Euro 2024: The Underdogs Ready to Upset the Balance

Euro 2024: The Underdogs Ready to Upset the Balance

As the European Championship returns after a four-year hiatus, Germany is set to host the continent's best football talents from June 14 to July 14 for its 17th edition. Reigning champions Italy will defend their crown against formidable foes like France, Portugal, Belgium, England, and Spain. With its rich football history, the host nation Germany also stands as a key contender.

Yet, football's true charm lies in its unpredictability. Amidst the favorites, several underdog teams are poised to spring surprises. Let's explore the details of these dark horses and their potential to disrupt the status quo in Euro 2024.

The Stage is Set

Twenty-four teams, split into six groups, will vie for the title in Germany. The competition format, first used in 2016, sees sixteen teams advance from the group stage—six group winners, six runner-ups, and the four best-performing third-place finishers.

Here's a look at the groups and some notable underdogs:

  • Group A: Germany, Scotland, Hungary, Switzerland
  • Group B: Spain, Croatia, Italy, Albania
  • Group C: England, Slovenia, Denmark, Serbia
  • Group D: France, Poland, Netherlands, Austria
  • Group E: Belgium, Slovakia, Romania, Ukraine
  • Group F: Portugal, Turkey, Georgia, Czech Republic

Potential for Upsets

Football tournaments are known for their dramatic upsets, and betting fans always look for teams that can deliver these surprises. Betting on upsets adds an exciting twist to the experience. Nigerian fans, in particular, can check the Bet9ja promo code for Nigeria to place bets on underdogs. Here are some teams that could potentially shake up the group stages:

Scotland and Switzerland (Group A)

Scotland finished second in their qualifying group, just behind Spain, with only one loss. They will open Euro 2024 against Germany, which could set the tone for their campaign. Scotland’s resilience and ability to surprise make them a team to watch.

Switzerland, another Group A underdog, finished second in their qualifying group. The Swiss have a strong squad and have demonstrated their goal-scoring prowess by netting 22 goals during qualification. With key players like Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri, they have the potential to challenge the group favorites.

Croatia (Group B)

Despite being in the so-called "Group of Death," Croatia has consistently shown it can compete with the best. Its defensive strength and experience in high-stakes tournaments make it a formidable opponent. 

Key to their success will be Luka Modric, who has played 174 games for Croatia and brings invaluable experience from UEFA Euro 2020 and the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Alongside him, young talent Josko Gvardiol, who also represented Croatia at Euro 2020 and the 2022 World Cup, will be crucial in their defensive line. With these players, Croatia is well-equipped to challenge Spain and Italy.

Denmark (Group C)

Denmark is often overlooked, but has a knack for delivering surprises. They boast a solid defensive record and a disciplined playing style. Players like Christian Eriksen and Rasmus Hojlund provide the necessary experience and flair. Facing England, Slovenia, and Serbia, Denmark can potentially upset the group dynamics.

Poland (Group D)

Poland qualified through the playoffs, showcasing their resilience by defeating Wales on penalties. Leading the line is star striker Robert Lewandowski, who has played 148 games for Poland and scored 82 goals, making him the all-time top scorer for his country. 

With Lewandowski's firepower, Poland can challenge France and the Netherlands. Their solid defense and experience make them a dark horse in Group D.

Ukraine (Group E)

Ukraine’s journey to Euro 2024 is marked by resilience. They finished third in their qualifying group, behind England and Italy, but have shown remarkable form recently. With youthful energy and players, Ukraine can potentially upset group favorites Belgium.

Turkey (Group F)

Turkey topped their qualifying group, finishing ahead of Croatia, demonstrating their capability to compete at a high level. Although they suffered a heavy recent defeat to Austria, Turkey remains a formidable opponent. 

Key to their success will be Hakan Calhanoglu, whose playmaking abilities and experience provide a creative spark. Young talent Arda Guler, with his skill and potential, adds an exciting dimension. With this combination of experience and youthful energy, Turkey is well-positioned to challenge Portugal and could potentially top Group F.

Final Thoughts

Historical upsets in past European Championships remind us that anything is possible. In Euro 2016, Croatia stunned Spain by finishing first in Group D. Croatia returned to win 2-1 despite being down early in the match, demonstrating that no favorite is safe.

Similarly, in Group F of Euro 2016, Portugal advanced and ultimately won the tournament despite not winning a single group stage game. Their resilience serves as a powerful reminder of football's unpredictable nature.

In Euro 2020, Sweden topped Group E, leaving favorites Spain in second place. Spain’s inability to convert chances against Sweden and Poland cost them the top spot. These upsets highlight the importance of seizing every opportunity in such high-stakes competitions.

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