Everything you need to know about Belgium before Euro 2024
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Everything you need to know about Belgium before Euro 2024

01/06/24 10:39

Euro 2024 is fast approaching, with the tournament set to kickoff in Germany on June 14th. Belgium are one of the 24 teams hoping to go all the way and lift the trophy, and make it their first major title since winning gold at the 1920 Olympic Games. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about the Belgians heading into this year’s tournament.

Belgium Fans

Provisional team for the tournament

Headlined by record goalscorer Romelu Lukaku and Premier League champions Kevin De Bruyne and Jeremy Doku, Belgium’s provisional 25 man squad for the tournament looks strong.

Long-term first choice goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was not included, which is not surprising considering he has missed most of the season for Real Madrid due to injury. Despite being set to start the Champions League final, Belgium manager Domenico Todesco had already confirmed he would not be going to the Euros before the squad was even announced stating he would be “focusing on players who are in good shape. I don’t want a tit-for-tat situation.”

Leandro Trossard and Youri Tielemans who have both played parts in impressive seasons for Arsenal and Aston Villa respectively also make the squad and will look to bring that same success to Belgium’s Euro campaign.

Group and schedule

Belgium are the standout name in Group E of Euro 2024; with Slovakia, Romania and Ukraine completing the table.

Their tournament kicks off on June 17th against Slovakia, they then face Romania on the 22nd before closing out the group stage against Ukraine on the 26th. UK times for the games will be 5pm, 8pm and 5pm respectively with the Slovakia match already announced to be shown on ITV.

Players to watch

There are quite a few names you could pick from this Belgium team; Trossard, Amadou Onana, Tielemans are just some that could all have very good tournaments. However I am going to give two names who I think will be stand outs, one expected and one that is somewhat of a dark horse pick.

Romelu Lukaku takes the first pick. The 31-year-old striker finished the season with 21 goals and four assists for Roma, on loan from Chelsea. As mentioned he is Belgium’s record goalscorer by a wide margin. Currently sitting at 83 goals since his debut in 2010, he is 50 clear of the now retired Eden Hazard’s 33 goals.

Lukaku is expected to leave Chelsea in the summer and a goalscoring run in the tournament could be just what he needs to secure a good move in the summer.

My dark horse pick to stand out for Belgium this summer is Jeremy Doku. The 22-year-old winger has 20 caps for his nation since 2020, contributing two goals and four assists in that time. Whilst those numbers do not exactly jump out, Doku has played himself into a mainstay in the starting eleven for Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side this season following his move from Ligue 1 side Rennes. He contributed seven goals and 10 assists to the team that won a record-breaking fourth consecutive Premier League title and made it to the FA Cup final. I predict he will take those good performances into the Euros and prove why Pep has shown so much faith in him.

How did they fare at Euro 2020

Belgium began their Euro 2020 campaign in Group B along with Denmark, Finland and Russia. They won all three matches with a goal difference of +6 (seven goals scored, one conceded) and advanced to the knockout stages as group winners.

Their first match was a 3-0 win against Russia before beating Denmark 2-1 and finishing with a 2-0 win over Finland.

In the knockout stages they triumphed over the reigning European champions at the time Portugal, beating them 1-0.

They fell to the eventual winners Italy in the quarter-finals, Lukaku’s 45th minute penalty was not enough to come back from a 2-0 margin and they lost 2-1.

How far will Belgium go this time?

Belgium will be of course hoping to lift the trophy for the first time in their history, although an initial target might be to make it to the knockout stages after a shocking group stage elimination at their last major tournament, World Cup 2022.

Considering the talent at their disposal compared to the rest of the group, I expect them to comfortably win Group E. In the round-of-16 they would face the 3rd place team from either Group A, B, C or D which could potentially be any one of the likes of Poland, Denmark, Italy or Switzerland being likely match-ups for the Belgians.

My official prediction is that Belgium will bow out again in the quarter-finals, where if everything goes as expected by current rankings they will likely face France. Of course, this is international tournament football and nothing ever goes as expected, with the talent in Belgium’s side the sky is the limit.

Benji Kosartiyer
Journalist
Cameron Beards

Football Writer

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