Close this search box.

Belgium 0-1 Slovakia: Lukaku denied twice by VAR in first major shock of Euro 2024

Slovakia stunned Belgium 1-0 in Frankfurt in Euro 2024's first major upset in Group E.

Belgium Slovakia

Euro 2024 witnessed its first major shock of the tournament as Slovakia stunned Belgium 1-0 in Frankfurt.

Slovakia, appearing at just their third European Championship as an independent nation, claimed the famous victory through Ivan Schranz’s effort in only the seventh minute.

The Red Devils missed a number of chances to equalise, particularly through the luckless Romelu Lukaku who had two goals ruled out by VAR.

But Slovakia held on to deal Belgium’s their first defeat in 15 games under Dominico Tedesco and blow Group E wide open following Romania’s 3-0 win over Ukraine.

As it happened

Belgium made a positive start to the game, with Lukaku missing two great opportunities to give his side an early lead in Frankfurt.

But out of nowhere Slovakia were 1-0 up as Jeremy Doku gifted the ball away to allow Juraj Kucha to strike at goal.

Koen Casteels saved the effort but could only parry it to Schranz, who found the net from a tight angle and stun their much-fancied opponents.

The Red Devils immediately tried to re-assert their dominance but some disciplined Slovakian defending kept clear-cut chances to a minimum, with Leandro Trossard denied before Amadou Onana headed straight at Dubravka from a corner.

And the Repre were so nearly 2-0 up as the half-time whistle edged closer, with Casteels at full stretch to keep out a fantastic first-time volley from Lukas Haraslin.

Moments later Romelu Lukaku spurned another excellent opportunity to level after the Chelsea striker was played through for a one-on-one by a brilliant through ball by Yannick Carrasco.

Lukaku brought the ball down before opting to take the ball round the goalkeeper instead of shooting and his heavy touch went out of play.

The 31-year-old’s bad luck continued in the second half when he thought he had equalised from close range only for VAR to conclude he had drifted just offside when Onana headed the ball across.

Belgium continued to try and turn the screw as Trossard blasted an effort at Dubravka – but the Newcastle stopper was once again equal to it.

A period of dominance remained as Lukaku once again fired wide before some last-ditch defending denied substitute Johan Bakayoko with just over an hour on the clock.

Slovakia survived the onslaught and grew back into the game, with midfielder Stanislav Lobotka proving a particular nuisance in stopping Belgian attacks and distributing play.

And they could easily have doubled their lead through David Strelev but the substitute’s backheel was turned away for a corner by Wout Faes.

Belgium and Lukaku thought they had finally made the breakthrough with four minutes of time remaining as he slotted home with four minutes to go.

But much to Slovakian supporters’ joy, the Belgian forward saw his effort ruled out after a handball by Lois Openda in the build-up – a decision which is sure to spark some debate.

Kevin De Bruyne continued to lead the push for an equaliser in the dying moments but his weak effort was easily collected by Dubravka.

But it was clear it was not Belgium’s day and Slovakia held on for a result that will go down in the country’s folklore for years to come.

What next for Belgium and Slovakia at Euro 2024?

Ukraine and Belgium will have been the teams expected to qualify for the knockout stages, so defeats for both teams has blown Group E wide open.

It is unlikely to get any easier for Tedesco’s men as they face Romania on Saturday evening, a nation on a high after their historic 3-0 win over Ukraine.

Slovakia have a fantastic opportunity to reach the knockout stages for the first time and will fancy their chances of more glory against Ukraine on Friday.

Picture of Cian Cheesbrough

Cian Cheesbrough

Cian is a sports journalist with experience writing for national title, including LiveScore, MailOnline, Eurosport and Sky Sports. He has covered a number of key events during his time in the industry, including from the press box at live Champions League fixtures.