In a nutshell: these are the two known opponents of the Red Devils at the 2024 European Championship

The Red Devils know their opponents in the group stage of the 2024 European Championship. Well, two out of three. Their profiles in a nutshell can be found in this article.


  • FIFA-ranking: 45
  • Number of European Championship participations: 3 (including European Championship 2024)
  • Best EC performance: Round of 16 (EC 2016)

Marek Hamsik is no longer with Slovakia, the former Napoli star ended his career last summer. But unlike the Romanians, the Slovaks do have a number of players at top clubs in Europe: Stanislav Lobotka (Napoli) and Milan Skriniar (PSG) stand out. Skriniar (28) has a market value of 50 million euros, is a regular in the defense at PSG and captain of the national team. The only link with Belgium is Patrik Hrosovsky, midfielder of RC Genk.

Skriniar. — © Pool via REUTERS

1-0 for Belgium

Slovakia and Belgium played each other three times in the past. Twice it ended 1-1, but in 2013 Belgium managed to win a friendly match against the Slovaks 2-1. The two countries have never played an official international match against each other.

National coach Francesco Calzona (55)

Calzone. — © REUTERS

An unknown Italian who did not have a professional career as a player and had never been a head coach at a club. But as an assistant to Maurizio Sarri and Luciano Spalletti at Napoli, among others, he did learn from top coaches. Thanks to former star player Marek Hamsik, whom he knew from Napoli, Calzona was given the opportunity to become national coach of Slovakia at the beginning of 2022.

As an independent country, Slovakia has not yet shown much on the European or world stage. In 2016 it managed to qualify for the European Championships for the first time. Then it immediately achieved its best result: the eighth finals. A big contrast with about half a century ago. As Czechoslovakia, the country managed to conquer football hearts. In 1976 it won the European Championship, four years later it came third again.

This is how Slovakia qualified

Ten games, seven wins. That is usually enough to finish in the first two of a group. Slovakia had to play past Luxembourg, Iceland, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Liechtenstein and Portugal in group J and only lost against the latter.

We mainly know Hrosovsky as a player for KRC Genk. — © BELGIUM


  • FIFA-ranking: 43
  • Number of European Championship participations: 6 (including European Championship 2024)
  • Best EC performance: quarter-finals (EC 2000)

No top players in the Romanian core, but many old acquaintances: Razvan Marin and Denis Dragus (ex-Standard), Ianis Hagi (ex-Genk) and Nicolae Stanciu (ex-Anderlecht). The latter is still the most expensive incoming transfer ever from RSCA, which paid around ten million euros for the attacking midfielder in 2016. He flopped in our country, but subsequently achieved success with Slavia Prague in the Czech Republic and is captain of the national team. Nowadays, Romania’s ‘star player’ plays in… Saudi Arabia.

Stanciu en Dragus vieren. — © REUTERS

5-4 for Belgium

Belgium and Romania have faced each other no fewer than eleven times and in nine of those matches there was a winner. The last time that both countries faced each other dates back to 2011. A friendly match in Liège ended in a 2-1 win for the Red Devils. The confrontation at the European Championships will be the first meeting in a final round of a major tournament.

Bond coach Edward Iordanescu (45)

Iordanescu. — © REUTERS

A big name in Romanian football, although the current national coach mainly owes this to his father Anghel. He is the all-time top scorer at Steaua Bucharest, won the European Cup 1 with it in the 1970s and subsequently also had a nice coaching career. Edward Iordanescu was not a great football player and quickly became a coach. In 2021 he guided Cluj to the national title in Romania. He was appointed national coach at the beginning of 2022.

Under the leadership of Gheorghe Hagi, Romania actually had its greatest European Championship success in our country. At the 2000 European Championships in Belgium and the Netherlands, they reached the quarter-finals. In five participations, the only time that Romania progressed beyond the group stage. Romania failed to qualify in 2020.

This is how Romania qualified

Just like Slovakia, Romania collected 22 points in the qualifications. However, it did result in a group win for them. In group I, the Romanians left Switzerland, Israel, Belarus, Kosovo and Andorra behind. Punishment: they didn’t lose once and only conceded five goals all campaign.

Party with the Romanians after qualifying for EURO 2024. — © AP

Israel, Iceland, Ukraine or Bosnia-Herzegovina

  • These four countries will play play-offs among themselves on March 21 and 26, 2024.
  • The winner will be the Red Devils’ third opponent.

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