Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Ranking Euro underdogs: Could Ukraine, Austria, Turkiye and others pull of a 2004 Greece?

The UEFA 2024 Euro is about to start and will feature the most important European national teams such as France, England, Germany, Spain, Portugal among others that will try to repeat the success of Italy in 2021. However, over the past decades, the Euros has been a tournament full of surprises, such as in 2016 when Portugal were able to win against hosts France. The pick of the surprising editions was 2004, when Otto Rehhagel’s led Greece to glory, beating hosts Portugal in the final. Who could be next?

We rank the top five underdogs:

5. Hungary

Hungary were already a surprise in the last edition of the competition, when in 2021 the team coached by the Italian manager Marco Rossi played against Germany, France and Portugal in the group stage of the tournament. Despite the difficult teams they faced, Hungary drew twice against Germany and France, but then lost to Portugal in the last game of the initial group phase. The talented players, led by star Dominik Szoboszlai, can improve themselves this summer as they will face Switzerland, Germany and Scotland and can potentially aim to qualify for the round of 16. 

4. Ukraine

Definitely a team to watch this summer, as Ukraine will play in Group E against Belgium, Slovakia and Romania in one of the most balanced groups of the tournament. Ukraine can count on players like Oleksandr Zinchenko, Mykhaylo Mudryk and Artem Dovbyk, a talented roster, and most importantly a nation that despite the ongoing situation will support their team over the tournament. For sure, the players will do everything in their power to achieve the maximum and they have the talent to make it happen. Also, considering the teams they will face, they have a big chance to qualify at least for the elimination round. 

3. Serbia

Serbia were one of the biggest disappointments of the 2022 World Cup, as the team was not able to win a single game and ended up last in the group stage after losing to Switzerland and Brazil, and only drew Cameroon. Manager Dragan Stojkovic will count on players like Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Dusan Vlahovic, Lazar Samardzic among others and will face England, Slovenia and Denmark in the group. While the Three Lions are likely to end up winning the group stage, Serbia will probably fight for the second spot of the table. 

2. Austria

Ralf Rangnick’s team is one of those that we need to watch this summer due to its potential and also for the quality of football shown during the qualification phase. The former Manchester United manager was called to rebuild the team and create a new cycle that could become successful in the coming years, and this is also the reason why he decided to decline the Bayern Munich job after the Euros. Austria will face a challenging group phase against France, Poland and Netherlands. However, none of these big teams should underestimate the potential of Rangnick’s side. 

1. Turkiye

Lastly, Turkey. The Turkish national team will face Portugal, Georgia and Czech Republic in the group stage and will have a chance to impress. Vincenzo Montella’s team is full of talent: Real Madrid’s Arda Guler, Inter’s Hakan Calhanoglu and Juventus’ Kenan Yıldız are just some of the names that will feature. Turkey have the chance to become a serious underdog in the tournament, and the group stage sees them as the most likely to end up second behind Portugal. After that, anything is possible. 

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