Euro 2024: Our ranking of all the games in Germany this summer – Football News

Euro 2024: Our ranking of all the games in Germany this summer

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You’ll see plenty of top 10 lists during this European Championship but how about a top 51?

Starting today, The Athletic is ranking every game in the competition and we’ll be updating this piece each day. With the group stage complete, and two last-16 matches done and dusted, there is already plenty (38) to choose from.

Let’s dive in…

It will be hard to top this game for a number of reasons. The atmosphere at the Westfalenstadion was electric, two thunderous strikes from Mert Muldur and Arda Guler twice gave Turkey the lead after Golden Boot candidate Georges Mikautadze had equalised in between. Georgia then came close to making it 2-2 in the 95th minute of the game when Khvicha Kvaratskhelia’s free kick hit the post.

Then on a late corner kick, which saw Georgia’s goalkeeper, Giorgi Mamardashvili go up, Turkey countered through Kerem Akturkoglu, who scored into an empty net to make it 3-1.

Sheer, unadulterated, raucous tournament fun.

Chances at both ends, goals, a late winner and an outsider winning the group — this match had it all.

Austria’s narrow front four cut through Ronald Koeman’s team in the first half, and their pressing halted the Netherlands’ attacks. However, the Netherlands still had two dangerous chances on the transition.

A four-goal thriller of a second half then swung the scoreline from one side to the other as teams in Group D exchanged positions according to events in the France vs Poland match. The Netherlands slightly improved on the ball after Koeman altered Lutsharel Geertruida’s position in possession, but Romano Schmid put Austria in the lead again after Cody Gakpo’s equaliser.

After that, Wout Weghorst’s introduction offered an aerial outlet to the Netherlands and his link-up play helped the team progress the ball. As customary, the 6ft6in (197cm) centre-forward headed down Gakpo’s cross for Memphis Depay to make it 2-2, before the game took another turn.

In the 80th minute, Marcel Sabitzer ran behind the Dutch defence and curled the ball in at the near post to put Austria in first place.

Definitely worth a rewatch.

No 3
Group F, Georgia 2-0 Portugal

A match between arguably the strongest squad at the competition and the tournament’s real underdogs, who snuck in through the back door via the UEFA Nations League C. Surely a foregone conclusion — but no!

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia opened the scoring on the break in the second minute, and while Portugal inevitably dominated and Georgia relied on Mamardashvili for a couple of world-class saves, the underdogs constantly broke at speed, scored a second from the spot, and secured a deserved victory.

It was the biggest upset of the group stage, and arguably the biggest in the tournament’s history.


After losing their first matches against Spain and Italy, Croatia and Albania desperately needed a win to increase their chances of qualifying for the round of 16.

Jasir Asani’s left-footed cross found Qazim Laci’s run into the penalty area to give Sylvinho’s side the lead, and they held firm until Zlatko Dalic’s half-time substitutions changed the course of the game.

The introduction of Mario Pasalic and Luka Sucic instead of Marcelo Brozovic and Lovro Majer provided Croatia with another aerial threat in Pasalic as Luka Modric dropped deeper in midfield next to Mateo Kovacic, keeping Sucic as the player between the lines.

Dalic’s third change enabled Croatia to take the lead as Ante Budimir assisted Andrej Kramaric for the equaliser and was integral to Klaus Gjasula’s own goal two minutes later. The drama didn’t end here though as Arber Hoxha’s arrival from the bench empowered Albania’s left wing, allowing them to equalise with a low cross finding its way to Gjasula.

A substitute scoring an own goal then correcting his mistake in the 95th minute. What more do you want?

(Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

No 5
Group B, Spain 1-0 Italy

Often, the highest-ranking games are those end-to-end ones, but Spain’s performance in their 1-0 victory against Italy was a different type of enjoyment.

Their electric wingers kept everyone on the edge of their seats and their pressing smothered the holders throughout but the game was in play for the whole 90 minutes because of a string of impressive saves from Gianluigi Donnarumma.


