Euro 2024 Group E Predictions: Belgium to top, Slovakia to flop

 | Monday 10th June 2024, 12:40pm

Monday 10th June 2024, 12:40pm

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The pressure is all on Belgium as the big dogs in Euro 2024 Group E, while Ukraine are expected to join the Red Devils in the top two at the expense of Romania and Slovakia.

Below you can find a complete preview of all four teams in my Euro 2024 Group E predictions and betting tips.

Euro 2024 Group E Betting Tips

  • Group E Straight Forecast - 1st Belgium, 2nd Ukraine @ 11/4
  • Slovakia Total Group Points - 0 @ 11/2

Belgium

World Ranking: Third

To Win The Group: 1/2

At 18/1, Belgium are only eighth-favourites to win the competition and well behind the likes of England and France (both 4/1). The Red Devils still have Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku in their ranks, with the duo showing few signs of slowing down, but the talent level around them has dropped somewhat.

Their so-called ‘Golden Generation’ was unable to get over the line in 2016 and 2021, reaching the quarter-finals of both editions, while Jan Vertonghen is the only remaining member of the famed backline of him, fellow centre-backs Vincent Kompany and Toby Alderweireld, and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who has been left out of the squad despite returning from injury and playing in a triumphant Champions League final for Real Madrid earlier this month.

But, under the tutelage of new boss Domenic Tedesco, Belgium are unbeaten in 14 games since their 2022 World Cup group-stage exit under previous incumbent Roberto Martinez, topping a Euro 2024 qualifying group containing Austria and Sweden and holding England to a 2-2 draw at Wembley in March.

They’ve been handed a favourable group, one which they should win, and would face a third-place team from Group A/B/C/D if they do, heightening their chances of at least matching their previous two performances in the tournament.

Key Player: Romelu Lukaku

De Bruyne will be handed the creative keys in midfield and Jeremy Doku will be tasked with running full-backs ragged, but Belgium need their record goalscorer Lukaku to turn up in Germany after stinking the place out in Qatar.

Granted, he was half-fit, but his substitute appearance in their final group game against Croatia lives long in the memory - for all the wrong reasons.

Prediction:

Expectations aren’t quite as high over Belgium this year, and that could be to the Red Devils’ advantage. However, while they should win Group E and face a third-place side in the last 16, there is a chance that the team could be one of Spain/Italy/Croatia or France/Austria/the Netherlands - I would have major doubts over Belgium’s chances against one of those nations.

Ukraine

World Ranking: 22nd

To Win The Group: 4/1

It’s been a long old slog for the Ukrainians to get to Germany, with the war-torn country having to play home matches on foreign soil since Russia’s invasion in February 2022.

Placed in a tough qualifying group alongside England and Italy, Ukraine were pipped to second place by the latter but ultimately beat Iceland in a playoff to confirm their place at the summer tournament.

After drawing with both England and Italy last year, the Blue and Yellow held Germany to a goalless draw in Nuremberg on June 3, but followed that up with a 3-1 defeat to Poland in Warsaw four days later.

Belgium should top the group but Ukraine will expect to be just behind the Red Devils, and could even topple the Red Devils if Artem Dobvyk takes his Pichichi Trophy form with Girona into the tournament.

Key Player: Mykhailo Mudryk

Dobvyk scored 24 goals in La Liga to take Girona to third spot and a place in the Champions League, but it’s Mudryk who Ukraine have really relied on in recent years.

The 23-year-old’s Chelsea career is yet to truly ignite, but his pace could be deadly to defences at the Euros - he just needs to keep his head at the final furlong. Easier said than done, of course.

Prediction:

Second in Group E would be good going for Ukraine, but that would pair them with one of France/Austria/the Netherlands/Poland in the knockouts, and unless it’s the latter, the Blue and Yellows could be waving an early goodbye.

Euro 2024 Group E straight forecast @ 11-4

Romania

World Ranking: 46th

To Win The Group: 6/1

After missing out on Euro 2020 - played in 2021 due to COVID - Romania are back at the summer tournament and will be semi-confident of progression from Group E after a brilliant qualifying campaign saw them win their group ahead of Switzerland.

The Tricolorii went unbeaten in their 10 games, keeping six clean sheets, and it’s defensive records like that that can send a team a long way.

However, Romania are winless in four friendlies this year, drawing 1-1 with Northern Ireland and losing 3-2 to Colombia in March before being held to goalless draws by Bulgaria and Liechtenstein this month. The results were inconsequential, but they don’t exactly fill one with confidence heading into Germany.

The lack of a prolific goalscorer, compared to Belgium (Lukaku) and Ukraine (Dobvyk), is likely to be what holds them back from competing against the higher-ranked nations. Midfielder Nicolae Stanciu (14) and striker George Puscas (11) are both in double figures for international goals but have played the past season in Saudi Arabia and the Italian second-tier respectively.

Key Player: Nicolae Stanciu

Romania’s captain was joint-top scorer for his nation in qualifying alongside Valentin Mihaila and Denis Alibec (three goals each) and will need to show all his experience if his side is to reach the next round.

Prediction:

First and second place looks out of reach for Romania, but they can clinch third and potentially qualify with a win over Slovakia in their final game.

Slovakia

World Ranking: 48th

To Win The Group: 9/1

Slovakia collected 22 points from 30 available in Group J of Euro 2024 qualifying, with 75% of the ones they missed out on going to winners Portugal, who ended with a 100% record. Still, the Falcons lost both games against A Seleção das Quinas by just a single goal and that, alongside back-to-back 4-0 wins over San Marino and Wales in their latest international friendlies, should boost confidence ahead of Germany.

However, Slovakia are the worst-ranked side in Group E and can no longer call on their former talisman, Marek Hamsik. Their strength lies in defence with centre-backs Milan Skriniar (Paris Saint-Germain) and David Hancko (Feyenoord), but Newcastle United goalkeeper Martin Dubravka didn’t earn rave reviews when deputising for Nick Pope last season.

Juraj Kucka brings considerable experience in midfield with his 107 international caps, but at 37, his best years are well behind him. In attack, Robert Bozenik is Slovakia’s highest-scoring player with seven international goals, while Lukas Haraslin - who struck four times in Sparta Prague’s 2023/24 Europa League campaign - has six international goals to his name.

A lot could rest on Slovakia’s third and final group game with Romania, which represents their best chance of picking up points in the group. It could well be a winner-takes-all clash for third place and potential qualification.

Key Player: Lukas Haraslin

The 28-year-old only played half (five) of Slovakia’s qualifiers but was their top scorer with three goals, and off the back of an impressive season with Sparta, for whom he struck 12 times in the Czech First League, he will carry a lot of the attacking burden.

Prediction:

Bottom, with zero points. I think Belgium and Ukraine will plot their way past a sturdy Slovakia defence, and that could set up a must-win tie with Romania in their final match.

In an end-to-end encounter, I would back the Romanians to come out on top.

Euro 2024 Total Group E Points - Slovakia - 0 @ 11-2

Group Winner Bonus: Get a cash bonus on your winnings up to 25% if your Euro 2024 Group winner accumulator bet wins!

You can read all our latest Euro 2024 Betting Tips at our dedicated Betfred Insights content hub.

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