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Euro 2024 Football News

UEFA Euro 2024: Day 5 Match Previews | Predictions | Fantasy XIs

Rahul Saha Rahul Saha

Day 5 of UEFA Euro 2024 brings us the final first round of the group fixtures with Portugal and Czechia rounding off Group F’s action. In our second fixture of the day, the Croats look to get their first win of the tournament against underdogs Albania, while hosts Germany look to make it two in two against a spirited Hungary side who’ll be vying to spoil the hosts’ festive mood. 

Euro 2024 Match 12: Portugal vs Czechia | 12:30 am IST | June 19 

Roberto Martínez’s side have been rather inconsistent in the build-up to the marquee tournament. Since finishing top of their qualifying group, winning all their games, the 2016 Euros champions have suffered defeats at the hands of fellow Euro qualifiers Slovenia and Croatia. Moreover, having kept nine clean sheets in those ten qualifying fixtures, in their last four matches, they’ve kept just one. 

Although it remains to be seen whether this has come about due to Martínez trying out new ideas or it’s a blueprint for fellow competitors to exploit. Thus, despite boasting one of the strongest squads in the tournament, it remains to be seen whether or not this batch is good enough to upstage some of the pre-tournament favourites. 

One the other hand, having secured automatic qualification to the main draw rather easily, the Czechs have gone from strength to strength over the last six months. Ivan Hasek’s men are currently on a five-match winning streak. In the last six months, they’ve managed to rally two away draws against Poland and Hungary and secured a memorable 2-1 away win against Norway in March. For a team drilled with pragmatism and a physical approach, Czechia will ensure their opponents find it difficult to cut them open or physically dominate them in the middle of the pitch. 

Team News 

Portugal have a fully-fit squad with the exception of Raphaël Guerreiro, who was ruled out of the tournament after sustaining a ligament and capsule injury in his ankle in a Bundesliga game for Bayern Munich in May. However, it still won’t be easy for Roberto Martínez to pick his playing XI. 

41-year-old Pepe and 39-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo both should get the nod ahead of much younger players playing in those same position, while it’ll be a toss up among Vitinha, João Neves, and Ruben Neves as to who partners Fulham’s João Palhinha and Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes in the midfield. Similarly, one of João Félix or Diogo Jota will get the nod in the left wing. 

As far as the Czechs are concerned, midfielder Michal Sadílek got himself ruled out of tournament, having injured his leg while riding his bike days before this game. 30-year-old Slavia Prague midfielder Petr Ševcík has been announced as his replacement. 

Other than that, West Ham United’s Tomáš Soucek will be the driving force at the heart of the Czech midfield, while Patrik Schick will provide the bulk of the firepower for the team up top.

Form Guide

Portugal 

Form (all competitions, most recent first): W-L-W-L-W
Most recent result: Portugal 3-0 Ireland, Friendly
European Qualifying: Finished 1st in Group J with 30 points 

Czechia

Form (all competitions, most recent first): W-W-W-W-W
Most recent result: Czechia 2-1 North Macedonia, Friendly 
European Qualifying: Finished 2nd in Group E with 15 points 

Prediction 

Portugal and Czechia last squared off against each other in 2022, during the Nations League group stages. On both occasions, the 2016 Euro champions came out on top, winning the fixtures 4-0 and 2-0, respectively.

However, Wednesday’s group fixture will be a different game altogether. Roberto Martínez’s Portugal have been shaky recently, while Czechia are free-scoring.

Given the plethora of attacking talent in that Portugal team, though, they should see out this game, although it won’t be comfortable.  

Portugal 3-1 Czechia

Predicted Fantasy XI

Goalkeeper: Jindrich Stanek
Defenders: Vladimir Coufal, João Cancelo, Nuno Mendes 
Midfielders: Tomáš Soucek, Bruno Fernandes, Bernerdo Silva, Vitinha 
Forwards: Patrik Schick, Rafael Leão, Cristiano Ronaldo
Captain: Cristiano Ronaldo 
Vice-captain: Bernardo Silva 

Euro 2024 Match 13: Croatia vs Albania | 6:30 pm IST | June 19

Croatia need to pick themselves up and fast. With such a short turnaround during UEFA Euro 2024, they will have to leave the ghosts of their opening-day humbling behind and focus on the positives from that game. All three goals could have been easily avoided, while finishing their chances would have also helped them alter the game states. 

Up next for them is a must-win game against Albania. The attacking trio of Andrej Kramaric, Ante Budimir, and Lovro Majer had its fair share of opportunities to break through the Spanish defence, however, against a comparatively weaker Albanian backline, Croatia must look to improve their negative three-goal deficit, which may impact their qualification chances if they end up finishing third in the group. 

Despite scoring the fastest goal in the history of the tournament, Albania couldn’t hold onto their lead against Italy. While the 2-1 score line would suggest a close encounter, in all honesty, it wasn’t really much of a contest. Italy took the lead within 16 minutes with Nicolò Barella’s wonderful volley from outside the box and should have added more if not for some woeful finishing till the end of the game. That one-goal lead gave Albania a glimmer of hope, who did have their moments, but those were few and far between. Armando Borja also had a frustrating game, one he’d like to forget soon.

