Ivan Schranz Leads Slovakia to Shocking Victory Over Belgium at Euro 2024

Ivan Schranz scored the decisive goal to secure a 1-0 victory for Slovakia over Belgium on Monday in a thrilling turn of events at Euro 2024.

his unexpected win has shaken up the tournament, positioning Slovakia as formidable underdogs against the highly-ranked Belgium team.

Ivan Schranz Leads Slovakia to Shocking Victory Over Belgium at Euro 2024
After scoring against Belgium, Ivan Schranz of Slovakia celebrates with Lukas Haraslin and Ondrej Duda.@Sky Sports

With a 1-0 victory over Belgium on Monday, Ivan Schranz’s Slovakia pulled off the first upset of Euro 2024. FIFA’s world rankings show that Francesco Calzona’s team is 45 places behind Belgium, which is ranked third. But they turned up a brave performance in Frankfurt, making a farce of the reported quality difference between the teams.

Calzona, who was also Napoli’s temporary manager during the latter part of the previous campaign, had previously stated he would be “delighted” with a draw. After breaking his nine-game goal drought for his country, Schranz left Belgium reeling. The Italian got more than he could have ever imagined.

Romelu Lukaku had several opportunities to equalize for Belgium, but VAR controversially disallowed his late effort. Only hours after Romania defeated Ukraine 3-0 in the other pool match on Monday, Slovakia’s stunning triumph completely opened up Group E.

Belgium suffered a heartbreaking defeat and run the risk of not living up to their full potential at a major tournament. Belgium’s golden age has diminished significantly following their disastrous group stage exit from the 2022 World Cup.

The Red Devils’ third-place showing at the 2018 World Cup is the pinnacle of a gifted but underachieving squad that was once heralded as a future dynasty. The team lost in the quarterfinals of the European Championship the previous two years.

Following Roberto Martinez’s dismissal in February 2023, Dominic Tedesco guided Belgium to a 14-game winning streak ahead of the European Championship.

Kevin De Bruyne had declared that Belgium was prepared to do “something good” in Germany prior to what was supposed to be a farewell tour for its seasoned stars.

Also Read: France Secures Victory Over Austria with an Own Goal in Euro 2024 Opener

However, they reverted to form with a sputtering showing, which puts them under tremendous pressure to win their second group game on Saturday against Romania.

In the second minute, Lukaku, making his 11th appearance in a major event for Belgium, ought to have scored his 86th goal for his nation. After turning deftly at the halfway line, Jeremy Doku sprinted menacingly into the Slovakia penalty area, where De Bruyne prodded his cross toward Lukaku.

Although it appeared that Lukaku would score, his close-range shot went straight at Slovakian goalkeeper Martin Dubravka. Shortly after, he made another threat, but this time, he allowed Doku’s ball go away from him despite pressing hard for the goal. Lukaku’s carelessness was punished by Slovakia, who took the lead in the seventh minute.

When Doku attempted to clear the ball, he made a careless pass that let Robert Bozenick backheel the ball to Juraj Kucka. Although Koen Casteels stopped Kucka’s shot, he was powerless to save Schranz’s sharply angled shot on the rebound.

After suffering through a terrible evening, Lukaku wasted another excellent opportunity after Yannick Carrasco’s sweeping pass with a painfully heavy touch. The frustration in Belgium grew in the 56th minute as Dubravka’s near-post stop denied Lukaku.

Ivan Schranz Leads Slovakia to Shocking Victory Over Belgium at Euro 2024
Belgium suffered an unexpected defeat in their Group E opening as Romelu Lukaku was twice denied by VAR. @Sky Sports

Lukaku slipped in to score from a yard out after Amadou Onana looped a header over Dubravka from the ensuing corner, but his celebrations were cut short as VAR determined he was offside.

Belgium attacked the Slovakian goal, but David Hancko stopped a chance from Johan Bakayoko after Dubravka made a great save from Trossard and Lukaku’s volley into the side netting.

Lukaku scored in the 86th minute, but Lois Openda’s handball in the build-up saw the goal disallowed. It was a fitting finale to a day that will never be forgotten for Belgium.

Domenico Tedesco, head coach of Belgium, stated:

“Taking chances was the one thing we struggled with. We had an abundance. That’s how the game works. The players were obviously disappointed.

“We pushed hard, we had many of opportunities. In most cases, you win this game. It aches.
In reference to two VAR rulings that prevented Belgium from drawing even, he continued, saying, “I want to be a fair loser – we trust the referees.”

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