First group stage round of UEFA Euro 2024 completed

The first group stage round of UEFA European Championship 2024 was completed yesterday, and we take a closer look at how the major teams, which are favourites in this tournament, performed, as well as any surprises and the goal scorers we saw.

Florian Wirtz, Germany
Florian Wirtz - first scorer in the Euro 2024

How did the Euro favourites perform?

One of the major favourites, the host nation Germany, was first up as they faced Scotland in the opening match. As expected, Germany was highly charged and secured the biggest win of the round with a 5-1 victory. The Germans went full throttle with Florian Wirtz scoring the tournament's first goal after 10 minutes. Jamal Musiala made it 2-0 by the 19th minute, and by halftime, they had extended their lead to 3-0. The second half was a cruise towards the end, with the only conceded goal being an own goal by Antonio Rüdiger. A perfect start for the host nation, making them the most impressive team of the round.

On Saturday, Spain had a tough opening match against Croatia, but despite the uncertainty beforehand, the Spaniards secured a comfortable 3-0 win. The scoreline might have been a bit flattering, but it was an impressive victory, positioning Spain as a serious contender going forward.

The reigning champions, Italy, faced Albania and got a shocking start when Albania's Nedim Bajrami scored just 22 seconds in, marking the fastest goal in Euro history. However, the Italians quickly recovered, with defender Alessandro Bastoni equalizing in the 11th minute and Nicolò Barella putting them ahead in the 16th minute. The score remained 2-1, giving Italy a win in their first match.

The Netherlands played their first match against Poland, winning 2-1 after a tying goal by Cody Gakpo and a winning goal by substitute Wout Weghorst in the 83rd minute. Although the winning goal came late, the Dutch appeared much stronger than the Polish team, marking a good start for the Netherlands.

The last match on Sunday was between Serbia and one of the tournament's big favourites, England. Serbia, being a talented and tough team to play against, posed a challenging opening match for England, and England had to fight hard for their 1-0 victory, with the goal scored by Jude Bellingham. England did not really impress and will need to improve if they are to win the tournament.

Belgium had a very easy opening match against one of the tournament's weakest teams, Slovakia. However, Slovakia shocked Belgium with a fine 1-0 goal by Ivan Schranz in the seventh minute. Slovakia defended well after their goal, and Belgium struggled to break down their defense. With no further goals, Slovakia won the match. There was drama, though, as Romelu Lukaku scored twice, both goals being narrowly disallowed by VAR. It was a weak opening match for Belgium, who need to step up to advance from the group.

The biggest favourite along with England is France and they faced the tough-to-beat Austria on Monday evening. As expected, it was a challenging match for the French. They won 1-0 after an own goal by Austria's Maximilian Wöber, who deflected a cross from Kylian Mbappé into his own net. Mbappé broke his nose after a tough duel towards the end of the match. It's uncertain if he can play again during the group stage, though his tournament is likely not over yet. France didn't impress but didn't play poorly either.

The last of the major teams and another one of the tournament favourites, Portugal, played their first match yesterday against the Czech Republic. The expected easy win took a long time to achieve, but Portugal did win 2-1 after a winning goal by substitute Francisco Conceição in the 92nd minute. The Czech Republic took the lead in the 62nd minute through Lukas Provod and seemed poised for an upset but eventually conceded. Portugal didn't get their feared offense working and were hardly satisfied with their opening match, despite the win.

Surprises and Other Matches

There weren't many major surprises, the only real upset being Slovakia's win over Belgium.

Romania was expected to lose to Ukraine but won fairly easily with 3-0. Romania defended very well against Ukraine's well-known offense and showed impressive efficiency. In the Euro qualifiers, Romania went unbeaten in ten matches, and although they have few well-known players outside of Romania, they play really well as a team and have given themselves a good chance to advance from the group.

Denmark was favoured against Slovenia but managed only a 1-1 draw despite dominating most of the match. This wasn't a big surprise, though, as the Danes look less interesting as a team than they often do at the start of tournaments.

Hungary versus Switzerland was uncertain beforehand, but the Swiss proved to be the better team, winning 3-1. Whether the Hungarians are a bit overrated or if Switzerland has something good going on remains to be seen.

The most entertaining match of the round was between Turkey and Georgia. In a rainy match, we saw a lively offense from both teams with many chances, and this match featured the two best goals of the round. First, Mert Müldür scored a beautiful volley to make it 1-0, and then Real Madrid's Turkish prodigy Arda Güler curled in a shot from outside the box into the top corner to make it 2-1. Güler's goal also broke an old record previously held by Cristiano Ronaldo as the youngest Euro debutant to score. He was 19 years and 114 days old when he scored, 14 days younger than Ronaldo was when he scored his first Euro goal.

Top Scorers in the First Round

After the first round, we have only single-goal scorers, with no player managing to score more than once. We saw a total of 29 different goal scorers and three own goals. In terms of VAR, five goals were disallowed after reviews, including both of Lukaku's goals for Belgium in their loss to Slovakia.

Here are all 29 goal scorers from round one of Euro 2024

Andrea Sugler has followed football his whole life and above all the Swedish national team. As Andrea lives in Stockholm, she sees most of the international matches on site, but has also been to most of the European Championships and World Cups in recent years when Sweden has participated, the first time already back in 1992 during the European Championship in Sweden. Andrea also likes to write about football and games, sometimes with successful results.