Belgium’s Talented Team Risks Failure Again

Slovakia beat Belgium 1-0 in match day one of Group E at Euro 2024 in Frankfurt on Monday. Ivan Schranz scored the only goal of the match in the first half. It was a shock defeat for the Belgians, who has failed to win any major trophies with their talented squads in the recent past, despite coming close and finishing third in the 2018 World Cup.

Belgium’s Gifted Attacking Players Failed to Score Against Slovakia

Belgium had enough time to equalize on the day against Slovakia. They dominated the match, with 61% of the ball in the match. However, Slovakia looked sharper with their passing and quicker moving with the ball.
Belgium’s attacking unit had players like Kevin de Bruyne, Jérémy Doku, Leandro Trossard and Romelu Lukaku in it. On paper, few teams in the world have offensive players as lethal as Belgium does. They fielded their team with a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Lukaku as the centre-forward, de Bruyne as the No. 10 and Doku and Trossard on the flanks.
However, against Slovakia, the Belgians were too reliant on Doku to attack through the right flank. Trossard had largely forgettable match as the left winger. De Bruyne roamed all over the pitch to keep passing the ball around, but his efforts were not enough in the end.
Belgium’s attacks through the left marginally increased as Doku was shifted to the left flank in the second half. However, Loïs Openda would replace the Manchester City man in the second half. Openda managed to pass the ball to Lukaku from the left as the latter put the ball into the net. However, Openda had handled the ball while making the move. As a result the goal was ruled out. It was a hammer blow to Belgium’s chances of restoring parity in the match, as they failed to earn a point from it.

The Belgians Will Have a Tough Time Qualifying From the Group

Belgium will find it considerably difficult to qualify from their group. With Romania and Ukraine being the other two teams in the group, and Romania beating Ukraine 3-0 in their opening match, Belgium will have to win at least one out of their remaining two group matches.

Given the talent the Belgians have at their disposal, exiting the tournament at the group stage would be a massive disappointment. The likes of de Bruyne and Doku have dominated in the Premier League with their performances this season, winning the title with Manchester City. Trossard has been one of the better players for Arsenal, who finished second in the league table.

There are also players like Youri Tielemans, Yannick Carrasco and Lukaku, all of whom are established players for their respective clubs. In such a scenario, not qualifying from the group will be very unfortunate.

Belgium failed to qualify from their group in the last World Cup as well. Failing spectacularly in another major tournament will certainly not be acceptable to them. It remains to be seen whether Domenico Tedesco’s men can rise up to the occasion to reverse the tide.

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