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UEFA Euro 2024: Day 3 Match Previews | Predictions | Fantasy XIs

Rahul Saha Rahul Saha

Day 3 of UEFA Euro 2024 brings us some of the tournament favourites kicking off their campaign.

In our first game, Euro 2020 finalists England take on Serbia at the Veltins-Arena, while the short-of-confidence Romania will kick off the Group E action against the high-flying Ukrainians. In our final game, we have a star-studded Belgium side looking to navigate a tricky opening encounter against a free-scoring Slovakia team at the Deutsche Bank Park in Frankfurt. 

With that in mind, here are my predictions for Day 3 of UEFA Euro 2024. 

UEFA Euro 2024 Match 7: Serbia vs England | 12:30 am IST | June 17 

Having finished second behind Hungary in Group G during the qualification phase, Dragan Stojkovic’s men have been rather inconsistent in the lead up to the tournament. Following disappointing defeats to Russia and Austria, the only bright spark for Serbia was their recent 3-0 win against Sweden away from home.

Despite having some quality players all over the pitch, Stojkovic’s team haven’t quite clicked into gear yet. If they are to push Denmark for that second place, players like Dusan Vlahovic, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, and Dusan Tadic will have to have a big say in this year’s tournament. 

The Euro 2020 finalists, on the other hand, are attracting attention for all the wrong reasons. They’ve won just one game in their last five and have been miserable in all of them. While the British media keep mulling over how much time Gareth Southgate might have left, these outside noises also don’t help this young England side, who already have the entire world looking at them.

Given Southgate has a respectable CV when it comes to major tournaments, the onus is on him again to galvanise his team one more time. 

Team News 

With no Harry Maguire, England will want John Stones to be fit enough to start at centre-back after the Man City defender was forced off at half time on Friday. Luke Shaw, meanwhile, has made impressive progress in recovering from the muscle injury that has side-lined him since February, but Sunday’s opener might be too soon for him, given he also missed both the warm-up games. The Man United left-back was back in first-team training on Tuesday, however.

Bukayo Saka has been almost ever-present in Southgate’s sides since making his senior debut in 2020, though he has been recovering from a groin injury and came off the bench for the final 25 minutes against Iceland. It remains to be seen if he will be deemed fit enough to start on Sunday, with Southgate and his staff carefully managing his training programme ahead of the competition.

Other than Nemanja Maksimovic, who came off in the first half of Serbia’s 2-1 defeat to Austria after suffering a nasty head injury, Stojkovic doesn’t have the same injury concerns as Southgate does. 

Form Guide

Serbia

Form (all competitions, most recent first): W-L-W-L-D
Most recent result: Sweden 0-3 Serbia, Friendly
European Qualifying: Finished 2nd in Group G with 14 points

England 

Form (all competitions, most recent first): L-W-D-L-D
Most recent result: England 0-1 Iceland, Friendly 
European Qualifying: Finished top of Group C with 20 points 

Prediction 

Personally, it’s a tough call. Given England’s injury concerns and their lack of form, Serbia have a great chance to hurt them, and they have the tools as well. The trio of Mitrovic, Vlahovic, and Milinkovic-Savic will be key to Serbia’s chance of pulling off an early tournament upset. 

Serbia 1-1 England 

Predicted Fantasy XI

Goalkeeper: Jordan Pickford
Defenders: John Stones, Marc Guéhi, Nikola Milenkovic
Midfielders: Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Jude Bellingham, Phil Foden, Bukayo Saka
Forwards: Harry Kane, Dusan Vlahovic, Aleksandar Mitrovic
Captain: Harry Kane
Vice-Captain: Aleksandar Mitrovic 

UEFA Euro 2024 Match 8: Romania vs Ukraine | 6:30 pm IST | June 17 

With four best third-place qualification places up for grabs, Romania will look at this fixture as a must-win game. Having finished top of Group I ahead of Switzerland in the qualification phase, it seems as though Edward Iordanescu’s side have gone off the boil in recent months. Without a win in their last four fixtures, the Romanians need to get their act together quickly to stand any chance of going through. 

The Ukrainians, on the other side, look the better of the two heading into the tournament. Despite needing a playoff win to secure qualification for the main draw, Serhiy Rebrov’s team have been scoring freely in the lead up to the tournament. While getting through to the next stage might just be their sole objective, given their attacking threat, they certainly have the tools to upset one or two of the big boys. 

Team News 

The Romanian squad features a strong midfield line-up, including captain Nicolae Stanciu, Razvan Marin, and Ianis Hagi, who will be crucial in dictating play and creating opportunities. The team also boast a solid defensive unit, with players like Andrei Burca and Ionut Nedelcearu providing stability at the back. Despite the fact that most of the names in the squad do not sound familiar to many, their exceptional performances during qualification has shown us that they have a certain style and can potentially compete with anyone on their day. 

Ukraine have an exciting group of attacking players, many of whom are young and slowly building chemistry with each other. Girona’s attacking duo of Artem Dovbyk and Viktor Tsygankov, alongside the likes of Georgiy Sudakov and Mykhailo Mudryk, will be key to Ukraine’s offence. Besides, they also have a solid midfield as well as a defence that can hold its own against the big boys. Thus, Ukraine’s chances will rely heavily on how well their midfield duo of Aleksandr Zinchenko and Ruslan Malinovskyi dictate the play. 

