Euro 2024 Group E guide: Last-chance saloon for Belgium

Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City reacts in the warm up prior to the Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round match between Luton Town and Manchester City at Kenilworth Road on February 27, 2024 in Luton, England. 


For once and for all, Euro 2024 could be the last-chance saloon for Belgium’s golden generation.


The likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku are running out of time to finally lead their nation to glory and Group E is well set for Domenico Tedesco to get his team firing early on in Germany.


Little is expected of Slovakia and Romania whereas Ukraine have a young team tipped to at least reach the knockouts.


Belgium

Feels like the third straight tournament people have called ‘last chance saloon’ for Belgium’s golden generation, but this time it genuinely is. No, really.


Jan Vertonghen is 37, Kevin De Bruyne 32, Thomas Meunier 32, Axel Witsel 35 and Romelu Lukaku 31. They’ve landed a kind group and must make the most of it.


Manager: Domenico Tedesco


The Italian-born naturalised German is heading into his first tournament with Belgium. Previously managed RB Leipzig.


Star player: Kevin De Bruyne


Manchester City ace is into the autumn of his career now but is a better passer than anyone at this tournament. Crucial to Belgium's hopes.


One to watch: Leandro Trossard


Winger is an unsung hero for Arsenal and could well prove the same for Belgium. A natural goalscorer from out wide.


Chances of winning it in three words: Last chance saloon!


Slovakia

This is not one of Slovakia’s better generations so, ranked 48th, it’s impressive that they have qualified for the tournament.


They head to Germany on the back of a 4-0 rout of Wales and with goalscoring seemingly not an issue. May get out the group but will struggle to achieve anything more.


Manager: Francesco Calzona


One of five Italian managers at this tournament. In February was given the bizarre job of finishing the season as Napoli’s interim manager while also coaching Slovakia. Sole focus on the Euros now.


Star player: Milan Skriniar


The Paris Saint-Germain man is Slovakia’s captain, leader, and far-and-away best player. An imposing centre-back.


One to watch: David Duris


A favourite of Calzona’s, despite his rather modest club career. A direct winger who runs at pace with the ball.


Chances of winning it in three words: Don’t be silly.


Romania

No team would choose to head into the tournament on the back of a goalless draw at home to Liechtenstein, but then one cannot always choose one’s fate.


Romania have shown over the last two years that defeat is rare for them, but they are unfancied this summer and are likeliest to finish bottom of Group E.


Manager: Edward Iordănescu


The Romanian manager is full of experience and is popular among fans, having taken on the role back in January 2022.


Star player: Radu Dragusin


The youngest player in Romania’s squad is also their most well-known, having left Genoa for Tottenham in January. Robust, ball-playing centre-half.


One to watch: Dennis Man


When FCSB sold him to Parma in 2021 for £10million, the deal broke the record for biggest transfer fee received by a Romanian club. Parma’s main goalscorer, with AC Milan and Borussia Dortmund circling.


Chances of winning it in three words: Absolutely no chance


Ukraine

Ukraine hope Euro 2024 can provide a welcome, if incomparable, distraction from the horrors currently ongoing in their war-torn country.


They do have a real chance of going far, too, with plenty of very exciting young players coming through. Serhiy Rebrov’s side will be expected to get out of Group E.


Manager: Serhiy Rebrov


Once a fine striker who played 75 times for Ukraine, Rebrov has impressed in his first year in the job, guiding Ukraine to creditable draws against Germany (twice), England and Italy.


Star player: Artem Dovbyk


A goal-machine who hit 24 La Liga goals for Girona this term, Dovbyk will carry Ukraine’s threat this summer and is in red-hot form for country as well as club.


One to watch: Heorhiy Sudakov


Shakhtar Donetsk man has the world at his feet. A midfielder by trade, the thrilling 21-year-old is expected to partner Dovbyk up front in a 4-4-2 this summer.


Chances of winning it in three words: Very small indeed

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