ in Nyon Credit: Kristian Skeie/UEFA/Getty Images

The inaugural UEFA women’s Nations League will see the Republic of Ireland face Northern Ireland, Hungary and Albania later this year.

Vera Pauw’s side will return from the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand this summer to face a Northern Ireland side still without a permanent manager following Kenny Shiels’ departure.

Shiels led Norn Iron to their first major tournament at the European Championships in England last month and resigned after they lost all three games in a group containing the hosts and eventual champions.

Former Linfield and Glentoran attacker Andy Waterworth took charge of the side on an interim basis for last month’s 4-1 friendly defeat against Wales in Cardiff.

But they are likely to have a permanent figure in charge by the time the first-ever UEFA Nations League kicks off on September 20th.

The two Irelands last met in qualifying for the 2019 World Cup, when the Republic won 2-0 in Lurgan and 4-0 in Tallaght as they finished third behind the Netherlands and Norway.

Ireland have never faced Albania at senior international level but did come out the right side of a 10-0 win at under-17 level in 2019 when recent senior call-up Erin McLaughlin netted a hat-trick.

West Ham winger Jess Ziu had been offered an opportunity to represent her parents' country of Albania in recent years but she opted to represent her country of birth, though she is likely to miss this summer's World Cup with an ACL injury.

The two Group B1 games will also mark the first time Ireland have faced Hungary at senior level but the under-16 and under-17 squads have recorded wins over the Magyars in recent times.

In League A, European champions England will face Netherlands, Belgium and Scotland, while Sweden - the only side to beat Ireland competitively in two years - face Spain, Italy and Switzerland.

Each team will play one another home and away over six matchdays in late September, late October and late November/early December.

The side that tops the group will be promoted to League A for the next Nations League, while the team that finishes fourth (and the lowest-ranked third-placed side) will be demoted to League C.

And the winners of each of the four League A groups will progress to semi-finals and a final to determine the ultimate winner.

League stage

Draw: 13:00 CET, 2 May 2023

Matchdays 1–2: 20–26 September 2023

Matchdays 3–4: 25–31 October 2023

Matchdays 5–6: 29 November–5 December 2023


Between 21 and 28 February 2024

Promotion/relegation matches

Between 21 and 28 February 2024

League A:

Group A1: England, Netherlands, Belgium, Scotland

Group A2: France, Norway, Austria, Portugal

Group A3: Germany, Denmark, Iceland, Wales

Group A4: Sweden, Spain, Italy, Switzerland

League B:

Group B1: Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Hungary, Albania

Group B2: Finland, Romania, Slovakia, Croatia

Group B3: Poland, Serbia, Ukraine, Greece

Group B4: Czechia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belarus

League C:

Group C1: Malta, Moldova, Latvia, Andorra

Group C2: Türkiye, Luxembourg, Lithuania, Georgia

Group C3: Azerbaijan, Montenegro, Cyprus, Faroe Islands

Group C4: Israel, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Armenia

Group C5: North Macedonia, Kosovo, Bulgaria