Slovakia beat wasteful Belgium to deliver first big Euro 2024 shock

Slovakia's players celebrate
Slovakia's players celebrateAFP
Ivan Schranz’s early strike helped a resilient Slovakia pull off the biggest upset of UEFA Euro 2024 to date, defeating Belgium 1-0 in Frankfurt.

There were chances aplenty in the opening minutes, with Romelu Lukaku wasting one for Domenico Tedesco’s side as he was denied by Martin Dubravka.

Moments later, the deadlock was broken at the other end when the Falcons pounced on an error from Jeremy Doku, who passed dangerously across his own box, and although Juraj Kucka’s effort was straight at the goalkeeper, Schranz was on hand to tuck home the rebound.

Schranz opened the scoring
Schranz opened the scoringProfimedia

Going behind did not seem to bother the Red Devils, who continued in their attempts to dictate the tempo and could have levelled when Dúbravka gifted possession to Leandro Trossard, only for the forward’s 25-yard shot to sail over the empty goal.

Amadou Onana then had a header saved and Lukaku should have equalised when stabbing wide after being sent through one-on-one, with those efforts coming either side of Lukas Haraslin forcing a fantastic stop out of Koen Casteels at the other end with a perfectly struck volley that was palmed around the post.

Match stats
Match statsOpta by Stats Perform

The second half was all one-way traffic, but for all their dominance, Belgium – who were previously unbeaten in 14 games under Tedesco – simply found no way past Dúbravka, who made a pair of smart saves to deny Lukaku and Trossard either side of the former having a close-range effort ruled out for a narrow offside after meeting Onana’s towering knock-down.

The striker then clattered a back-post volley into the side netting before a stunning goal-line clearance from David Hancko prevented Johan Bakayoko from making it 1-1.

Slovakia began to wrestle back some control in the closing exchanges, with a brilliant defensive display to thank for snuffing out a multitude of attacks.

They were given a shock when Lukaku appeared to have equalised by converting Lois Openda’s cross, but the substitute had handled the ball in the build-up and the strike was ruled out after a VAR check.

Lukaku thought he had scored an equaliser
Lukaku thought he had scored an equaliserProfimedia

That meant the Falcons eventually clung on to beat Belgium for the first time in their history, claiming a sixth win in their last eight outings to move into second place in Group E behind Romania, who comfortably defeated Ukraine earlier in the day.

The Red Devils, on the other hand, lose their opening group game at a European Championship for only the second time.

Flashscore Man of the Match: David Hancko (Slovakia)

Check out the match summary with Flashscore


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