Thursday July 18, 2024

EURO 2024

Slovakia upset Belgium, France down Austria, Romania beat Ukraine

Published : 18 Jun 2024, 03:31

  DF News Desk
Denis Dragus (C) of Romania competes during the UEFA Euro 2024 Group E match between Romania and Ukraine in Munich, Germany, on June 17, 2024. Photo: Xinhua by Philippe Ruiz.

Slovakia flabbergasted Belgium 1-0 in Group E after Ivan Schranz's early opener was enough to snatch all three points while Austria lost 1-0 to France due to Maximilian Wober's own goal at the Euro 2024 on Monday, reported Xinhua.

The Red Devils took the reins from the start and should have broken the deadlock with three minutes played but Romelu Lukaku couldn't beat Slovakia goalkeeper Martin Dubravka from very close range.

Slovakia punished the Belgians for their wastefulness and took the lead moments later after Schranz tapped home a rebound from tight angle past Belgium goalkeeper Koen Casteels in the seventh minute.

Domenico Tedesco's side pressed for the equalizer, but Slovakia still looked dangerous on counterattacks as Lukas Haraslin's 15-meter volley tested Casteels with 39 minutes gone.

Belgium thought they had levelled but Lukaku's goal was ruled offside by the VAR at the hour mark.

The Red Devils couldn't fend off the opening game defeat as Lukaku got another goal disallowed by the VAR due to a foregone handball by Lois Openda.

"It's a huge win, but we must keep working. We are looking at the next games. We must score in those games as well to meet our target and to advance," said Slovakia head coach Francesco Calzona.

In an earlier game, Romania staged a faultless performance and trashed Ukraine 3-0 thanks to the goals from Nicolae Stanciu, Razvan Marin and Denis Dragus. With the result, Romania top Group E followed by Slovakia, Belgium and Ukraine.

In Group D, France secured a hard-earned opening game victory as Austria never recovered from Wober's own goal.

The Frenchmen came agonizingly close to open the scoring with seven minutes played when Austria custodian Patrick Prentz palmed away Kylian Mbappe's shot from close range.

Austria missed the chance to take the lead in the 36th minute but Christoph Baumgartner couldn't overcome France goalie Mike Maignan.

The opener was scored at the other end of the pitch as unlucky Wober headed Mbappe's cross into the wrong goal.

Austria pressed for the equalizer, but France's well-organized defence kept Ralf Rangnick at bay.

With the win, France joins the Netherlands atop the standings in Group D while Austria slump to the last spot.

"It was a tough game against a tough opponent. We defended very well and are happy with the victory," said France defender Dayot Upamecano.