Italy weren’t able to string multiple passes as they did in the first match against Albania, and Nico Williams tormented Giovanni Di Lorenzo down the left wing as his team-mates offered him multiple crossing options because of their smart movement inside the penalty area.

A brilliant performance.

(Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

An unexpected result that started with Jeremy Doku gifting the ball to Ivan Schranz, who scored the only goal of the game. Belgium found Kevin De Bruyne between the lines in the first half, but there was a lack of end product from Doku, Romelu Lukaku and Leandro Trossard.

Slovakia’s midfield three of Stanislav Lobotka, Juraj Kucka and Ondrej Duda illustrated their experience by controlling the midfield and aiding the passing combinations out wide.

In the second half, Slovakia dropped deeper and if not for Martin Dubravka’s saves, VAR overturning two Lukaku goals and David Hancko’s goal-line clearance, Belgium would have clinched at least a draw.

(Stu Forster/Getty Images)

A balanced game with Slovenia’s organisation without the ball and threat on attacking transitions from one side, and Serbia’s crosses from open play and set-piece prowess on the other.

Slovenia’s counter-attacks cut through Serbia and led to Zan Karnicnik’s goal in the 69th minute after the right-back won the ball in his own half and then sprinted forward to connect with Timi Elsnik’s cross at the back post.

Jan Oblak’s saves and many blocks and clearances from Slovenia’s defensive line nearly handed them the victory, but Luka Jovic’s header from a corner was a fitting ending to the game after Serbia had multiple chances to score from set pieces.

This was the Mamardashvili show, with Georgia’s goalkeeper performing superbly to deny the Czech Republic.

The Czechs were the better side throughout, with Georgia’s defence unable to stop their throw-ins, corners and crosses from wide areas. A penalty awarded to Georgia towards the end of the first half put them in an undeserved lead but they dropped back again into a deep defensive shape in the second half and focused on hitting the Czechs on the counter.

It took an hour of pressure for the Czech Republic to finally get past Mamardashvili when Patrik Schick followed Ondrej Lingr’s header at the back post to score from a corner.

Ivan Hasek’s team sustained their attacking pressure but nearly lost it on the last attack of the game when Georgia hit them on the counter through Giorgi Chakvetadze, who set up Saba Lobjanidze to score the winner only for him to miss the target.

Third-round group matches are always tricky because qualified teams invariably rest players for the upcoming fixtures. However, Julian Nagelsmann stuck with his stars as Germany wanted to secure first place in Group A.

But against an organised Switzerland team that showed tactical nous in their 3-1 victory against Hungary, Germany didn’t have the easiest of encounters — struggling to break down Murat Yakin’s side in the first half. Switzerland’s effective pressing made things worse and Dan Ndoye scored from an attacking transition.

A win would have resulted in Switzerland topping the group, with Manuel Akanji and Fabian Schar putting their bodies in front of every ball in the penalty area to ensure that could happen. Eventually, they cracked under the host’s pressure when David Raum found Niclas Fullkrug’s header in stoppage time to put Germany back into first place — but only just.

This game had no right to be as entertaining as it turned out.

(Christina Pahnke – sampics/Getty Images)

No 10
Group E, Belgium 2-0 Romania

Domenico Tedesco’s changes after the 1-0 defeat to Slovakia proved fruitful as an improved Belgium team blew past Romania. Combinations down the right side between Youri Tielemans, Timothy Castagne and Dodi Lukebakio cut through their opponents with ease.

Meanwhile, the threat of Doku and Lukaku on the counter gave the impression that the game was being played on fast forward. All that plus De Bruyne threading passes from a No 10 position.

This was Belgium at their finest, and Romania raised the level of their game in the second half to try to equalise. Despite playing through Tedesco’s team on a couple of occasions, De Bruyne crowned a fine performance with a goal in the 80th minute to seal the three points.

No 11
Group B, Croatia 1-1 Italy

In high-stakes games in the group stage, the standings can affect how teams play.

