Predicting Group C at UEFA EURO 2024: The Three Lions’ Time?

This is the third of a six-article series predicting the group stage at UEFA EURO 2024.

Group C at the 2024 European Championships, like Group A, has a clear-cut favorite and three hopeful challengers. Gareth Southgate’s England side has no major trophies to show for their golden generation, something they will be hoping to change in Germany. Serbia, Denmark and Slovenia will be doing the chasing. Here’s our prediction for this interesting group.

England Wants to Change the Narrative

English football fans are becoming impatient with their national team. Since Southgate was appointed manager in 2016, the Three Lions have progressed far in three separate major tournaments and won none of them. The biggest blow was a EURO 2020 final defeat to Italy on penalties.

One look at England’s EURO squad proves that lack of quality is not the issue. Although they have a shaky back-line, the English have a stellar midfield and an even better attack. Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Phil Foden and Bukayo Saka have all been national team mainstays for some time. Cole Palmer and Ollie Watkins are coming off incredible seasons at Chelsea and Aston Villa, respectively. Kobbie Mainoo and Adam Wharton are the newcomers to the squad.

Shortly after losing to France in the 2022 World Cup quarterfinals, England was relegated from UEFA Nations League A, going winless and finishing bottom of their group. Luckily, the problems did not continue into EURO qualifying, as the team went unbeaten en route to finishing first. Nonetheless, faith in Southgate is low and fans are hoping that England’s sheer footballing talent will guide them through Group C and into the title hunt.

Denmark and Serbia Want Redemption

The European Championships are hugely important for two of the other Group C sides, Denmark and Serbia. Both were expected to do well at the 2022 World Cup. Yet, both proceeded to get knocked out unceremoniously, earning one point apiece in the group stage.

Both Denmark and Serbia have star power in their team. Andreas Christensen, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg and Christian Eriksen are all suiting up for the Danes, while Sergej Milinković-Savić, Dušan Tadić and the strike partnership of Aleksandar Mitrović and Dušan Vlahović are taking to the pitch for Serbia.

Adding to the intrigue of this group is the fact that Serbia and Denmark face each other in the last round, on 25 June in Munich. That fixture could be a direct face-off for a spot in the knockout stage.

That will not be the case if Slovenia has any say in it. They come into Group C as the underdogs, hopeful that they can turn the odds in their favour. Benjamin Šeško is there to provide the goals, with Jan Oblak doing his best to keep the lines clear on the other end of the pitch.

Final Prediction

England is likely to top Group C despite not being at their best. The quality in the squad will be too much for all other teams to handle, and the Three Lions will trod on to the knockouts, hopeful that they will finally bring football home.

One of the hardest picks of the tournament is who finishes 2nd in this group, but we’ll give the edge to Serbia. Orlovi won’t feel the burden they did in Qatar, whilst being motivated by their first EURO appearance since 2000. They have snapped one streak by qualifying, and now look to end their long abstinence from major tournament knockout stages.

Denmark will follow suit in third and will be a likely candidate to advance regardless. Should they get a comfortable win over Slovenia whilst limiting England’s attack to just one or two goals, the Danes will be in a good position, regardless of what happens in the match against Serbia.

For Slovenia, this year’s EURO marks a first major tournament appearance since the 2010 World Cup. They have not seen much of the big stage and will not thrive when they do. Instead, the team will look to take some important lessons away from their return to the EUROs, despite what will probably be a fourth place finish.

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