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Belgium to bounce back? Sutton's predictions - second group games

Sutton's predictions
[BBC]

Euro 2024 has served up a few surprise scorelines already, especially in Group E.

BBC Sport football expert Chris Sutton got seven of the opening 12 group games correct, but was caught out by Slovakia's shock win over Belgium and did not see Romania beating Ukraine either.

You did not do much better, though.

Out of almost 50,000 votes, only 16% of you thought Romania would triumph and just 4% backed Slovakia, although you did pick the right result in eight games.

Can you and Chris do better next time? You can make your own predictions for the second set of group games below, including Scotland versus Switzerland and England against Denmark.

Sutton is also picking the order he thinks each of the six groups will finish in.

He is backing France to win the European Championship, believes England will lose to them in the semi-finals, and thinks Scotland will not get out of their group.

GROUP A

Sutton's pre-tournament picks: Germany (winners) and Hungary (runners-up). Switzerland to finish third, and Scotland fourth.

Germany v Hungary
[BBC]

Germany 2-0 Hungary

Match report

What a start from Germany, but it is still amazing how the mood of their fans has changed so quickly.

There was so much negativity about their prospects going into this tournament then suddenly one good win over Scotland, and they are going to win in it.

As impressive as they were, I don't see it being as simple as that, although of course it should give them confidence and get the nation believing a little bit more.

In contrast, Hungary made a disappointing start in their defeat by Switzerland. They are under pressure because they really need something from this game but I can only see another convincing Germany victory.

Sutton's prediction: 3-0

Scotland v Switzerland
[BBC]

Scotland 1-1 Switzerland

Match report

Before the Germany game, the Scotland fans made it one of the best pre-match atmospheres I have ever witnessed.

And then the game kicked off and it was such a sorry performance. Scotland were smothered completely, and were not allowed to play.

They have to do much better against Switzerland, and it will be interesting to see whether Steve Clarke puts Billy Gilmour into midfield this time. I am not sure Gilmour would have made much difference against Germany but I can understand why there are calls for him to be picked this time.

Clarke has a decision to make at the back too, with Ryan Porteous suspended. I think he's got to bring Scott McKenna in at centre-half, but he will probably go with Grant Hanley. I am not sure about Hanley, with his lack of game-time for Norwich last season, and that might be a risk too far.

I would be thinking about bringing James Forrest in, possibly at right wing-back. People might scoff at that, but he has played there before and is versatile.

Scotland's first aim has got to be to get up the pitch, something they failed to do against Germany, but it won't be easy. The Swiss have started really well and Granit Xhaka was influential for them against Hungary.

I said before the tournament that I thought Scotland have a Championship backline, and I am worried about that again here.

Sutton's prediction: 1-2

GROUP B

Sutton's pre-tournament picks: Spain (winners) and Italy (runners-up). Albania to finish third, and Croatia fourth.

Croatia v Albania
[BBC]

Croatia 2-2 Albania

Match report

Both of these teams lost their openers so this has become a big game for them.

Albania scored so early against Italy and then seemed to think 'what do we do next?'.

They did have a chance late on, but Italy should have been out of sight by then.

Croatia, meanwhile, were flat as a pancake against Spain. Their fans were brilliant, but their team were beaten by half-time and you could tell they started thinking about this game because Luka Modric and Mateo Kovacic both came off midway through the second half.

I don't think Croatia will find things easy here either, though. They will have plenty of possession, but they need to do something with it, and Albania will always be dangerous on the counter-attack.

Croatia have some quality players who can affect games but they are an aging team and they are my choice as flops for this tournament - I have picked them to finish fourth in Group B - so let's go for Albania to get something here.

Sutton's prediction: 1-1

Spain v Italy
[BBC]

Spain 1-0 Italy

Match report

This is the game of the tournament so far. I am at this one for Radio 5 Live and I am really looking forward to it.

I keep hearing loads of negativity about Spain, before and after their win over Croatia, and I don't understand why.

The game was the first in 136 competitive matches where they had less possession than their opponents, but they were extremely efficient at everything they did defensively, and carried a threat too.

You could argue the way they played is similar to what we have seen from Italy in the past, in terms of absorbing pressure and counter-attacking with devastating effect.

As for Italy, they responded really well after going behind against Albania and for all the criticism they have had, they got ahead and missed some big chances to win the game more comfortably.

Because of that it became a bit difficult and nervy for them but they held on to win - and it was only the second time they have come from a goal down to beat anyone at the Euros, since they overcame Bulgaria at Euro 2004.

So, I feel like both teams are in a pretty good place but that does not help me make a prediction, because how on earth do you call this?

I want to pick a winner... so I am going for Spain. If Italy boss Luciano Spalletti has a worry, it is about his backline... and Spain will be able to get at them.

Sutton's prediction: 2-1

GROUP C

Sutton's pre-tournament picks: England (winners) and Denmark (runners-up). Serbia to finish third, and Slovenia fourth.

Slovenia v Serbia
[BBC]

Slovenia 1-1 Serbia

Match report

Slovenia had chances against Denmark even before they scored but, because they have a point on the board already, I have a feeling they will sit back more here.

Serbia worried England in the second half, but without having anything too clear cut, and I don't see them as being particularly dangerous going forward.

I have a feeling this will end up being quite a cagey draw, which would leave both teams with everything to play for in their final games.

