UEFA Euro 2024: Group E Preview

Euro 2024
FILE – The trophy is on display during the presentation of the European soccer championship ‘EURO 2024’ trophy at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, April 24, 2024. The European Championship in Germany is all about tried and tested stadiums with a rich soccer history. Unlike at some recent World Cups, there’s been no rush to finish stadiums on time. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, File)

We’re just a few days away from the start of Euro 2024 and PSN will have you covered on every front. Every goal, every minute, and every piece of breaking news from all stages of the tournament will be covered. 

To kick start our Euro’s coverage, we decided to preview every group before the tournament starts on Friday and it’s the turn of Group E, which contains a former runner-up and a former winner back in the 70’s. 

Euro 2024
FILE – Belgium’s Jeremy Doku controls the ball during the international friendly soccer match between Ireland and Belgium in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, March 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison, File)

Euro 2024: Group E

Euro 2024

Recent History

Belgium over the past decade or so has been one of the most talented nations in the world for football, with a true golden generation that came through, with the likes of Eden Hazard, Thibaut Courtois, and Kevin De Bruyne just to name a few, it was expected that Belgium would go on to win a few major titles in the international game. However, a decade on and there’s been no trophies placed in their cabinet, and with a lot of the golden generation retired now, they may have missed the window to dominate world football truly. 

In terms of getting to the 2024 tournament, Belgium cruised to winning their qualifying group, winning 6 of their 8 games, drawing the other two, and striker Romelu Lukaku broke the record for the most goals scored in Euro qualifying history with 14 goals in those 8 games. 

Tactical Outlook

Belgium will likely stick with their trusty 4-2-3-1 formation, with Lukaku leading the line upfront as the lone striker. However, during qualifying and recent friendly games, they have switched around the shape, opting for a 4-3-3 and a 4-1-4-1 shape too. 

Midfield is where their talent lies, with Kevin De Bruyne being a locked-in starter and Everton midfielder Amadou Onana in that deep-lying role, Tedesco has a flexible third choice for his other midfielder. 

Since coming in to manage the national team, Tedesco has made Belgium a much more direct side when attacking. They do still enjoy possession but look to attack more directly, with wingers inverting and allowing the fullbacks to run down the wide areas. 

Strengths and Weaknesses

Belgium’s main strength comes from the talent they have in midfield as mentioned before. With a group that includes Kevin De Bruyne, Amadou Onana, Youri Tielemans, Orel Mangala, and Aster Vranckx, you’re going to be set up for success. They also have a lot of talent up front, with the likes of Leandro Trossard, Jeremy Doku out wide and Lukaku and RB Leipzig’s Lois Openda as striking options. 

The main issue with Belgium is their tendency to choke when the game truly means everything. If you look at their recent history in major tournaments, there are a lot of great finishes, deep into tournaments but they just can’t get it done and the overall talent in the squad has fallen off over time. That’s the big question with Belgium every time, will they be able to finally get over that last hurdle? 

Euro 2024 Betting Odds

To qualify for the Knockout Round: -1600
To reach the Quarterfinals: -110
To reach the Semifinals: +275
To reach the Final: +750
To win Euro 2024: +2,000

Euro 2024

Recent History

Romania is appearing at the Euro 2024 for the first time since 2016 and off the back of an extremely impressive qualifying campaign that saw them top their group over the likes of Switzerland and did it by going unbeaten in all 10 games. 

Romania has been on the rise with football talent for a while now, they have some of the best academies in the world and when I covered the U21’s Euros a few years back, Romania was very impressive, and many of that squad features for the senior team in this year’s Euros.

Tactical Outlook

In terms of tactics, Romania loves to deploy a 4-1-4-1 system where they hold a high press and look to intercept the ball quickly, something they did at an alarmingly high rate as they ranked 2nd for interceptions and 3rd for tackles out of all qualified nations.  

Going forward, Romania is quite adaptive to how they work. They love little combinations between a fullback, winger, and midfielder, they look to beat a high press with long balls over the top and are comfortable possessing the ball against smaller nations

Strengths and Weaknesses

In terms of strengths for Romania, they’re incredibly disciplined at the back and are set up to defend and keep clean sheets. Tottenham’s Radu Dragusin is crucial to the way they defend for their lives and form a wall in front of their box. 

The weakness of this Romanian squad is experience. While a lot of their squad is full of young talent, and that’s something I always love to see, most haven’t got a lot of elite experience and there are only 2 surviving members of the 2016 squad. It leaves Romania as a risky unknown for the tournament, will the lack of experience help them thrive or cost them in important matches and moments? 

