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Which Teams Have Been The Most Disappointing At Euro 2024 SO Far?

Germany and Spain were both able to put on a clinic on their first matchday, but the same cannot be said of the other favorites to win Euro 2024. In fact, of the teams ranked in the top 10 by odds, it could be argued that Die Mannschaft and La Roja were the only squads that looked like an elite team.

France only secured victory thanks to an own goal scored by Austria. Portugal narrowly lost against Czechia. The Netherlands looked shaky in a victory over Poland. There are three nations, though, that gave greater cause for concern than the rest on their first matchday.

3. England

Unlike the other teams on this list, England is still poised to be a team that can go on a run. It's just that they also look like a team that will bow out without winning the tournament. Gareth Southgate has a rather uncanny ability to make a team filled with some of the most exciting players in the world look pretty pedestrian. There was nothing inspiring about their 1-0 win over Serbia.

They scored and then played as conservatively as possible. England fans have rightfully been upset. While Serbia has some talented players, they are not a team England should be afraid of. A similar effort against a better opponent would have resulted in a loss. That is how it has been with England during Southgate's tenure, though.

There is no room for creativity or risk, and that is why England always falters when they are on the brink of success. There is plenty to say about some of the lackluster performances, like that of Phil Foden, but that is irrelevant as long as the team lacks sound tactics from their coach. The Three Lions have never won a European championship, and they are going to need to be much better if they want to change that.

2. Croatia

It was not that long ago that Croatia were a win away from becoming World Champions. A lot has changed since 2018, though, and nowhere is that better exemplified than with Luka Modric. The Real Madrid star is still an incredible talent, but he is 38 years old. Father Time is undefeated. Ivan Rakitic is gone, and so is Mario Mandzukic. Ivan Perisic is getting up there in age. The list goes on. Croatia's efforts and their ability to punch above their weight have been commendable.

Since that magical run in Russia, they have managed a third-place finish in the 2022 World Cup. Every year, though, no matter the results, it is apparent that Croatia's golden chance to shock the world has slipped away. The team is always strong, but it is always getting older and without enough replacements to make up for what is lost.

There is reason to be hopeful for Croatia's future with young talents like Josip Stanisic, who just won the Bundesliga with Leverkusen. That loss to Spain was no fluke, though. Were they deserving of a 3-0 defeat? Maybe not, but they were soundly outclassed. There might be a little bit left in the tank before Croatia has to turn the page, but it is unlikely it will be enough for the squad to play on July 14 in Berlin.

1. Belgium

This is far and away the most disappointing team after the first matchday. Of all the talk of golden generations in recent years, none has received more attention than Belgium. While Croatia was able to make the most of the players at its disposal and fell just short of glory, Belgium never scratched the surface of its potential. A third-place finish at the 2018 World Cup is the only time this generation of Belgians made it past the quarterfinals of a major tournament.

The embarrassing group stage exit in 2022 made people wonder if Belgium's time in the sun was over. A loss to Slovakia to open their Euro 2024 campaign is not a result that is going to win anybody over. It has been described as the biggest upset in the history of the tournament, and at least on paper, it very much was. Belgium has lost so much talent in recent years, but their lineup is still formidable in theory.

That really is the thing with Belgium, though, isn't it? Its a squad that should be a worldbeater but never is. They have been good, but not good enough. It has never quite clicked. Now, the wheels are really starting to fall off, and one can only wonder if there is some way that Belgium can salvage their reputation.

What's Next?

Each of these three nations has two matches left in the group stage. England is more likely than not to move on, as they already have three points. Their upcoming matches are against Denmark and Slovenia. Croatia and Belgium have a less certain future at the tournament, but they both still control their own destiny. Belgium will face Romania and then Ukraine. Those should be manageable opponents, but Slovakia should have been too.

Croatia has Albania and Italy coming up, which could spell trouble. Italy are the defending champions, and Albania looked fiesty in their first match. Any one of England, Croatia, or Belgium can still move on. They all still have the opportunity to win the whole tournament, too. For any of them to win, though, a lot is going to have to change in a very short amount of time.


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