Luciano Spalletti’s switch to a back five out of possession made sense tactically — it countered Croatia’s attacking style of a narrow front three and full-backs pushing forward — as Italy only needed a point to qualify.

Their defensive organisation in the first half neutralised Croatia, and it was looking like a bottom-half ranking for this match. But a Donnarumma penalty save from Modric before the Real Madrid midfielder scored (what was looking likely to be Croatia’s winner) changed the atmosphere.

Italy switched to an all-out attack in search of the equaliser. Their chances mainly came from set pieces, and it wasn’t until the 98th minute that substitute Mattia Zaccagni curled the ball into the top corner to score a goal that ultimately kept the Euro 2020 winners in this year’s competition.

(Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

No 12
Round of 16, Germany 2-0 Denmark

This fixture will be remembered by the thunderstorm delay, but the events on the pitch were enjoyable too.

In a quick start to the game, Germany’s threat from corner kicks forced Kasper Schmeichel to make one save after another until Denmark’s pressing and organisation without the ball improved after the 20th minute.

Denmark’s attacking chances mainly came from wide areas and on the transitions after they won the ball in midfield. Rasmus Hojlund came close to scoring twice from these situations, but he missed the target on the first chance before Manuel Neuer stopped him towards the end of the first half.

The early events of the second half was full of drama as Joachim Andersen gave Denmark the lead in the 48th minute, but his goal was ruled out by VAR before it gave a penalty kick against him a few minutes later.

Kai Havertz scored from the spot and Jamal Musiala doubled the scoreline 15 minutes later to put Germany through to the quarter-finals.

No 13
Round of 16, Switzerland 2-0 Italy

Usually matches which are kind of over by the first half are ranked towards the bottom of this list, but Switzerland’s brilliant 45-minute display against Italy was out of this world.

Yakin’s team were flexible on the ball with rotations and movements in the final third allowing Switzerland to play through Italy on multiple occasions. Out of possession, the pressing smothered Spalletti’s team and when Italy progressed with the ball the back three of Ricardo Rodriguez, Schar and Akanji defended their penalty area.

Italy’s only chance fell to Gianluca Scamacca in the 74th minute, but by then Switzerland were two goals ahead. First a neat passing combination found Remo Freuler’s run in the box for the first goal, then Ruben Vargas curled the second into the far corner.

A top-tier performance from a well-coached team.

(RONNY HARTMANN/AFP via Getty Images)

No 14
Group A, Hungary 1-3 Switzerland

Yakin’s tactical surprise of playing Michel Aebischer in a dual role — a left wing-back out of possession and a midfielder in possession — stunned Hungary in the first half and through this tweak they scored twice. Aebischer assisted Kwadwo Duah for the opener, and the Bologna midfielder scored the second with a curled effort from outside the penalty area.

A two-goal lead allowed Switzerland to drop deeper, but Hungary’s left-sided threat with Dominik Szoboszlai and Roland Sallai overloading the same wing brought them back into the game.

They chased an equaliser but sloppy passing and errors on the ball from Hungary’s defence kept providing Switzerland with chances to score, and in the final minutes Willi Orban’s peculiar header put Breel Embolo in a position to make it 3-1.

No 15
Group D, Poland 1-2 Netherlands

The Netherlands showed their strength in wide areas with Denzel Dumfries overlapping down the right wing and Gakpo on the left, with the pair finding each other towards the back post but unable to translate the chances into goals.

It took a deflected shot from Gakpo for Koeman’s side to make it 1-1 after Poland had opened the scoring through Adam Buksa. The Dutch focus on attacking from wide areas continued in the second half, and it was Nathan Ake’s narrow positioning that allowed him to find Weghorst inside the penalty area before the big striker scored the winner.

That strike was Weghorst’s first touch of the ball after coming on two minutes earlier. It doesn’t get much more international tournament-y than that.

(Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

No 16
Group D, Poland 1-3 Austria

Another Poland game high in the list — but once again, it’s because of their opponent’s performance.

