Belgium are the clear frontrunners in Group E, but behind them there will be an intriguing battle between Slovakia, Romania and Ukraine. Ahead of the action, we analyse the Opta supercomputer’s Euro 2024 Group E predictions.

The last time we saw Belgium in a major tournament they were being bundled out at the group stage of the 2022 World Cup. With a kinder draw this time around, they should be confident of avoiding the same mistake.

But what qualifying probability does our model give them? And what does it make of the chasing pack?

We look at the Opta supercomputer’s Euro 2024 predictions for Group E to answer those questions and much, much lot more.

Euro 2024 Group E Predictions: The Quick Stats

  • Belgium are expected to progress with ease. They have a 90.0% chance of qualifying for the last 16, and a 53.1% probability of topping the group.
  • Ukraine are given the best odds of progressing (69.4%) of the other three sides.
  • Romania (57.4%) and Slovakia (51.1%) aren’t expected to challenge Belgium but could certainly threaten Ukraine for second spot.

Domenico Tedesco is the latest to be tasked with getting something out of the undoubtedly talented, but ultimately underachieving Belgium national team.

This will be the former RB Leipzig coach’s first tournament in charge, and when he takes his place in the dugout for their opening group game against Slovakia, he will become the youngest Belgium manager at a major tournament (38 years old).

Tedesco’s first objective is to get Belgium through the group stage, something Roberto Martínez failed to do in Qatar 18 months ago.

Thankfully for Tedesco, he’s been dealt a pretty nice hand. With Slovakia and Romania, Group E is the only group of Euro 2024 to contain two countries ranked outside FIFA’s top 40 men’s team rankings. As such, his charges are given a very healthy 90.0% chance of qualifying for the last 16, and a 53.1% likelihood of topping the group.

Euro 2024 Group E Predictions

Belgium breezed through qualification, topping their group with 20 points, winning six and drawing two of their eight games. That campaign saw them extend their unbeaten run in qualifiers (both World Cup and Euros) to 40 matches (W35 D5), dating all the way back to a 1-0 defeat by Wales in 2015.

Romelu Lukaku was the top scorer in the Euro 2024 qualifiers, netting 14 times across eight matches, and is Belgium’s leading scorer at major tournaments. If he were to score two goals in Germany, he’d vault himself into the top three goalscorers in European Championship history.

This will be Ukraine’s fourth consecutive European Championship appearance, with their previous best finish coming at Euro 2020 when they were knocked out in the quarter-finals by England. The Opta supercomputer gives them a modest 26.0% chance of getting that far again, although Serhiy Rebrov’s side are its second favourites in Group E. Ukraine have a 69.4% chance of qualifying for the knockout stages and beat the Belgians to top spot 21.0% of the time.

Ukraine qualified for Euro 2024 via the play-offs after narrowly missing out on automatic qualification in a tough group containing England and Italy. They came from behind to win both of their play-off matches 2-1. Including those fixtures, Ukraine fell behind in six of their 10 matches in qualifying but recovered to win four, the most of any nation throughout the process.

The supercomputer then finds it very hard to separate Romania (57.4%) and Slovakia (51.1%) in its projections.

Romania’s class of 2000 were the last team to make it through a group stage, and this generation of players has a 57.4% chance of emulating them, albeit being helped by third place potentially being enough to qualify.  

Romania didn’t lose a single game during qualifying and much of their success was built on the back of a fierce defence that conceded just five times in 10 games. At 0.50 goals against per game, only Portugal (0.20) and France (0.38) boasted better defensive numbers. At the heart of that defence are the two centre-backs Radu Drăgușin, now of Tottenham, and Andrei Burcă, who started all 10 matches in qualifying.

Across their 16 games at the European Championship, Romania have managed just a single win (D5 L10), beating England 3-2 at Euro 2000. Their opening game is against Ukraine and will offer them a huge opportunity to not only put that record to bed but make huge strides towards qualification.

Slovakia (51.1%) have the tricky prospect of playing Belgium first up. Defeat in that game would really put them on the back foot, and Francesco Calzona’s side are the most likely in Group E to finish bottom (38.2%).

They did win seven games in Euro 2024 qualifying – their joint most ever in a qualifying group for a major tournament – but weren’t particularly tested outside of two defeats to Portugal. Fellow group members Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Luxembourg were all comfortably outside the top 70 men’s ranked countries in the world. Their opposition in Group E is a big step up from that.

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