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Friday 05 May 2023
Northern Ireland to face Republic in UEFA Women’s Nations League opener

Northern Ireland’s senior women’s team will start and finish their first UEFA Women’s Nations League campaign with games against the Republic of Ireland. 

The opening game for Northern Ireland in the inaugural Women’s Nations League will be away to the Republic at the Tallaght Stadium in south Dublin on Friday 22 September.

And their fixtures in League B Group 1 will conclude with a home game against the Republic on 5 December. The Republic are top seeds in the group, with Northern Ireland the second seeds.

Sandwiched in between for Northern Ireland are games against third seeds Hungary and fourth seeds Albania. 

The venues/kick-off times for all three B1 home games and the away games against the Hungarians and the Albanians have still to be confirmed. The kick-off time for the away fixture against the Republic has also still to be confirmed. 

The senior women’s team’s first home fixture will be against Albania on Tuesday 26 September. They will then have back-to-back games against the Hungarians in October. The away game against Hungary is on Friday 27 October, with the home encounter on Tuesday 31 October.

The final two games in the group are away to Albania on Friday 1 December followed by the home match against the Republic on 5 December.

The inaugural UEFA Women’s Nations League will determine which four teams from League A progress to finals next year which will also act as Europe's 2024 Olympic qualifiers.

And it will further determine promotion and relegation between the leagues ahead of qualifiers for UEFA Women's Euro 2025 which will initially be in a similar league format.

The winners of the four League B groups in the first UWNL will be promoted to League A for the European Qualifiers phase.

The four second-placed teams in B will play against the third-placed teams in League A with the winners of each match playing in League A next time around and the defeated teams playing in League B. 

Promotion to League A would mean that Northern Ireland could qualify directly for the Euros in 2025 by finishing in the top two of the second League A.

However, there are two other routes to the Euros in Switzerland on offer.

The teams who finish third or fourth in League A in the European Qualifiers phase will go into round one play-offs (home and away) against the highest positioned teams in League C.

Eight teams from the A and C play-offs will then be joined by six teams from the League B qualification stream for a second round of play-offs.

In the League B round one play-offs (home and away) the teams that finish first, second or third in their groups will be involved.

In the subsequent round two play-offs there will be seven ties (home and away; potentially a mix of A, B and C teams), with the seven winners qualifying for the Euros.

The qualifiers for Women’s Euro 2025 will get under way in spring next year following the conclusion of the UEFA Women’s Nations League and will feature the league stage and final tournament play-offs.

The European Qualifiers league stage is set to be played in the same format as the Nations League, with teams split into three leagues: League A with 16 teams, League B with 16 teams and League C with 19 teams. Each team's starting league position will be based on their results in the inaugural Women’s Nations League.