Friday, July 12, 2024

Prediction: Belgium vs Slovakia

Verdict: Belgium win

Best odds: 8/17

Bookmaker: 888sport

Belgium and Slovakia will kick off their Euro 2024 Group E campaigns on Monday evening with an engaging clash at Frankfurt Arena.

With Romania and Ukraine also in what promises to be a competitive group, both Belgium and Slovakia will be eager to start their campaigns with a victory.

Belgium

Belgium enter Euro 2024 with a reputation as potential dark horses rather than outright favorites, yet their form and squad suggest they could make a significant impact. Under the guidance of head coach Domenico Tedesco, the Red Devils come into the tournament buoyed by recent friendly victories against Montenegro and Luxembourg, where they netted five goals and kept clean sheets in both matches.

This positive run continues Belgium’s unbeaten streak in all competitions since their 2-0 defeat to Morocco during the 2022 World Cup, a campaign in which they disappointingly exited at the group stage behind Morocco and Croatia. This performance came after their quarterfinal finish in Euro 2020.

Historically, Belgium’s best showing at the European Championship was in 1980, where they finished as runners-up, losing 2-1 to West Germany in the final. As they gear up for their Euro 2024 opener against Slovakia, Belgium aim to build on this legacy and improve on past results.

Ranked 5th by FIFA, Belgium are seen as the frontrunners to top Group E, which also includes Romania and Ukraine. Following their opening match against Slovakia, Belgium will face Romania on June 22nd before concluding the group stage against Ukraine four days later.

Team News

Belgium will likely be without Jan Vertonghen and Arthur Theate for their Euro 2024 opener against Slovakia due to injuries, with Thomas Meunier also a doubt.

The Red Devils are expected to use a 3-4-2-1 formation, with Romelu Lukaku, their all-time leading goalscorer, as the main striker. Manchester City’s Jeremy Doku and Kevin De Bruyne will feature in the lineup, while defensive absences may allow Maxim De Cuyper to start.

Axel Witsel is expected to play in central defense, with Everton’s Amadou Onana and Orel Mangala set to anchor the midfield for Belgium’s first match of the tournament.

Slovakia

Slovakia will likely be aiming for a second-place finish in Group E, and a strong third-place showing might also secure them a spot in the knockout stages of Euro 2024.

The Falcons last participated in the World Cup in 2010, reaching the round of 16, and were eliminated in the group stage at Euro 2020. Their best Euro performance was in 2016, where they made it to the last 16. Slovakia head into their Euro 2024 opener following two impressive 4-0 friendly wins over San Marino and Wales.

Under Francesco Calzona, Slovakia have lost just one of their last seven matches across all competitions. They finished second in their Euro 2024 qualifying group, behind Portugal, with 22 points from 10 games.

On Monday, Calzona’s team will seek their first-ever victory over Belgium. In their three previous meetings, Belgium have won once and drawn twice, with the Red Devils’ sole victory occurring in a friendly match in February 2013.

Team News

Denis Vavro has a minor thigh issue but is still expected to start on Monday evening. Juraj Kucka should also be fit despite recent injury concerns, and Robert Bozenik, who has seven international goals, will feature in the attack.

The Slovakia squad is led by Paris Saint-Germain defender Milan Skriniar, set to earn his 69th cap in this match. Ondrej Duda, the top scorer in the squad with 13 goals, is another nailed-on starter for the Falcons.

Conclusion

Slovakia have what it takes to make things difficult for Belgium in this match, but though a share of the spoils probably wouldn’t come as a huge surprise, the Red Devils are still likely to dominate the match and book an important win in their quest to finish top of the group.

Verdict: Belgium win

Best odds: 8/17

Bookmaker: 888sport

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Veselin Trajkovic


Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on seven different football blogs.

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