If Austria wanted to have any chance of qualifying to the round of 16 they had to beat Poland in their second group game. As usual, the Red Bull-inspired players cranked up the intensity and won nearly every ball in their sights before hitting Poland on the transition.

Poland’s second goal from a corner kick in the tournament cancelled out Gernot Trauner’s header in the first half before Ralf Rangnick’s team scored two trademark goals with out-to-in passes to find Christoph Baumgartner between the lines, and a direct ball to Marko Arnautovic with Sabitzer collecting the flick-on to win a penalty kick.

High-octane football from the Austrians, just as everyone predicted.

No 17
Group E, Romania 3-0 Ukraine

Long-range strikes, bodies on the lines in the penalty box, electric counter-attacks, and only the bar preventing Romania from scoring an olimpico goal.


Nicolae Stanciu came close to scoring directly from a corner kick after curling a shot into the top corner nine minutes earlier. Ukraine couldn’t break down Romania’s defensive block and kept conceding chances on the transitions. Two more goals from Razvan Marin and Denis Dragus made it 3-0.

Had the whole game been more like the key moments from this game, then it would have ranked higher.

(Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

No 18
Group A, Germany 2-0 Hungary

It’s easy to judge this game in hindsight, but without Neuer’s saves in the first half, the story could have been very different.

Hungary’s attacking transitions caused genuine problems for Germany’s defence in the first half, and Neuer had to be at his best to protect his goal. On the other hand, the movement of Germany’s front four allowed them to play through Hungary’s defence.

Nagelsmann’s team limited Hungary’s counter-attacks in the second half with Robert Andrich, Jonathan Tah and Antonio Rudiger all coming out on top in their duels, as Germany doubled their lead through Ilkay Gundogan.

No 19
Group E, Slovakia 1-2 Ukraine

Slovakia’s initial 30 minutes against Ukraine put them on the path to the round of 16. Lukas Haraslin dominated the left wing, and a smart throw-in featuring him and left-back Hancko made it 1-0 with Schranz scoring at the back post.

Slovakia’s elder statesmen in midfield controlled the game until Ukraine played direct balls into their wingers — Andriy Yarmolenko and Mykhailo Mudryk — in the second part of the first half.

The wide areas were where Ukraine focused their attacks, and Oleksandr Zinchenko’s square pass to Mykola Shaparenko made it 1-1 in the second half. Shaparenko then found Roman Yaremchuk’s run behind the defence and the striker elegantly controlled the ball, before putting it in the back of the net.

No 20
Group C, Slovenia 1-1 Denmark

Christian Eriksen as a free-roaming No 10 felt like a throwback, and it’s a shame that his combinations with Hojlund and Jonas Wind only resulted in one goal in this game.

Denmark’s set pieces continued to shine with a goal from a throw-in, where Wind backheeled the ball into the path of Eriksen for the Manchester United midfielder to slot the ball into the far corner.

Benjamin Sesko’s runs in behind Denmark’s defence didn’t allow Kasper Hjulmand’s team to rest, but it was Erik Janza’s deflected shot that earned Slovenia the point.

(Carl Recine/Getty Images)

No 21
Group F, Czech Republic 1-2 Turkey

This was predicted to be an exciting game, with the Czech Republic needing a win to have any chance of qualification and Turkey looking for a minimum of a draw to reach the round of 16. The fun began early as both teams went for it, but Antonin Barak’s two yellow cards forced his side to drop deeper and wait for their opportunity.

Turkey couldn’t open them up in the first half, but Baris Yilmaz’s threat down the right wing in the second eventually led to the opener.

With nothing to lose, the Czech Republic pushed forward and it was fitting that their goal — via Tomas Soucek — came from a throw-in. Georgia’s 2-0 lead against Portugal in the group’s other game gave the Czechs no option but to go for the win. This though left space in behind and allowed Turkey to hit them on the counter.

If cards being shown is your thing, then perhaps this game should rank a little higher in our list…

No 22
Group A, Scotland 0-1 Hungary

This was a very slow, drab game of football… until it suddenly wasn’t.

