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Euro 2024 hits and misses: N’Golo Kante in classic kind for France however Belgium fail to reside as much as the hype | Soccer Information

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Kante rolls back the years in vintage display

N’Golo Kante was man of the match as France beat Austria

France have an abundance of younger midfield expertise in Eduardo Camavinga, Aurelin Tchouameni and Warren Zaire-Emery, but nonetheless picked N’Golo Kante.

Many noticed that decision as a shock given the 33-year-old now performs for Al Ittihad in Saudi Arabia, but it surely took simply 90 minutes of France’s opening 1-0 win at Euro 2024 towards Austria to see why Didier Deschamps received it proper, as soon as once more.

Kante rolled again the years with a classic show that appeared exhausting from the skin. No France participant received extra tackles than the midfielder, with solely William Saliba making extra ball recoveries and successful extra possessions within the defensive and center thirds of the pitch.

A very powerful intervention got here 5 minutes from time when Patrick Wimmer burst by way of after choosing Saliba’s pocket. However protecting the bottom once more was Kante.


The France midfielder additionally put his team-mates by way of on purpose 3 times towards Austria. His best ability of being unbelievably ubiquitous at each ends of the pitch has not pale.

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“It was like a youthful model of himself,” stated Roy Keane of Kante’s show. That youthful model received the World Cup with France six years in the past. He could be essential in a bid so as to add the European Championships to that assortment.
Sam Blitz

Rangnick’s pressing offers Austria hope

Belgium are the one one of many fancied groups to endure a setback up to now on this European Championship but it surely has been encouraging to see so few sides establishing in a deep block and hoping to carry on. Austria got here to impose their recreation on France.

It was straightforward to see why they’d misplaced solely one in all their earlier 16 matches coming into their Group D opener, a crew revitalised beneath former Manchester United interim boss Ralf Rangnick. They actually appeared properly coached by the German.

Austria made 27 tackles in their Euro 2024 game against France
Austria made 27 tackles of their Euro 2024 recreation towards France

Austria made extra tackles within the first half towards France than every other crew on this match has made in a full match up to now. It summed up their front-foot strategy. Solely an absence of particular person high quality prevented them from inflicting an upset.

The urgent challenged France all through and it was a extra entertaining match consequently. Kylian Mbappe had area to work with however the one distinction between the edges was Max Wober’s personal purpose. Christoph Baumgartner actually ought to have scored.

With Poland and the Netherlands to come back, Austria shouldn’t be discouraged. To an extent, their plan work. They’re properly able to getting out of Group D if they can preserve that depth within the subsequent two video games. This match can be higher for it.
Adam Bate

Lunin’s lapse in concentration proves costly

Ukraine goalkeeper Andriy Lunin was at fault for two goals
Ukraine goalkeeper Andriy Lunin was at fault for 2 objectives

One of many massive choices dealing with Carlo Ancelotti forward of the Champions League ultimate earlier this month was whether or not to stay with Andriy Lunin, the Ukraine goalkeeper, forward of Thibaut Courtois.

A minimum of, it was a subject of dialog within the media. Not for Ancelotti, who saved his playing cards near his chest on the eve of Actual Madrid’s encounter with Borussia Dortmund at Wembley.

Because it transpired, Courtois was entrusted with the gloves and the Belgian confirmed simply why he’s the Italian’s first alternative when match. Sadly for Lunin, his deficiencies had been uncovered by a rampant Romania in his first look since dropping his place within the Madrid aspect.

Ukraine extended their record of most games played at the UEFA European Championship without keeping a single clean sheet (12). They’ve also failed to score in 67% of their games at the EUROs (8/12), the highest rate of any nation to take part in more than one edition
Ukraine prolonged their file of most video games performed on the UEFA European Championship with out preserving a single clear sheet (12). They’ve additionally failed to attain in 67% of their video games on the EUROs (8/12), the very best charge of any nation to participate in mor

When confronted with an intense press, the 25-year-old was sloppy with the ball at his toes as Nicolae Stanciu emphatically punished him with a sweeping end into the highest nook.

His second mistake was even much less excusable as he allowed Razvan Marin’s speculative shot to flash beneath his physique.

Serhiy Rebrov’s aspect paid dearly for his or her incapacity to transform their early possession into any actual probabilities, as Romania soaked up the stress after which struck on the counter after dispossessing Ukraine deep in their very own half.