Given that the Croatian defence has shown fragility, most of which was self-inflicted, Albania will be hopeful of getting opportunities which they must cash in on. 

Team News 

With the game already out of reach, Zlatko Dalic subbed off both Luka Modric and Mateo Kavacic near the hour mark. In terms of injuries, there were no casualties. Besides, despite the 3-0 score line, I expect Dalic to stick with the same playing XI. 

Slyvinho, too, didn’t have any injured players to deal with following his team’s 2-1 defeat to Italy and should have a full complement of players to pick from. However, given how easily Italy were able to cut Albania open, the Brazilian may want to make some personnel changes ahead of this crucial fixture. 

Form Guide

Croatia

Form (all competitions, most recent first): L-W-W-W-W 
Most recent result: Spain 3-0 Croatia, Euro 2024 Group B
European Qualifying: Finished 2nd in Group D with 16 points 

Albania 

Form (all competitions, most recent first): L-W-W-L-L
Most recent result: Italy 2-1 Albania, Euro 2024 Group B  
European Qualifying: Finished 1st in Group E with 15 points 

Prediction 

Despite an off-day at the office, Croatia will look to assert themselves against a much weaker Albania side. Finishing their chances has always been Croatia’s Achilles heel, though given the fact that they are likely to have the bulk of the possession in this game, it should be a comfortable afternoon for them in Hamburg. 

Croatia 2-0 Albania

Predicted Fantasy XI

Goalkeeper: Thomas Strakosha
Defenders: Joško Gvardiol, Mario Miraj, Josip Šutalo
Midfielders: Luka Modric, Marcelo Brozovic, Lovro Majer
Forwards: Ante Budimir, Andrej Kramaric, Armando Borja
Captain: Andrej Kramaric
Vice-captain: Luka Modric

Also read: UEFA Euro 2024 Sponsors

Euro 2024 Match 14: Germany vs Hungary | 9:30 pm IST | June 19

If there were any reservations regarding Germany’s prospects coming into Euro 2024, they all were put to bed with their emphatic 5-1 win against Scotland on the opening day. Julian Nagelsmann’s side completely dominated the game from start to finish, with Antonio Rüdiger’s late own-goal being the only blemish on what was a five-star performance by Die Mannschaft

Having already doubled their lead inside 20 minutes, minutes from half time, Ryan Porteus’ two-footed horror challenge on Ilkay Gündogan resulted in a penalty being awarded as well as Scotland going down to ten men, which ultimately killed the game as Germany cruised to a 5-1 win on the night.  

With the prospect of guaranteeing qualification through to the Round of 16 with a win, Germany will head into this game full of confidence, while Hungary will see this as a must-not-lose game, since a draw here and a win against Scotland should be more than enough for their Round of 16 qualification. 

However, the way the Hungarian defence succumbed to the pressure put on them by Switzerland would raise a few concerns from Marco Rossi’s coaching staff. Hungary also struggled to create chances from open play, with their best opportunity coming near the hour mark. Given the Germans will be all over them with their intense high-pressing system, Rossi will need to navigate a way to bypass the German block.

Besides, unlike their game against Switzerland, where they dilly-dallied between sitting back and pressing high up the pitch, Hungary will need to stick with one system, since being indecisive ultimately cost them the last game. 

Team News 

Following the 5-1 thrashing of Scotland, where most of their key players performed and were then smartly taken off to avoid any injury scares, Julian Nagelsmann should be expected field the same playing XI that won at the Allianz Arena. 

Marco Rossi, on the other hand, will want a much better showing from his team, especially his defensive unit. With no injury concerns, similar to Germany, Hungary can be expected to go with an unchanged playing XI.

Form Guide

Germany

Form (all competitions, most recent first): W-W-W-D-L
Most recent result: Germany 5-1 Scotland, Euro 2024 Group A  
European Qualifying: Host Country

Hungary

Form (all competitions, most recent first): L-W-L-W-W-W
Most recent result: Hungary 1-3 Switzerland, Euro 2024 Group A 
European Qualifying: Finished 1st in Group G with 18 points  

Prediction 

Hungary will definitely try to make it a difficult game for the hosts. However, taking into account their current form, the home crowd support, and the gulf in quality between the two sides, a lot of things will have to go right for Hungary to get anything out of this contest.

I predict a comfortable victory for the hosts with maybe a consolation goal for Hungary late on. 

Germany 3-1 Hungary 

Predicted Fantasy XI

Goalkeeper: Peter Gulasci
Defenders: Willi Orban, Joshua Kimmich, Maximilian Mittelstadt
Midfielders: Dominik Szoboszlai, Toni Kroos, Jamal Musiala, Barnabas Varga, Ilkay Gündogan
Forwards: Kai Havertz, Florian Wirtz
Captain: Florian Wirtz 
Vice-captain: Jamal Musiala 

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
Top 5 Dark Horses for UEFA Euro 2024
UEFA Euro 2024: When it Starts, Where it Is Taking Place, Which Teams Are Participating

UEFA Euro 2024: Day 5 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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