Euro 2024: Group E – Can Young Guns Outshine Experience?

Group E may not seem the most thrilling at first glance, with Belgium standing out as the clear favorite. However, fans shouldn’t underestimate the schedule. The battle for the second spot is on among the remaining three teams: Slovakia, Romania, and Ukraine.

The Ukrainians made history by reaching the quarter-finals at Euro 2020, their best performance ever. Their qualification journey was a bit complex, finishing third in their group and then conquering the playoffs by defeating Iceland to secure their place in the tournament.

While Slovakia has been a regular participant in the Euros without standout performances, they have a dependable team capable of springing surprises.

Lastly, Romania missed the 2020 tournament but is now back. Despite having some talents, Romania still needs to prove it can compete at the top level. Their success in this tournament will heavily rely on key matchups against Slovakia and particularly Ukraine.

Belgium: The Favourites with Aging Stars

Group Winner Odds: 1.47 (22bet)

Belgium, the top pick in Group E, must acknowledge the need to approach their games with utmost seriousness. The aging squad can no longer execute the same expansive style of play as before, with key players experiencing a decline in intensity.

Belgium’s defensive aspects still require enhancement compared to other areas, favoring a slower-paced game. The team is set to depend on their front trio featuring Jeremy Doku (Manchester City), Romelu Lukaku (AS Roma), and Leandro Trossard (Arsenal FC). Lukaku and Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City) are expected to lead the team following the retirement of Eden Hazard.

Several changes in the backline have left Belgium vulnerable, and they may need to reinforce the defense with players like Axel Witsel (Atlético de Madrid) and Wout Faes (Leicester City).

Belgium’s strategy should revolve around Doku and Kevin De Bruyne, the primary creators of chances for the team. Lukaku’s role as the focal point is crucial for the team’s success, with any deviation likely leading to unfavorable outcomes. The team had decent results in friendly matches, securing wins against Luxembourg, Montenegro, and Ireland, and a draw against England (2-2).

Romania: The Surprise Package

Group Qualification Odds: 1.7 (22bet)

Romania’s return after missing the 2020 edition has been remarkable. They dominated their group, remaining unbeaten with six wins and four draws. Their final victory over Switzerland was a testament to their strength.

However, Romania needs to work on sustaining pressure, as shown by dropped points against Kosovo and Israel. Concerns have been raised from their international friendly matches, where they failed to secure a win from four games, including a defeat against Colombia (2-3).

The encounter against Bulgaria was particularly concerning, showcasing Romania’s struggles. Key players like Ianis Hagi and Radu Dragusin will play significant roles in their campaign.

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