Sutton's prediction: 1-1

Denmark v England
[BBC]

Denmark 1-1 England

Match report

I don't agree with all the criticism I have heard following England's opening win over Serbia, and I can see this being pretty comfortable for Gareth Southgate's side.

To be honest, I am sick and tired of people whinging about what England have done so far. I am often accused of being negative, but England have started a tournament with a win and it is still supposedly not good enough.

One of the debates has been whether Southgate should stick with Trent Alexander-Arnold in midfield, and I am massively on the fence there.

You look at what his strengths are and he is a wonderful passer of a football, but then he does have deficiencies in that position, and it is down to Southgate to decide whether he is worth the risk.

If England go further into this tournament then maybe Southgate will go for a bit more stability in there, but I don't see this as the time to worry about that. This is not the Danish team of tournaments past and I don't think they will cause too many problems.

I am going for another England win, and another clean sheet - and I want to give a quick mention to Marc Guehi.

I am not saying I had doubts about him before the Serbia game because he has had a good season, but he still had to step up to play in his first game at a major tournament - and he was absolutely colossal.

Sutton's prediction: 0-2

GROUP D

Sutton's pre-tournament picks: France (winners) and Netherlands (runners-up). Austria to finish third, and Poland fourth.

Poland v Austria
[BBC]

Poland 1-3 Austria

Match report

Both these teams lost their opening games by a single goal. The Netherlands could have won more comfortably but Poland carried more of a threat on the counter-attack than I anticipated.

Robert Lewandowski should be fit to play, so they should be even more dangerous.

I did not get a proper look at how Austria did against France because I had been working at the Belgium versus Slovakia game on the same evening but, from what I’ve seen, they did OK.

They carried a threat and although Kylian Mbappe missed a golden chance, they were still in the game at the end. This is going to be close too, but this time they might be the team who nicks the win.

Sutton's prediction: 0-1

Netherlands v France
[BBC]

Netherlands 0-0 France

Match report

We are waiting to see if Kylian Mbappe plays with his broken nose. I am no medical expert - I can't be an expert at everything - but my diagnosis is that it probably comes down to how sore it is.

Patrick Vieira broke my nose once – he elbowed me off the ball at a corner when I was playing for Blackburn in 1998. I went down and when I looked up he was laughing at me while my eyes were pouring with water.

Then I tried to take retribution by going in two-footed on him, missed… and got a straight red card. As I got up, I saw the ref waving the red card at me and Emmanuel Petit pushed me over and I landed on my nose again. It was a terrible few minutes for me.

I reckon I would have been able to play with my broken nose, but not that particular day because I was sent off.

As for the game? I just cannot see past France, really.

I quite liked the way the Netherlands played against Poland, but France will still probably edge past them. It is what they do.

Sutton's prediction: 1-2

GROUP E

Sutton's pre-tournament picks: Belgium (winners) and Slovakia (runners-up). Ukraine to finish third, and Romania fourth.

Slovakia v Ukraine
[BBC]

Slovakia 1-2 Ukraine

Match report

I loved being in Cologne for Slovakia’s victory over Belgium, to see the fans inside the stadium during the game and the celebrations afterwards.

I am a big fan of Stanislav Lobotka, the little enforcer in the middle of the park. Apart from him they are a team of giants but what really stands out is how well organised they are.

According to the world rankings it was the biggest shock in Euros history, but Belgium should not be at number three on that showing. They need to have a good look at themselves.

I wondered if Slovakia could maintain their focus for 90 minutes but, in fairness, they did.

This is a different kind of test for them, because Ukraine need something after being well beaten in what I thought would be a tight affair against Romania. They really need to win this, but I don't see that happening.

Sutton's prediction: 1-1

Belgium v Romania
[BBC]

Belgium 2-0 Romania

Match report

This group has been blown wide open. I think everyone thought Belgium would be the team that finished top, but they are under pressure.

They had a couple of goals disallowed against Slovakia, and the handball was harsh, but they also wasted a load of chances. Romelu Lukaku looked like he was playing with his boots on the wrong feet.

Romania are a bit like Slovakia in that it’s joyous to see a team who surprise everyone like they have. I can’t say I know everything about Romanian football, but the quality of their goals and the way they played, means they will fancy their chances.

The Belgium backline is still vulnerable, but they have to win this game, and I think they will.

Sutton's prediction: 2-1

GROUP F

Sutton's pre-tournament picks: Portugal (winners) and Czech Republic (runners-up). Turkey to finish third, and Georgia fourth.

Georgia v Czech Republic
[BBC]

Georgia 1-1 Czech Republic

Match report

Georgia gave it a good go against Turkey but they lost.

Their aim would be to get to their final game and have something to play for, but to do that they really need something here to stay in the tournament.

The Czech Republic put everything into nicking a result against Portugal but they must surely look at this game to kickstart their campaign.

Sutton's prediction: 0-1

Turkey v Portugal
[BBC]

Turkey 0-3 Portugal

Match report

By beating Georgia in their first game, Turkey have already done better than they did at the last Euros.

With Portugal, when you look at players they’ve got, you can see they have the quality needed to go and win this tournament, or it wouldn’t be impossible anyway.

They are a bit like Belgium in that they were pretty flawless in qualifying, and have got some talented players, but they could not get things right after that.

Sutton's prediction: 0-2