Is Women’s Nations League Group B3 a group of hope or death?

Poland, Serbia, Ukraine, and Greece make up Group B3 in the 2023/24 UEFA Women's Nations League.

UEFA Women's Nations League Group B3

Serbia, Ukraine, and Greece. In women’s football, these are not very prominent nations. However, dividing Europe into three divisions for the UEFA Women’s Nations League places these teams into the seemingly balanced League B pool. They are Poland’s opponents in Group B3 of the competition’s inaugural season.

So, let’s take a closer look at each team as qualification for Euro 2025 is on the line.

Serbia: the first glimmers

After Tuesday’s draw, one could wonder if Poland hasn’t had the worst possible luck. Serbia seems the most dangerous rival in Group B3 with the firepower of Bayern Munich forward Jovana Damnjanović. Jelena Čanković is also a formidable opponent. The midfielder recently found recognition among Chelsea stakeholders as she develops her career with the Blues.

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Like most of the League B nations, Serbia has never played a Euro or World Cup match. But the team was the hero of the surprise in April 2022 when they defeated Germany 3-2. However, losing to Portugal in September, they’ve lost the chance for a FIFA Women’s World Cup play-off.

Ukraine: the battling nation

Ukraine did compete in the play-off for Euro 2022 but lost to Northern Ireland in Belfast. From the Polish supporters’ perspective, this is the perfect draw as it means an additional game in Poland — where Ukraine plays its home matches due to the invasion by Russia and the ongoing war.

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From a competitive standpoint, the team is led by Lluís Cortés. The manager won the UEFA Women’s Champions League with FC Barcelona in 2020/21 but left the club after the success. Now he is on his mission to improve the Ukraine women’s football team. However, so far big defeats against Scotland (0-4) and Spain (0-5) show how much work there is to do.

Ukraine’s hope comes in the form of Nicole Kozlova. The 22-year-old was born in Toronto and built experience in Canada and America before signing with her current club, Danish side HB Køge.

Greece: the big unknown

The rival from the last pot is usually considered the easiest one. Greece might be such, but they’re not a team to overlook.

First, it’s hard to find their players in the top European clubs. The exception is Eleni Markou from FC Zurich, but lately, her appearances on the pitch — and even the bench — are infrequent. Secondly, Nikoleta Pitsiou and Grigoria Pouliou are known in Poland as representatives of Medyk Konin.

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Since January, Alexandros Katikaridis coaches the Greek team. He was the assistant of the former coach Georgios Kyriazis. So far, Katikaridis achieved a 1-1 draw and a 2-1 victory in the friendlies against Croatia last April. All three goals came from Anastasia Spyridonidou, who plays club football at Ternana in Serie B Femminile.

Poland: the ambitious favorite

The Polish team is still developing with a clear goal: an appearance at Euro 2025. The team fits perfectly into this group and the entire League B. As mentioned above, the group features countries where women’s football development hasn’t been strong. But each team still has its big stars like Kozlova, Damnjanović, or Ewa Pajor.

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Poland, as drawn from the first pot, has the ability to threaten the strong European teams. They’ve proven this against Belgium, Norway, or in the first half of the last game against the Netherlands. Thus, Poland must be considered the favorite of Group B3—especially with the team’s determination to play at Euro 2025.

Of course, this route makes it easier for Poland to qualify than through League A. But the victories against teams of “the same level” needs to become the standard for The Eaglesses. So far, it’s been their Achilles’ heel.

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