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Power Rankings Euro 2024: France, Germany and England remain favorites; Spain impresses while Belgium stumbles



Power Rankings Euro 2024: France, Germany and England remain favorites;  Spain impresses while Belgium stumbles

Power Rankings Euro 2024: France, Germany and England remain favorites; Spain impresses while Belgium stumbles France

The state of Kylian Mbappé’s nose may be the other great looming crisis for the French nation, but the winner of the Golazo 100 will soon be back, masked in preparation for more than a thousand hype compilations. In usual Didier Deschamps fashion, Les Bleus barely lived up to their collective talent in beating Austria. However, we already know that high-quality defensive and attacking talent, with N’Golo Kante in between, is a formula for winning tournaments.



Julian Nagelsmann’s ‘pass everything from all angles at once’ approach will not face a more favorable opponent than Scotland, but even taking that into account, Germany started their campaign in extremely authoritative fashion. This already seems to be a joyful duel between Florian Wirtz and Jamal Musiala as the face of the tournament.



You wouldn’t rush to rewatch their 1-0 win over Serbia, but if you did you’d see that England’s defense was completely at ease against a decent range of dangerous attacking talent. Gareth Southgate’s side could and should have pressed on for a second to lower England’s blood pressure at home, but if they continue to hold their opponents to 0.2 xG, Jude Bellingham and Bukayo Saka should be able to provide plenty of magic at the other end.



Any side that can crush Croatia is clearly a serious contender, but a word of caution is in order after a match in which Mateo Kovacic was able to weave through the Spanish defense, one of many easy chances that the best international sides can offer. Don’t get away with giving up in the latter stages of tournaments. Lamine Yamal and Alvaro Morata can’t do much.


The Netherlands

While an indifferent performance from Memphis Depay could be a cause for concern, the Netherlands looked impressive overall despite facing good opposition. For once, a Ronald Koeman side are able to move the ball around the opponent as elegantly as their own, while the introductions of Wout Weghorst and Jeremy Frimpong spoke to impressive depth in the Dutch ranks.



Same story for Portugal at major tournaments. They have the talent to beat any opponent, but this is too often used in a desynchronous manner; against the Czech Republic there was a lot of good work getting the ball into the final third, but not nearly enough to get shots up until they fell behind.



A solid second leg earned Italy the points against Albania and means they are well-placed to reach the knockout rounds even if the tougher games ahead don’t go their way. They will also have to ensure that Federico Dimarco covers the space behind him on the left, or that someone else does so. The big names showed up – especially Nicolo Barella, Alessandro Bastoni and Federico Chiesa – but they could have too much of a burden on their shoulders if the fringe starters don’t show up.



Murat Yakin was one of the big winners of the first round, surprise inclusions in the form of Kwadwo Duah and Michel Aebischer playing a big role in the victory over Hungary before Breel Embolo, perhaps spurred on by his absence from the XI, scored a goal from the bank. Given the form of their opponents beforehand, this Swiss team looks like someone who could bleed a few noses.



Repeat the 1-0 defeat to Slovakia ten times and Belgium would win at least six or seven times. More often than not, Romelu Lukaku will take at least one of the legitimate opportunities that come his way, and the marginal refereeing decisions may not go in the Red Devils’ favor. Yet they are behind the Group E eight-ball, with two potentially tricky matches still ahead. It now seems not inconceivable that disaster could strike Belgium again.



There will be work to be done to reach the last 16, but Ralf Rangnick’s side must be optimistic that repeated performances will take them to the four-point mark, perhaps better, in the games ahead. Nicolas Seiwald and Marcel Sabitzer in particular seem ready to make a big mark on the tournament.



There will be reason for major disappointment in the Danish camp as they failed to play their opening match against Slovenia, with the match rather slipping out of their control after Rasmus Hojlund went close early in the second half. They could well slip down this ranking if their match against England goes against them, but they should still have enough to reach the knockout stages.



