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Belgium vs Slovakia Euro 2024 Prediction: Last dance for the Golden Generation?

Belgium, one of the top-ranked nations at Euro 2024, open their tournament with a match against Slovakia.

Belgium vs Slovakia Euro 2024 Prediction: Last dance for the Golden Generation?

Belgium vs Slovakia Latest Prediction

The complete Golden Generation may be over for Belgium, with Eden Hazard retired, but there are still remnants in their squad for Euro 2024. So this really is last-chance saloon for the Red Devils to make it count. In their Euro 2024 opener, Belgium face the lowest-ranked nation of their group, Slovakia, in what should be a relatively simple starting match for their campaign.

Since losing to Morocco in the second game of their 2022 World Cup campaign (which they exited at the group stage), Belgium are unbeaten in their past 15 matches. That includes victories over Montenegro and Luxembourg to warm up for this tournament.

Belgium won those two games by an aggregate score of 5-0, putting two past Montenegro before scoring three against Luxembourg. Both included a goal before half-time and a late strike, and there was another similarity. Belgium scored a penalty in both of those games, with Leandro Trossard converting against Montenegro and Romelu Lukaku vs Luxembourg. In fact, there has been a penalty in each of Belgium’s last three games.

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Belgium and Slovakia open their Euro 2024 accounts on June 17 in Frankfurt with both hoping for three points to start their campaign in a positive manner.

Domenico Tedesco’s men romped to qualification without much opposition, which has been their trademark in recent years. Indeed, it’s quite remarkable how well the Red Devils have been in qualifying for major tournaments recently. They have topped their qualification group for the last three European Championships and the past three World Cups, losing just one match during that time. However, that didn’t help them at the 2022 World Cup when they were knocked out at the group stage. But the qualification campaigns have massively contributed to Belgium ranking third in the world, behind only Argentina and France.

This is Slovakia’s third straight qualification for the European Championship. They finished second in their qualification group behind Portugal, who were the only team that Slovakia lost to in the tournament. The Slovakians have won a match in each of the group stages that they have competed in at the Euros, qualifying for the round of 16 in 2016, but losing out in that round to Germany. Last time out at Euro 2020 they opened the group with a 2-1 win over Poland but lost their final two matches — including a 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Spain, eventually finishing third and missing out on the knockout stages on goal difference among the best third-placed teams.

Belgium Latest Team News

There’s no denying that the second coming of Belgium’s Golden Generation has let them down a little. For a nation that has been ranked inside FIFA’s top five for a whole decade, they have just a single third place at a World Cup to show for it.

Some of their big players from this generation are still burning quite brightly, Kevin De Bruyne has demonstrated his class again for Manchester City after returning from injury, and Romelu Lukaku dominated European Championship qualification with over 2 goals per 90 minutes in the campaign. But the supplementation of these established stars with some breaking talents looks to be helping Belgium maintain their standards.

We can expect De Bruyne’s teammate Jeremy Doku and Arsenal’s Leandro Trossard to battle over the wide left spot, with Johan Bakayoko to get the nod on the other side of Lukaku and De Bruyne.  There will be legs and tough tackling in the midfield with Nottingham Forest’s Mangala in there alongside, potentially, Aster Vranckx, or possibly Everton’s Amadou Onana.

Jan Vertonghen still leads the Belgian defence, 154 caps and counting, but he does have younger legs around him in Leicester’s Wout Faes, Fulham’s Timothy Castagne, and Arthur Theate. With Thibault Courtois missing out following an injury-plagued campaign, Belgium do have a question mark in goal. Forest’s Mats Sels is in decent shape to play, but Koen Casteels could be given the nod instead. Luton’s Thomas Kaminski made his senior Belgian debut this season too.

Slovakia Latest Team News

Slovakia are an exceptionally competent team, as shown by winning seven of their eight matches in qualification against teams not named Portugal.

They may have lost Marek Hamzik to retirement, but there is plenty of experience in this team, many of whom have been to multiple European Championship finals.

Martin Dubravka and Milan Skriniar are back in the squad and will form part of the defensive unit, which will also include Norbert Gyomber. Juraj Kucka is 37 at this stage, so this will likely be his last major tournament, and he makes up a midfield with foul magnet Ondrej Duda, and Napoli’s Stanislav Lobotka. The defence will be lead by Milan Skriniar, now at Paris Saint-Germain, so there is a real spine of quality, experienced pros to this Slovakian line-up.

Up front, Robert Mak has not made the squad, so Lukas Haraslin and Tomas Suslov could be the wingers to flank Robert Bozenik through the middle.

Belgium vs Slovakia Head to Head

There have only been three previous meetings between the nations, all of which are friendlies, and they have all been tightly contested. However, none of them have been played since Belgium’s rise to prominence in 2014, so there isn’t much instructive advice from looking at the head-to-head.

Belgium vs Slovakia H2H
Date Score Ground
06/02/13 2-1 Jan Breydel Stadium, Bruges
20/05/06 1-1 Stadion Antona Malatinskeho, Trnava
17/04/02 1-1 King Baudouin Stadium, Brussels

How to watch Belgium vs Slovakia Live

Group E sees Belgium take on Slovakia at Frankfurt Arena on June 17 and all of the action will be live on ITV1 and ITVX, as well as online on the ITV website. 

Every game at Euro 2024 will be shown live on either BBC or ITV, with the two platforms sharing the broadcast rights.