Patrick Nelson welcomes Northern Ireland being paired with 'strong opposition'

Irish FA chief executive Patrick NelsonIrish FA chief executive Patrick Nelson
Irish FA chief executive Patrick Nelson | other
Northern Ireland are set to come up against “strong opposition” in the second edition of the UEFA Nations League.

The boys in green and white have been drawn to face Austria, Norway and Romania in League B Group 1 of the competition this autumn.

Northern Ireland lost home and away to the Austrians in the inaugural competition last season and Austria are top seeds in the group.

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Norway and Romania were in the same qualifying group for Euro 2020 but did not make it beyond the group stage. They finished third and fourth respectively behind group winners Spain and Sweden.

Irish FA chief executive Patrick Nelson, who attended the Nations League draw in Amsterdam this afternoon, said: “We’re in with some strong opposition.

“We have faced all of these teams in fairly recent history, Romania en route to our Euro 2016 adventure, Norway in the 2018 World Cup campaign and Austria in the inaugural Nations League tournament.

“The more competitive football our men’s senior team get, the better and I hope we start the campaign on the back of a summer being involved in UEFA Euro 2020, which remains our number one priority.”

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The Nations League group matches will be staged this autumn via three double-headers.

The first set of matches will take place between 3 and 8 September with a further two games in the period from 8 to 13 October and the final matches from 12 to 17 November.

Northern Ireland’s fixture list for the six matches is currently being drawn up and will be revealed soon.