Knowing that Croatia could always escape from Group B and claw their way into a few penalty shootouts keeps them high in our power rankings, perhaps higher than they should be even when they went down with defeat to Spain. Unsurprisingly, after that result, it looks like Zlatko Dalic has a lot of work to do in his defense.



What a lot of fun their 3-1 victory over Georgia was. A side that seemed to freeze under the lights three years ago felt liberated this time, thanks to a huge energy boost from the lively Arda Guler. With talent in their ranks and the near certainty that they will be well supported everywhere in Germany, they could be dark horses this time. No really.



The easy cliché to fall back on after such a surprising victory over Belgium is that it was a triumph of the collective over the individuals. There may be some truth in that, but what became clear in Frankfurt is that Slovakia really has good players where they need them. Stanislav Lobotka hardly played a wrong pass, Denis Vavro was excellent at setting up the defense and Martin Dubravka was as fearless with the ball at his feet as he was with shots. Too many, this column included, Perhaps Slovakia wrote off too early.



Serbia arrived at the European Championship with a reputation for forward-footed, high-scoring football, which it only partially lived up to in the opening match. They certainly took the initiative in the second half. but their hold on it was rather fragile, the collective creativity of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and substitute Dusan Tadic rather disappointing, and Aleksandar Mitrovic something of a non-entity.



It really wasn’t anyone’s idea of ​​a 3-0 game, but when the chances came Romania’s way, they faced them with full force and got their reward. Their prodigious finishing may not hold up in a tournament, but if they continue with the same energy as the first time, they will create chances for themselves more easily.



The Slovenian national team has more to offer than regular gossip columnist Benjamin Sesko, but he was a lot of fun during the opening match of Euro 2024. He shows a wonderful talent for absolutely learning the ball when an opportunity comes his way, the next times you would rather hit it into the back of the net than into the post. Don’t count them out beyond beating Serbia and all that, but book their place in the last 16.


Czech Republic

A solid performance against Portugal almost earned the Czechs a valuable point – for seven minutes you wondered if it might be more – but it didn’t give a good indication of what they can do with two more favorable opponents ahead. Do Patrik Schick and company have the firepower to take down at least one of Turkey and Georgia?



Robert Lewandowski’s deliberate warm-up on the touchline in the opener renewed hopes that the Barcelona striker will be available for the big game, a clash with Austria, where both sides could really do with a win if they are to progress out of Group D want to escape. Even without their talisman, they turned out to be a team that could ask questions of very good defenders.



It does not bode well for Hungary’s hopes of a deep run at the tournament when Marco Rossi bluntly warns that their next opponent Germany is “better than us”. That may be true, but if he follows this up with a promise that his team can ‘see what they can do’, it points to a team that has blown it away in the opening game against Switzerland.



Many Ukrainian players will feel they have done no harm to their reputation, even after a heavy defeat: Artem Dobvyk asked questions of a strong Romanian backline and Georghiy Sudakov looked fearless in the final third. The problem was that Andriy Lunin had one of the worst games of his career. Improving the goal difference will be necessary, but there is no reason why this team cannot get four or six points against Slovakia and Belgium.



It was always going to be a big ask for the Albanian defense to hold out for 89 minutes, 33 seconds after Nedim Bajrami had scored the fastest goal in European Championship history to give them a shock lead. While it never really looked like they would keep Italy at bay for long, the fear will have to be that Spain and even Croatia could do more damage to them in the coming games.



An impressive defeat proved that Georgia is more than just the Khvicha Kvaratskhelia team, with the likes of Georges Mikautadze and Giorgi Chakvetadze suggesting a bright future for them in the years to come. Was there a hint of naivete among the tournament debutants, typified by their goalkeeper coming for a corner in the last minute? Time will tell.



When three points is likely to signal a third-place side breaking out of the group, it would be extremely premature to suggest Scotland are out. The problem for Steve Clarke’s side, however, is that the Germans’ attacks mean they need either four points or a spectacular goal difference to win. Both scenarios look quite ahead of their meeting with Switzerland.