Ukraine had been quarter-finalists on the final European Championships regardless of dropping two of their three group video games. All hope isn’t misplaced, as Rebrov stated afterwards. However he should decide already on whether or not to stay or twist with Lunin.
Ben Grounds

Dragusin leads Romania to famous win

Radu Dragusin
Tottenham’s Radu Dragusin excelled for Romania as they surprised Ukraine

In an admittedly quiet January, Radu Dragusin’s £26.7m transfer to Tottenham was the most important of the Premier League’s switch window.

The centre-back was restricted to only 4 league begins following his arrival. However as Romania earned their first win at a significant match for twenty-four years, Spurs followers noticed why their membership invested so closely within the Genoa defender.

Dragusin was excellent in Munich. Each time Ukraine ventured into harmful areas, they discovered the dominant 22-year-old of their method.

He made 10 clearances – twice as many as every other participant – continually positioning himself to quell the specter of Mykhailo Mudryk, Artem Dovbyk and Georgiy Sudakov.

It wasn’t simply Dragusin – your entire Romania crew purchased into the sport plan, sacrificing possession and defending their space with admirable dedication, earlier than punishing Ukraine’s errors to attain their objectives.

Harder assessments absolutely await – Belgium additionally lurk in Group E – however these opponents might not discover it straightforward to interrupt Romania down with star participant Dragusin on this kind.
Joe Shread

Will Belgium ever live up to the hype?

Romelu Lukaku was twice denied by VAR as Belgium fell to shock loss in Group E opener
Romelu Lukaku was twice denied by VAR as Belgium fell to shock loss in Group E opener

Maybe Belgium are cursed. Maybe unfortunate. Or possibly this ‘golden technology’ merely is not pretty much as good because the hype – or third-place FIFA rating – suggests. Regardless of the intricacy or difficulty, they do not appear to carry out as predicted on the large stage.

Romelu Lukaku was wasteful, Kevin de Bruyne off-colour, Leandro Trossard ineffective. All around the pitch, actually, Domenico Tedesco’s aspect underwhelmed, and that is regardless of creating 4 ‘massive probabilities’ and an xG of 1.91.

Sport by recreation, the shine is flaking off what stays of Belgium’s fame as one in all Europe’s stellar sides. This can be a crew of people, removed from a complete unit of match winners.

And but, there was one thing unjust about their opening recreation defeat. For all the plain shortcomings, Lukaku did have the ball at the back of the web twice. The primary was dominated offside, and so little argument may be made.

The second choice, nevertheless, jarred much more. That is the kind of officiating that has drawn suspicion and skeptics within the Premier League, deemed by many as ‘re-refereeing’ – there may be justification for each side.

Lois Openda did deal with the ball, however does that imply it is handball? The rule is subjective, in fact, however many consider this model of VAR intervention to be a stain on the sport. Jury’s out.

Both method, Belgium should enhance if they’re to keep away from a repeat of Euro 2022, crashing out on the competitors’s group stage.
Laura Hunter

Slovakia veterans help deliver tournament’s first shock

Slovakia's Ivan Schranz celebrates with team-mates after scoring against Belgium in Euro 2024 Group E
Slovakia’s Ivan Schranz celebrates with team-mates after scoring towards Belgium in Euro 2024 Group E

All that was lacking from a gripping begin to Euro 2024 was a outcome to upset the apple cart; a outcome to get the underdogs dreaming. It got here in recreation 9.

Positive, Belgium had been denied an equaliser not as soon as however twice after VAR opinions, however they lacked vigour in assault all through the match and, to an extent, solely had themselves responsible.

It was a momentous outcome for Slovakia as their first win in 4 makes an attempt towards Belgium provides them a strong likelihood of qualifying for the knockout levels of the competitors.

But additionally as a result of they achieved it having grow to be solely the second nation in European Championship historical past to call three gamers of their beginning line-up who had been aged 35 or older.

France did it at Euro 2008 with Gregory Coupet, Claude Makelele and Lilian Thuram – and now Slovakia have matched it with Peter Pekarik (37), Juraj Kucka (37) and Martin Dubravka (35), who all performed the whole lot in Frankfurt.

Pekarik had a strong recreation at right-back and Juraj Kucka supplied a good sufficient risk in the midst of the park, however the decide of the bunch was Newcastle stopper Dubravka, whose 5 saves prevented 1.03 objectives being scored by the Purple Devils.

Albeit with a slice of luck, Francesco Calzona’s Falcons have handed what was regarded as the hardest take a look at they’d face within the group levels and their {old} guard have strengthened the case for age being nothing however a quantity.
Dan Lengthy

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