Form Guide

Romania

Form (all competitions, most recent first): D-D-L-D-W
Most recent result: Romania 0-0 Liechtenstein, Friendly
European Qualifying: Finished top of Group I with 22 points 

Ukraine

Form (all competitions, most recent first): W-L-D-W-W
Most recent result: Moldova 0-4 Ukraine, Friendly 
European Qualifying: Won the qualification playoff

Prediction 

Despite going unbeaten and topping their group that also had Switzerland, the Romanians have since failed to conjure a single win; their last two games were a stalemate. Ukraine, on the other hand, a free-scoring side, should be able to get things done here even if Romania parks the bus from minute one. 

Romania 0-2 Ukraine 

Predicted Fantasy XI

Goalkeeper: Andriy Lunin
Defenders: Vitaliy Mykolenko, Illia Zabarnyi, Radu Dragusin
Midfielders: Ruslan Malinovskyi, Georgiy Sudakov, Nicolae Stanciu, Marius Marin
Forwards: Artem Dovbyk, Viktor Tsygankov, George Puscas
Captain: Artem Dovbyk 
Vice-captain: Viktor Tsygankov 

Also read: UEFA Euro 2024 Sponsors

UEFA Euro 2024 Match 9: Belgium vs Slovakia | 9:30 pm IST | June 17 

Belgium’s golden generation will begin their final shot at glory with an opening fixture against Slovakia at Deutsche Bank Park. The Red Devils have been among one of the highest-ranked nations in world football for quite some time, but their potential still hasn’t resulted in any silverware yet.

There’s no doubt about the quality of the Belgium squad, but in recent tournaments they’ve eventually come undone when you least expect them to, raising the question whether these players are really capable of winning something substantial. 

Slovakia, on the other hand, enter the tournament as the lowest-ranked team in Group E. This will be their third consecutive European Championship appearance, having also previously reached the Round of 16 in 2016. Despite their low ranking, the Slovaks possess some quality players all over the pitch. While their chances do look bleak to many, it’ll be a close battle with Ukraine for that second place. 

Team News 

Belgium head into UEFA Euro 2024 with a mix of seasoned veterans and emerging talents. The squad, managed by Domenico Tedesco, has been in fine form in the build-up to the tournament. However, the team will be without their main goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois, who has been left out due to a public falling-out with the coach, which leaves a significant gap in their defence, with Matz Sels or Koen Casteels likely to step in. 

The likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku will be crucial for Belgium’s success. De Bruyne, despite an injury-ravaged season, remains a pivotal figure in midfield, while Lukaku’s goal-scoring prowess will be vital.  

Slovakia’s squad for UEFA Euro 2024 is built around a core of experienced players, many of whom have been part of the national team for several years. Milan Škriniar, the Paris Saint-Germain defender, will be a key figure in their defence, bringing both leadership and quality. The midfield will be anchored by Stanislav Lobotka of Napoli, with support from experienced operators like Juraj Kucka and Ondrej Duda. 

Up front, Robert Mak has not made the squad, so Lukáš Haraslín and Tomáš Suslov could be the wingers to flank Róbert Boženík through the middle. However, the only concern is that they will need to find a way to compensate for the lack of emerging young talents in their squad if they are to progress beyond the group stage. 

Form Guide

Belgium 

Form (all competitions, most recent first): W-W-D-D-W
Most recent result: Belgium 3-0 Luxembourg, Friendly 
European Qualifying: Finished top of Group F with 20 points 

Slovakia 

Form (all competitions, most recent first): W-W-D-L-W 
Most recent result: Slovakia 4-0 Wales, Friendly 
European Qualifying: Finished 2nd in Group J with 22 points 

Prediction 

Both teams are coming into this game on the back of impressive victories in their respective latest friendly outings. Slovakia will surely give Belgium a tough run, but given the attacking threat they possess, it might be too hot to handle for Francesco Calzona’s men. Moreover, taking into account Belgium’s defensive fragility, it can easily turn into a nervy evening for Domenico Tedesco’s side. 

Belgium 2-1 Slovakia 

Predicted Fantasy XI

Goalkeeper: Martin Dúbravka
Defenders: Milan Škriniar, Dávid Hancko, Jan Vertonghen
Midfielders: Juraj Kucka, Kevin De Bruyne, Leandro Trossard, Amadou Onana, Jeremy Doku
Forwards: Robert Bozenik, Romelu Lukaku
Captain: Romelu Lukaku
Vice-captain: Kevin De Bruyne 

Also Read
UEFA Euro 2024 Sponsors
Euro 2024: Favourites, Predictions, Place Your Bets in India With Expert Advice
Top 10 players to look out for at UEFA Euro 2024
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UEFA Euro 2024: When it Starts, Where it Is Taking Place, Which Teams Are Participating

UEFA Euro 2024: Day 3 Match Previews | Predictions | Fantasy XIs
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Rahul Saha

Rahul Saha

An engineer taking the road less taken. I love writing, live and breathe football, and am always up for a tactical conversation.

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