HomefootballEuro 2024 Group Stage: Winners & Losers After Matchday 1

Euro 2024 Group Stage: Winners & Losers After Matchday 1

Euro 2024 has been off to a dazzling start, and the first round of games concluded on a high note. It’s been an exciting tournament so far, with goals pouring in from the opening game on Friday up until the final fixture of Matchday 1. Were 34 goals scored in total, with Group A and B fixtures accounting for 16 alone.

In terms of performance, some sides have lived up to expectations while a couple of teams have struggled, with a few underdogs also springing surprises. Indeed, some teams will be happy with their first results, while others will be looking for answers.

With the second round of games set to kick off on Wednesday, which teams go into Matchday 2 with their heads held high, and which teams will need to improve?


Biggest Winners After First Round of Fixtures

Three teams stood out in the opening round of fixtures, producing impressive results and putting the continent on notice.


Many pundits questioned Germany’s ability to challenge for the title on home soil, but Die Mannschaft was quick to dispel all doubts in their opening game against Scotland. Bayer Leverkusen sensation and Bundesliga Player of the Year Florian Wirtz scored the first goal of Euro 2024 with an incredible finish in the 10th minute, with Jamal Musiala and Kai Havertz putting the hosts up 3-0 before halftime. Second-half substitutes Niklas Fullkrug and Emre Can sealed off the dominant victory for Germany as they sounded a warning to opposing teams.

The German team that came out on Friday was a sharp contrast from the underwhelming sides that have represented the nation in recent years. Julian Nagelsmann’s men looked sharp in all areas of the pitch and were in full control almost throughout the game.

Next up is a game against Hungary that could see the hosts advance to the knockout stage with a win.



Like Germany, Spain quelled all pessimism about them before the start of the tournament with a 3-0 win against Croatia. All three goals came in the first half, with captain Alvaro Morata opening the scoring after he received a brilliant pass from Fabian Ruiz in the 29th minute. Ruiz would turn goalscorer, scoring one of the most impressive goals of the tournament so far. The 28-year-old Paris Saint-Germain midfielder danced past two defenders before hitting a left-footed shot past Croatia’s Dominik Livaković.

Luis de la Fuente’s men would add a third before the halftime whistle, and this time, it was 16-year-old Barcelona rising star Lamine Yamal combining with Real Madrid’s Dani Carvajal. The La Masia graduate, who became the youngest player to ever feature at the Euros, sent in a brilliant cross from the right wing to Croatia’s danger zone before Carvajal snuck past the defense to poke the ball into the net.

Up next for La Roja is a dicey game against Italy, another top contender. Given the stakes and with the fixture being a rematch of the Euro 2012 final, Spain tickets against the defending champions will be highly coveted by fans all over the world.


Before the start of the tournament, Romania faced a tough test to make it out of Group E. Despite enjoying an unbeaten Euro Qualifiers run, many favored the more experienced Belgium and Euro 2020 quarter-finalists Ukraine to progress into the next round ahead of Edward Iordanescu’s men. But Romania stunned fans at the Fußball Arena in Munich, seeing off Ukraine with a shocking 3-0 scoreline.

Nicolae Stanciu scored in the 29th minute with a stunning strike from 20 yards. A costly pass from Ukraine’s goalkeeper Andriy Lunin gifted Dennis Man the ball before he set up the Ukraine captain for the goal. Răzvan Marin doubled the lead early in the second half with a brilliant long-range shot, beating the Real Madrid goalie again. The man turned provider again four minutes later, this time combining with Denis Drăguș for Romania’s third.

The impressive win was Romania’s first triumph at the Euros in 24 years, and only their second in the history of the competition. Despite Ukraine maintaining 71% of ball possession, Romania was able to secure a crucial win.

With Slovakia stunning Belgium in Group E’s other fixture, Tricolorii is now in a really good position to make it to the knockout rounds and could secure a spot with a win or draw against the Red Devils on Saturday.

Belgium are the Biggest Losers of Matchday 1

Belgium has endured a “major tournament curse” in recent years, with a Golden Generation failing to live up to the hype. Their opening fixture presented them with the opportunity to begin the redemption of their woeful 2022 FIFA World Cup campaign on a high, but the Red Devils came up short yet again.

Domenico Tedesco’s men were one of few teams to qualify for the Euros without losing a single game, scoring 20 goals en route to clinching the top spot in Group F. Yet, they failed to score against 48th-ranked Slovakia. Once considered favorites to win Group E, they now find themselves in a tricky situation with a desperate Ukraine and red-hot Romania as their next opponents.

Manchester City’s Jeremy Doku made a terrible pass to the Rode Duivels penalty area, which was pounced on by an alert Ivan Schranz. The Slavia Prague forward teed up Robert Bozenik, who fired a one-time shot and was denied by a punching save from Koen Casteels. The ball found its way back to Schranz, who then fired past Belgium’s goalkeeper.

The Red Devils pushed to tie the game but were denied on several occasions by a disciplined Slovakian defense. As expected, Belgium had more possession for much of the game (70%) and attempted 16 shots (five on target) but couldn’t convert. Doku struggled on the left wing while Romelu Lukaku was wasteful. The Euro Qualifiers’ top scorer did eventually find the back of the net on two occasions but was denied a goal by VAR and another after RB Leipzig’s Lois Openda handled the ball during the buildup.

Belgium must now secure a win against Ukraine to restore their chances of at least qualifying for the next round. Should Romania defeat Slovakia in their next game, Rode Duivels could find themselves fighting for second in Group E or qualifying for the knockout rounds as the best third-placed team if they fail to win.

Times of Sports
Times of Sports
A Leading Sports News Channel For All The Exclusive Sports Updates Across Globe.

Must Read