UEFA's inaugural Nations League competition is approaching the end of its preliminary phase.
The race to earn promotion to the league above or even qualify for the finals – all while avoiding the drop to the tier below – is beginning to hot up ahead of next month's last batch of group games.
With potential places at Euro 2020 up for grabs, not to mention seedings for the draw for the qualifying phase, it is within some teams' interests to take their next couple of matches pretty seriously.
Here, we look at the state of play ahead of the last games of matchday five and the matchday six fixtures in November.
LEAGUE A – RACE TO THE FINALS
Group 1: France, Netherlands, Germany
Standings: France are top with four points from two games, one above Netherlands and three clear of Germany. If Germany lose to France on Tuesday, they cannot finish higher than second.
Remaining matches: France v Germany (16/10), Netherlands v France (16/11), Germany v Netherlands (19/11)
Group 2: Belgium, Switzerland, Iceland
Standings: Belgium and Switzerland have six points; Roberto Martinez's side, who have a game in hand, are top thanks to their head-to-head record. Switzerland must beat them by two goals next month to qualify for the finals. Iceland, with no points, have been relegated.
Remaining matches: Belgium v Iceland (15/11), Switzerland v Belgium (18/11)
Group 3: Portugal, Italy, Poland
Standings: Portugal are top with six points from two games, two ahead of Italy. They will reach the finals with a draw against Italy in their last match; the Azzurri must win and hope Portugal then fail to beat Poland to have any chance. Poland have been relegated.
Remaining matches: Italy v Portugal (17/11), Portugal v Poland (20/11)
Group 4: Spain, England, Croatia
Standings: Spain are two points above England at the top. They will reach the finals if they beat Croatia. If they do not, England can qualify with a win over Croatia, who need two victories to finish top themselves.
Remaining matches: Croatia v Spain (15/11), England v Croatia (18/11)
RACE FOR PROMOTION
League B: Ukraine need a draw to go up, as do Russia, although they will be promoted regardless if Sweden do not beat Turkey next month. Bosnia-Herzegovina are also one point away from top spot. Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Republic of Ireland, Slovakia, Sweden and Wales can also still be promoted.
League C: Israel and Finland are a point away from promotion. Bulgaria will go up if they beat Norway on Tuesday and Cyprus do not beat Slovenia. Serbia will top their group next month if they beat Montenegro and Romania lose to Lithuania. Scotland, Albania, Greece, Norway, Cyprus and Montenegro can also still be promoted.
League D: Georgia will go up with a win on Tuesday or if both Group 1 games finish in draws. Luxembourg will be promoted if they beat Belarus, as will Kosovo if they defeat Malta and Azerbaijan fail to beat Faroe Islands. Macedonia will be up with a win over Armenia and if Liechtenstein and Gibraltar draw. Andorra, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Belarus, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Faroe Islands, Liechtenstein, Armenia and Gibraltar can also still be promoted.
7 - After going seven games without defeat between March and October 2017 (W4 D3), Scotland have since lost seven of their last nine games in all competitions (W2). Regression. pic.twitter.com/jFlp5PrbJ9— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 14, 2018
BATTLE AGAINST RELEGATION
League A: Iceland and Poland are relegated. Germany will be down if they do not win another game, as will Croatia. France, Netherlands and England can also go down.
League B: Sweden will be down if they lose to Turkey or fail to win next month. Northern Ireland will be relegated if Austria take at least a point against Bosnia-Herzegovina. Ukraine, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Turkey, Austria, Denmark, Wales and Republic of Ireland can also go down.
League C: Estonia will be relegated with defeat to Hungary. Slovenia will be down if they lose to Cyprus and Norway avoid defeat to Bulgaria. Lithuania need six points and to hope Montenegro beat Romania. Israel, Scotland, Albania, Greece, Hungary, Norway, Cyprus and Romania can also go down.
WHY DOES IT MATTER?
The four group winners in League A will go into the Nations League Finals draw on December 3. They are also guaranteed at least a play-off place for Euro 2020, if they fail to get through qualifying.
The promoted teams from Leagues B, C and D will move up a League for the next Nations League tournament. They are also guaranteed at least a play-off place for Euro 2020, if they fail to get through qualifying.
The relegated teams from Leagues A, B and C will move down a League for the next Nations League tournament.
Every team's final position will determine their seeding for Euro 2020 qualifying, the draw for which takes place on December 2.
18 de noviembre 2018
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|Bonucci boos a ´mistake´ by fans, says Mancini|
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|Santos satisfied as Portugal reach Nations League Finals|
|Howell holds onto RSM Classic lead|
|McLeish optimistic as Scotland zero in on Nations League promotion|
|Luis Enrique rejects criticism of Spain star De Gea|
|Schmidt dismisses Hansen´s Ireland World Cup favourites claim as ´banter´|
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17 de noviembre 2018
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|Ireland were just too good - Read|
|Thomas at the double as France end losing streak|
|Albania 0 Scotland 4: Forrest double sets up promotion showdown|
|Italy 0 Portugal 0: European champions outplayed but secure Finals spot|
|Sensational Djokovic marches into final|
|Stander lauds Ireland´s ´unreal´ defence as All Blacks are thwarted|
|Dazzling Ireland claim historic All Blacks scalp in Dublin|
|Federer unimpressed with Zverev boos|
|Let´s get it on! Cheika relishing England clash|
|Croatia coach Dalic to speak with Lovren over Ramos remarks|
|Xhaka puts improved form down to ´freak´ Emery|
|De Gea not lacking confidence, says Spain´s Saul|
|Jordan goalkeeper scores from own penalty area in friendly against India|
|Pollard leads Springboks to Murrayfield victory|
|Fired-up Japan taught England a great lesson - Jones|
|Sarries leave it late to down Sale, Bath and Saints win|
|O´Shea fumes at disallowed Italy try|
|Southgate welcomes England selection quandary|
|Reaching Rooney´s England goals record ´definitely possible´ – Kane|
|Debut try for Cokanasiga as England rally to avoid Japan upset|
|Wembley will galvanise ´tired´ Croatia, insists Dalic|
|Zverev apologises for tie-break controversy amid O2 Arena heckles|
|Marquez happy with fifth after damaging shoulder in Valencia|
|Wales crush Tonga in Cardiff|
|Germany should keep faith in old guard - Bierhoff|
|Injured Lukaku to miss Belgium´s Nations League decider|
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|Koroibete double maintains Australia´s 100 per cent record against Italy|
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|Socceroos boss Arnold excited for future|
|South Africa triumph on Gold Coast in truncated T20 clash|
|Germany without Draxler for Netherlands game|
|Barcelona confirm Rakitic hamstring injury|
|Rain halts England´s post-tea flourish|
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|Irving thrives on ´peace´ of being in the zone|
|Lloris admits France could have lost by more|
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|Lovren ready for ´fiery´ England clash|