Belgium suffer a shock defeat in their opening Euro 2024 game, with Slovakia running out 1-0 winners in Frankfurt. Look back at the best facts and analyse the Opta data with our Belgium vs Slovakia stats page.

The first big shock of Euro 2024 occurred in Frankfurt this evening as Belgium suffered defeat to Slovakia thanks to Ivan Schranz’s early goal. Domenico Tedesco’s side had plenty of opportunities to get back into the game, but a mix of VAR decisions, wayward finishing and superb Slovakian defending brought back bad memories from their terrible World Cup campaign in 2022.

At that tournament, Belgium exited in the group stage after scoring just once in their three games. Creating chances wasn’t an issue back then, with 35 shots worth 4.8 expected goals (xG), but their 2.9% shot conversion rate was the worst of all sides in Qatar.

Today wasn’t much better; failing to score with any of their 16 shots and an xG total of 1.91. Across the last World Cup and this match, Belgium have now failed to score with any of their last 47 shots in tournament football, with 11 of those deemed clear-cut chances by Opta data collection team.

Belgium Shots at World Cup 2022 and Euro 2024

Since appointing Tedesco in February 2023, the Belgians had avoided defeat in all 14 matches before today and only failed to score in one of them. Slovakia dealt Tedesco the first major blow of his tenure, and they now need positive results against Romania and Ukraine to avoid another group-stage exit at a major tournament.

Schranz wouldn’t have been the pick of many for the first scorer in the game, but the forward netted just the fourth goal of his international career and the first in nearly three years to put Slovakia into a shock lead after just seven minutes.

A terrible pass into his own box from Belgium’s Jérémy Doku was collected by Schranz, who backheeled it to Juraj Kucka, who saw his shot saved by Koen Casteels, only for Schranz to slam home the rebound from a tight angle. It was Slovakia’s earliest goal in a major international tournament.

Belgium thought they’d got back into the game just before the hour mark when Romelu Lukaku slid the ball home from close range, but his goal was disallowed for offside. He was then denied another goal with minutes to play after Loïs Openda was harshly judged to have handled before assisting his strike. Lukaku was the top scorer in Euro 2024 qualifying, with 14 goals in eight appearances. He only failed to score in one of those games and netted with just under half of his shots (48.3%), but he failed to score with any of his three (legitimate) shots today.

At 30 years and 229 days old, Slovakia’s starting XI was the oldest of any side in a European Championship finals match since Italy in their Euro 2016 last-16 win over Spain. Three of their starters – Peter Pekarík, Kucka and Martin Dúbravka – were aged 35 or older, just the second nation to do so at the Euros after France in games versus Romania and Netherlands at the 2008 finals. All that experience was needed to see out the game and seal a famous win.

Before a ball was kicked at Euro 2024, Belgium were given a 90% chance of progressing from Group E by the Opta supercomputer. That chance has now dropped to 66.5% following this defeat, but surely luck will be on their side in tournament football sooner or later.

Euro 2024 Group E Projections

Our Opta match centre delivers you all the Belgium vs Slovakia stats from their Euro 2024 Group E clash in Frankfurt.

The match centre below includes team and player stats, expected goals data, passing networks, an Opta chalkboard and more. It gives you everything you need to do your own post-match analysis.

Underneath the match centre you can find the official Opta stats on the game as well. 

Belgium vs Slovakia: Post-Match Facts

  • Belgium have suffered their first group stage defeat at the European Championship since losing 2-0 to Italy in 2016 – they had won five in a row in the group stages before today’s defeat.
  • Slovakia have won each of their last four competitive internationals, their best winning run in competitive games since a run of five between October 2016 and September 2017. It was their third win in eight games at the European Championship (D1 L4).
  • Ivan Schranz’s goal in the seventh minute was the quickest goal Slovakia have scored at a major tournament and his fourth goal in 23 caps for his national team.
  • Kevin De Bruyne created four chances in this match for Belgium, taking his overall total to 40 chances created at the European Championship. Since 1980, only Luis Figo (42) and Cristiano Ronaldo (41) have created more chances at the finals.
  • Belgium missed four Opta-defined big chances in this match, the first time they’d done so in a European Championship game since 1980 against Spain (also four missed).
  • Across the last two European Championship tournaments, there’s only been four instances of a player completing six or more dribbles in a match but two of those have been Belgium’s Jérémy Doku (8 vs Italy in 2021, 6 today).
  • At the age of 20 years and 237 days, Zeno Debast became the third youngest Belgian player to start a game at the European Championship, behind only Enzo Scifo in 1984 (18 years, 115 days) and Jérémy Doku in 2021 (19 years, 25 days).
  • Slovakia named three players in the starting XI who were 35 or older – Peter Pekarík (37), Juraj Kucka (37) and Martin Dúbravka (35). They were only the second nation in European Championship history to do so, along with France at Euro 2008, who named Gregory Coupet, Claude Makelele and Lilian Thuram in their XI for games against Romania and the Netherlands.

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