The second edition of the CONCACAF Nations League began in June 2022. Here’s a guide for all you need to know about the competition.
What is the CONCACAF Nations League?
It is a competition between the 41 member nations of CONCACAF, the regional governing body of North America, Central America and the Caribbean. It was created to mirror the idea of the UEFA Nations League, aiming to provide more meaningful, competitive fixtures when international friendlies would usually be played.
It was also noted that some minor nations were playing fewer than 10 games in a four-year period, and this gives them the chance of regular competitive football.
So this means there are no more international friendlies?
CONCACAF nations will still play some international friendlies. Major countries in League A had two spare dates in June 2022, while the September 2022 international dates have been reserved for warm-up games ahead of the World Cup in November.
What is the format?
The 41 nations that take part in the CONCACAF Nations League proper are split into three “Leagues.” The strongest nations are in League A, and the weakest in League C.
League A: 12 teams, into four groups of three
League B: 16 teams, into four groups of four
League C: 13 teams, one group of four and three of three
Teams within each group will play each other home and away.
The Futbol Americas crew give credit to Gregg Berhalter and discuss how the USMNT squad are finally playing their part.
What are the CONCACAF Nations League groups?
Group A: Mexico, Jamaica, Suriname
Group B: Costa Rica, Panama, Martinique
Group C: Canada, Honduras, Curacao
Group D: United States, El Salvador, Grenada
Group A: Cuba, Guadeloupe, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados
Group B: Haiti, Bermuda, Guyana, Montserrat
Group C: Trinidad & Tobago, Nicaragua, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Bahamas
Group D: Guatemala, French Guiana, Dominican Republic, Belize
Group A: Bonaire, Turks and Caicos Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, Sint Maarten
Group B: Saint Kitts and Nevis, Aruba, Saint Martin
Group C: Saint Lucia, Dominica, Anguilla
Group D: Puerto Rico, Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands
What are the fixture dates?
Matchday 1: June 2-4, 2022
Matchday 2: June 5-7, 2022
Matchday 3: June 9-11, 2022
Matchday 4: June 12-14, 2022
Matchday 5: March 23-25, 2023
Matchday 6: March 26-28, 2023
When does USMNT and Mexico play?
June 10, 2022 – United States vs. Grenada (Austin, TX)
June 14, 2022 – El Salvador vs. United States (San Salvador)
March 24, 2023 – Grenada vs. United States (St. George’s)
March 27, 2023 – United States vs. El Salvador (TBC)
June 11, 2022 – Mexico vs. Suriname (Torreon)
June 14, 2022 – Jamaica vs. Mexico (Kingston)
March 23, 2023 – Suriname vs. Mexico (Paramaribo)
March 26, 2023 – Mexico vs. Jamaica (TBC)
Will there actually be CONCACAF Nations League champions?
Yes. The four group winners from League A will playoff in knockout format (semifinals, third-place match and final) in June 2023.
Who won the 2019-20 CONCACAF Nations League?
Christian Pulisic converted a penalty kick in the 114th minute as United States beat Mexico 3-2 in the first final in June 2021, which was delayed 12 months due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Honduras finished third in that edition, beating Costa Rica 5-4 on penalties after a 2-2 draw.
Is there promotion and relegation?
Yes, like in the UEFA Nations League the teams which finish bottom of the groups in Leagues A and B will be relegated. The teams that win their groups in Leagues B and C will be promoted.
Grenada, El Salvador, Jamaica and Suriname were the countries promoted to League A for 2022, with Bermuda, Cuba, Haiti and Trinidad and Tobago relegated to League B.
Bahamas, Barbados, Guadeloupe and Guatemala are now in League B, with Aruba, Dominica, Saint Kitts and Nevis and Saint Lucia dropping to League C.
Does the CONCACAF Nations League affect the Gold Cup?
Yes, the 2022 CONCACAF Nations League tournament is also qualifying for the 2023 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Automatic qualifying for the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup goes to 12 nations:
League A: The top two teams from each group
League B: The winner of each group
There will be a playoff path to decide the final four qualifiers.
This playoffs will feature:
League A: The four third-place nations
League B: The four second-place finishers
League C: The four group winners
There is no confirmed date for the qualifying playoffs.
The 2023 CONCACAF Gold Cup is due to be played between June 26 and July 16, 2023, with the host country still to be confirmed. Qatar will take part as the 16th country as an invited guest.
Does any country have to qualify for the CONCACAF Nations League?
No, all 41 nations take part automatically.
However, there was an initial, one-off “qualifying” phase, from September 2018 to March 2019, between the 34 lowest-ranked nations in CONCACAF to set the seedings for the first full edition in 2019-20. It used the “Swiss-style” league system, to be used in the revamped UEFA Champions League as of 2024-25.
The top six teams qualified for CONCACAF Nations League A, 7-22 for League B, and 23-34 for League C.
Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Trinidad & Tobago and United States progressed direct to League A as participants of the 2018 World Cup qualifying Hexagonal.
When is the next edition of the CONCACAF Nations League?
It is yet to be confirmed, though is likely to take place between September and November 2023, with the finals in June 2024.