Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Nations to look out for at Euro 2024

Nations to look out for at Euro 2024
Nations to look out for at Euro 2024

It’s just under a month until Europe’s powerhouses clash on the international stage, as Euro 2024 kicks off on June 14 with Germany taking on Scotland at the Allianz Arena.

The current Euro winner odds have England, France and Germany as the favourites for the competition, however, there are a few nations heading into the tournament that could exceed all expectations placed upon them.

Austria

Beginning with one of the most in-form nations in international football currently, Austria have hit their stride just before Euro 2024 under the tenure of former Manchester United boss, Ralf Rangnick.

The German has overseen only one defeat in the last 14 games for Austria since their disappointing five-game run without a victory that saw them relegated from League A of the UEFA Nations League.

That single defeat came in a narrow 3-2 loss to Belgium in October 2023 despite still showing positive signs, holding 58% possession and registering nine more shot attempts. 

Along the way, Rangnick has also managed some impressive results against credible opposition, with 2-0 victories over both Italy and Germany, a double over Sweden in Euro qualification, a 1-1 stalemate against Belgium, and their most recent result being a 6-1 thumping of Turkey.

Placed in Group D alongside European giants Netherlands, France, and Poland, Rangnick’s men are not expected to progress through the group stages. However, with the form they have displayed leading into the tournament, there is a real potential of Austria causing a major upset in the group stages.

Hungary

Likewise, Hungary are another side that are currently flying ahead of Euro 2024. Unbeaten in their last 14 matches, their last defeat came against the reigning Euro 2020 champions, Italy, in 2022.

In Euro 2020, the odds were stacked against the Hungarians, as they were placed in the ‘Group of Death’ with France, Germany, and Portugal, finishing bottom of the group despite two impressive draws against France and Germany.

Although, this time their pathway for qualification to the knockout stages is looking far kinder, as they have once again drawn Germany in Group A, alongside Scotland and Switzerland.

Defensively, head coach, Marco Rossi, will be relying on the experience of his RB Leipzig duo, Peter Gulacsi, and Willi Orban, to help keep the opposition at bay, and will also need Liverpool star, Dominik Szoboszlai, to be on top form offensively to provide inspiration for his side.

A less difficult group, coupled with recent form bodes well for a more positive tournament than in 2021, and they may well prove to be a dark horse to watch out for this summer.

Ukraine

Another side heading into the tournament in great form are Ukraine, suffering only a single defeat in their previous ten international fixtures, while facing off against some of Europe’s best outfits.

Draws against Germany, England and Italy are among their recent results, displaying that they can compete with Europe’s elite, and could prove to be a tricky knockout game for anyone if they qualify past the group stages.

Residing in Group E, Ukraine have drawn a relatively fortunate group, containing Slovakia, Belgium, and Romania, which provides them with a great opportunity to qualify for the knockout stages.

Especially considering the crop of talent that they currently possess, with head coach, Serhiy Rebrov, having some outstanding players to choose from.

Some notable options include Real Madrid’s Andriy Lunin, who has had an excellent season filling in for Thibaut Courtois, Mykhailo Mudryk, who was valued at £88.5 million by Chelsea in January 2023, Artem Dovbyk, who has registered 27 goal contributions for Girona in LaLiga this season, as well as Arsenal’s Oleksandr Zinchenko, and Everton’s Vitaliy Mykolenko.

Croatia

Punching above their weight by progressing to the final and semi-final of the last two World Cup’s, Croatia have built a reputation for being a dangerous outfit that can threaten and overcome any international giant, which is reflected in the UEFA Euro 2024 betting odds ahead of their opening fixture against Spain.

However, despite their fantastic recent record in World Cups, they are yet to translate that success into the Euros, as they have been knocked out of the last two tournaments in the round of 16 by both Portugal and Spain.

Once again, the Croats will have to earn their reputation as giant killers in international football, as they find themselves in Group B, contesting against Spain, Italy, and Albania to qualify for the knockout stages.

Though they face tough opposition, manager, Zlatko Dalic, does have top class talent at his disposal, including Manchester City duo, Josko Gvardiol, and Mateo Kovacic, as well as Luka Modric, Josip Stanisic, Marcelo Brozovic, and Andrej Kramaric.

With the quality they possess, and the recent track record in international tournaments, it would certainly be foolish to rule out Croatia’s chances of making an appearance late on in the competition.

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