If you were judging this game on the first 90 minutes, you would rank it somewhere near the bottom five. Scotland needed to win, but with the potential that a point might have been enough to sneak through via third-placed rankings, they certainly could not afford to lose.

That indecision was shown in their quality on the ball, playing risk-averse football with plenty of backwards and sideways passes against a stubborn Hungary defensive block. Knowing they also needed a result, Hungary bided their time before the game opened up during 10 minutes of stoppage time (awarded due to the serious injury to Hungary’s Barnabas Varga).

A chaotic sequence of play saw Hungary go from defending a corner to Kevin Csoboth scoring a counter-attack goal to send Hungary through in the closing stages.


Those 10 minutes made the previous 90 worth watching.

No 23
Group F, Portugal 2-1 Czech Republic

If there are suggestions that this game should have been ranked lower, we won’t be surprised.

Portugal needed more final-third presence against the Czech Republic and the overall narrative would have been different if not for Francisco Conceicao’s stoppage-time winner — the reason why this game features relatively highly on our list.

Ruben Dias’ overlapping runs from wide centre-back were interesting, fun to watch and effective. However, the attention-grabbing player in this match had to be Vitinha, who put on another brilliant display in the 3-0 victory against Turkey.

(Gabriel Bouys/AFP via Getty Images)

No 24
Group B, Spain 3-0 Croatia

This would have been a more entertaining game if Croatia hadn’t made three mistakes that Spain capitalised on.

Spain’s organisation without the ball meant that Croatia had opportunities to play through them, but Dalic’s side didn’t use those chances correctly. The real sucker here is that despite an eventful first half, the intensity dropped in the second even with Croatia winning a penalty that Unai Simon managed to save.

Forty-five minutes wasted.

No 25
Group B, Italy 2-1 Albania

A similar theme to Spain vs Croatia in another game in Group B.

Albania scored the earliest goal in European Championship history before Italy’s masterful display pinned them back for the rest of the half. Nicolo Barella and Alessandro Bastoni replied quickly to put Spalletti’s side in front, and Italy should have scored more by half-time.

Had Rey Manaj scored Albania’s chance in the 90th minute, this match would have been significantly more memorable.

No 26
Group A, Germany 5-1 Scotland

An exemplary performance from the host nation in the opening game of the tournament, but it was so good that they only needed one half to finish the game.

The complementary movement of Gundogan, Havertz, Florian Wirtz and Musiala tore Scotland’s defence apart with runs in behind and No 10s popping between the lines. A red card to Ryan Porteous before Havertz scored the third from the ensuing penalty kick technically ended the game.

No 27
Group A, Scotland 1-1 Switzerland

This certainly wasn’t the highest quality of football played at this tournament, despite the tension towards the end with both sides having opportunities on set plays.

Scott McTominay put Scotland in front from a counter-attack, but Tony Ralston’s mistake allowed Xherdan Shaqiri to level the game 13 minutes later.

(Ozan Kose/AFP via Getty Images)

No 28
Group F, Turkey 0-3 Portugal

Portugal’s off-ball runs had caused problems for Turkey since the beginning of the game, and Vitinha’s in particular was crucial in Bernardo Silva’s opening goal. However, Samet Akaydin and Altay Bayindir’s mishap on the second goal decreased Turkey’s probability of a comeback.

More off-ball runs in the second half led to the third, and by then the match was done and dusted. Nothing dramatic, apart from that peculiar own goal.

No 29
Group D, France 1-1 Poland

This had all the makings of a complete waste of time, with France already through and Poland already eliminated — the only time at Euro 2024 that a team played their third group game knowing they were definitely out.

But France were entertaining because they kept creating and then missing chances. Poland rallied and got an equaliser to ruin France’s dreams of finishing top, which prompted Didier Deschamps’ side to file forward in the hope of a winner which would have put them on the easier half of the draw.

It wasn’t a cracker — but it surprisingly wasn’t a borefest either.


No 30
Group C, Denmark 0-0 Serbia

This was a game of football. That is the main conclusion to draw.