Euro 2024 Betting Odds

To qualify for the Knockout Round: -125
To reach the Quarterfinals: +550
To reach the Semifinals: +2,300
To reach the Final: +8,000
To win Euro 2024: +20,000

Euro 2024

Recent History

Slovakia is coming into the tournament on the back of an impressive qualifying campaign that saw them finish runners-up to Portugal in Group J, with their only two losses of qualifying being to the group winners themselves. 

Slovakia is the only previous winner of the tournament to feature in the group after winning the tournament back in 1976. They’ll be looking to somehow repeat that feat this year, although that would be the biggest upset in international footballing history. 

Tactical Outlook

Slovakian manager Francesco Calzona has exclusively played a 4-3-3 system since taking over the national side back in 2022. Martin Dubravka and Milan Skriniar are back in the squad for the Euros, which is huge for their chances of getting through the group stages

Stanislav Lobotka will be the midfield engine that runs the team and allows them to play in a very structured system, but the choices of players that will partner him in that 3-man midfield will be the key giveaways to how Slovakia attacks each game

Strengths and Weaknesses

Slovakia’s strengths will come from the back line and goalkeeper positions. In terms of goalkeepers, Slovakia has some decent options, and their center-back partnership of Milan Skriniar and David Hancko will be a key part of how they succeed

Their weakness is going forward, manager Calzona loves to play out from the back and build play from there, but he knows that won’t work against the likes of Belgium, so it’ll be up to his flair players to take the very few chances they’ll get and it’s whether they have the quality to do that. 

Euro 2024 Betting Odds

To qualify for the Knockout Round: -110
To reach the Quarterfinals: +800
To reach the Semifinals: +3,000
To reach the Final: +15,000
To win Euro 2024: +50,000

Euro 2024

Recent History

Ukraine in the past decade or so has really come on as a footballing nation and built itself as a solid football team that can cause trouble for even the best of teams. They qualified for the tournament by winning their playoff game against Iceland, thanks to a late Mudryk goal

Their last appearance in the Euros was in 2020, where they managed to record their best finish in the tournament, getting to the Quarterfinals. Will they be able to repeat that or even better it? 

Tactical Outlook

4-2-3-1 has always been the successful formation for Rebrov and his men, he’s managed to find the perfect balance between counter-attacking football and solid defensive work. 

Their attacking options are the stuff of nightmares for defensive opposition if they get the chance to counterattack. With the speed of Chelsea’s Mudryk, and the impressive Shakhtar player Georgiy Sudakov in behind the striker, Ukraine has every chance to cause major issues for teams if they’re able to break away. 

Arsenal’s Oleksandr Zinchenko moves forward for his national side and plays in midfield, allowing Everton’s Vitaliy Mykolenko to play at left back and they have a nice understanding between each other, with Zinchenko falling back into left back if Mykolenko wants to get forward at any stage during the game. 

Strengths and Weaknesses

The strength of this Ukrainian side is their threat on counter-attack. If they can bide their time during games and make quick, decisive choices on when to break, like from defending a corner or set piece, then they can easily get through this group and challenge in the knockouts. 

The weakness of this Ukrainian side however is I’m not sure where the goals are going to come from. Girona’s Dovbyk will have all the pressure on his shoulders to finish every chance that falls his way because you can’t rely on the likes of Mudryk to finish his chances. Creating chances is one thing, actually making them count is the major part.    

Euro 2024 Betting Odds

To qualify for the Knockout Round: -220
To reach the Quarterfinals: +333
To reach the Semifinals: +1,000
To reach the Final: +3,000
To win Euro 2024: +10,000

Euro 2024 Group E Match Information

  • Romania vs Ukraine | Monday, June 17 @ 9 am EST | TV: Fubo/Vix
  • Belgium vs Slovakia | Monday, June 17 @ 12 pm EST | TV: FOX
  • Slovakia vs Ukraine | Friday, June 21 @ 9 am EST | TV: Fubo/Vix
  • Belgium vs Romania | Saturday, June 22 @ 3 pm EST | TV: FOX
  • Slovakia vs Romania | Wednesday, June 26 @ 12 pm EST | TV: FS1
  • Ukraine vs Belgium | Wednesday, June 26 @ 12 pm EST | TV: FOX

PSN’s Other Euro 2024 Previews

Group A | Group B | Group C
Group D

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Featured Image Credit: AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, File