Close this search box.

Euro 2024: Belgium coach rues missed chances after shock Slovakia defeat

Red Devils made to pay for profligacy while VAR saw two goals disallowed in Frankfurt



Belgium coach Domenico Tedesco remained philosophical after his side were stunned by Slovakia in their Group E opener.

Ivan Schranz swivelled to fire home an angled volley after just seven minutes in Frankfurt and despite creating a host of chances, and seeing two goals chalked-off by VAR, the team ranked third in the FIFA world rankings were toppled by the team ranked 48th.

The defeat brought to an end Belgium’s 15-match unbeaten run, which featured 10 victories, and was the first time they had failed to score in their past nine European Championship games.

Tedesco told “I knew that eventually we would lose a game. Unfortunately it was today.

“There’s not much I can tell the team to improve. We created many chances and had we scored, it would have been an easier game.”

Tedesco insisted there had been no issues in the lead-up to the game and said it was just one of those days.

“The build-up days to the game were good, sharp,” he said. “Today we had to score, then we wouldn’t be talking about any problem.

“The only thing that we didn’t do well was missing chances. We had plenty. It’s part of the game. Of course the players were disappointed.”

It was a famous day for Slovakia and coach Francesco Calzona told “Our players did their best, they put in the effort and we beat a great opponent.

“I told the boys that we have to have the mentality that we can be equal to the best. It’s a huge win, but we have to keep working. We are looking at the next games – we have to score in those games as well to meet our target and advance.”

Goalkeeper Martin Dubravka, who denied Romelu Lukaku early on before the Belgium forward saw a close-range finish ruled-out for offside and later a thumping effort brought back for a handball in the build-up, admitted: “It’s a huge victory.

“We worked hard to do that and fought until the end. You need to be a little bit lucky in the games like this, but we were. It’s an amazing victory.

“When we are a good team, we can deal with individuality. We came into the tournament great and that will give us plenty of strength. Now we have to recover well and get ready for the next game.”

Slovakia will face Ukraine in Dusseldorf on Friday while Belgium will take on early Group E leaders Romania, 3-0 winners over Ukraine on Monday, in Cologne the following day.

Picture of Alex Hoad

Alex Hoad

Alex has more than 15 years' experience in sports journalism and has reported on multiple Olympics, World Cups and European Championships in additional to Champions League, Europa League and domestic football.