In truth, all games in Group C lacked the same entertainment value that we saw elsewhere, with just seven goals scored in the six games — the fewest of any group in the tournament the joint-fewest in a European Championship group ever.

Denmark edged this one, and there were some half chances — Danish wing-back Alexander Bah should have done better with an early header in particular — but overall this was a game that lacked real cutting edge in both boxes. Stick it on the pile and move on.

No 31
Group E, Ukraine 0-0 Belgium

Up until the 70th minute, this match was competing with some of the England games for the most boring in the group stage.

Belgium were unable to break down Ukraine’s 5-3-2 and it felt like De Bruyne was carrying his team, but couldn’t do everything himself. On the other hand, Ukraine had opportunities when they played through Belgium’s midfield and found Georgiy Sudakov between the lines.

The game inevitably opened up in the second half when the 1-1 scoreline in the other Group E game (Romania and Slovakia) meant that Ukraine needed to win to qualify for the round of 16. Attacking bigger spaces, Tedesco’s side had chances on the transition, but their final action failed them once again.

A 0-0 deserving of its ranking, but Ruslan Malinovskyi was inches from scoring directly from a corner kick.

Oh, what could have been…

(Carl Recine/Getty Images)

No 32
Group E, Slovakia 1-1 Romania

This can happen in major tournaments, where both sides enter the game knowing that a draw would take them both through into the knockout stage. A draw is what we got, but it was not necessarily a lacklustre affair as the first 25 minutes saw 11 shots from both sides.


Slovakia are a well-coached side with Francesco Calzona in the dugout, frequently putting together some impressive passing sequences. They took the lead but were pegged back by a Romanian penalty, fiercely struck in the top corner by Razvan Marin. Under the heavy rain, this game was surprisingly more entertaining than expected.

No 33
Group D, Netherlands 0-0 France

The expectations for this game were high, but during parts of the match, it felt like the scoreline suited both teams because they already knew the result of the other match.

A dull first half was followed by a much more entertaining second with France’s right side providing their main attacking threat. In the absence of Kylian Mbappe on the left, Ousmane Dembele and Jules Kounde interchanged positions on the other flank to create multiple chances for Deschamps’ team.

It wasn’t that boring really, but it was Netherlands vs France. It should have been better.

No 34
Group C, Denmark 1-1 England

In a similar theme to their 1-0 victory against Serbia, England scored early and then bunkered in their own half after failing to press Denmark’s build-up. The movement of Wind and Eriksen manipulated England’s midfield, which allowed Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Morten Hjulmand to play through Gareth Southgate’s block.

Marc Guehi’s defensive efforts halted Denmark’s threat for the remainder of the half, and in the second period England focused on finding Bukayo Saka — but to no avail.

(Alex Grimm/Getty Images)

No 35
Group D, Austria 0-1 France

If you want to know what happens when a defensively organised side plays a team that excels without the ball rather than with it, then this is your answer.

Oh, add in a winning game state for the defensively organised team after Maximilian Wober accidentally put the ball into his own net and things couldn’t get any slower. Even the potential attacking transitions for Austria were stopped by the sublime N’Golo Kante.

A positive defensive performance from France, but not a match that many will rewatch.

No 36
Group B, Albania 0-1 Spain

Luis de la Fuente’s decision to change almost his entire starting XI meant this game didn’t feel like a major clash, but it was still enlivened by a starring performance from Dani Olmo, who created the only goal for Ferran Torres. Spain still looked slick (even in an unusual shade of yellow) and Albania gave it a go in the first and last 10 minutes, but all attention was rightly on the other group game.

(Marvin Ibo Guengoer – GES Sportfoto/Getty Images)

No 37
Group C, Serbia 0-1 England

There was total of 0.7 xG in this entire game.

Let’s never talk about it again.

No 38
Group C, England 0-0 Slovenia

If you aren’t English or Slovenian but you watched this match in full, you need to see a doctor.

Additional contributions from Mark Carey and Michael Cox

(Header photo: Michael Regan – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

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