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Four teams who could be the surprise package of Euro 2024

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Each major tournament usually has a surprise package, an unfancied team who come from nowhere to upset the odds and reach the latter rounds.

Denmark’s victorious team in 1992, who only earned entry after Yugoslavia’s disqualification, and Greece’s triumphant side of 2004 are the biggest examples, while there’s been plenty of others who have captured the imagination before falling short.

Who could spring a shock this summer? We’ve picked out four teams we (cautiously) predict could surprise.

Netherlands

The Netherlands might be one of Europe’s proudest football nations but few are predicting the Oranje to challenge for the trophy this summer. Since a third-place finish at the World Cup a decade ago, the Dutch have missed out on qualification to two major tournaments and have failed to progress past the quarter-finals in those entered.

However, Ronald Koeman has the foundations to build a challenge around. Virgil van Dijk will lead the Netherlands and has returned to top form this season, while Nathan Ake and Micky van de Ven have had exceptional Premier League seasons to form solidity around the captain.

𝐎𝐔𝐑 #EURO2024 𝐒𝐐𝐔𝐀𝐃! 🇳🇱🦁

Together, we can #CreateHistory! 🧡#NothingLikeOranje pic.twitter.com/xJGnylTGoD

— OnsOranje (@OnsOranje) May 29, 2024

Jeremie Frimpong and Xavi Simons have been electric in the Bundesliga and offer threat from wide areas, while in Teun Koopmeiners and Frenkie de Jong the Dutch boast two midfielders of real quality. The lack of an elite forward and goalkeeper place question marks against their credentials and a tough group kickstarts the tournament for the Dutch, but there’s potential for success in Germany this summer.

It’s been 36 years since their last triumph.

Denmark

Denmark will compete in successive European Championships for the first time in two decades, having reached the semi-final at Euro 2020.

A group stage exit at the World Cup in Qatar was disappointing but a comfortable qualification campaign for this tournament, including a 100% record on home soil, has lifted the optimism.

The emergence of Rasmus Hojlund has added an x-factor to a team with a solid spine, dependable centre-backs, and experience in midfield. Hojlund scored seven goals in qualification and although the Manchester United forward remains raw, he has the athleticism and work rate to trouble top defences.

Denmark star Rasmus Højlund joins @ManUtd 🔏

He’s currently joint top scorer in EURO qualifying ⚽ 🇩🇰#EURO2024 @dbulandshold pic.twitter.com/NJZ3kXGo49

— UEFA EURO 2024 (@EURO2024) August 5, 2023

Turkey

Look, we’ve been down this road before. Turkey were tipped as potential dark horses ahead of Euro 2020 before proceeding to lose all three games and crash out with a whimper.

Failure to qualify for the following World Cup is hardly ‘dark horse’ form but Turkey’s qualification campaign was impressive, topping a group containing Croatia, and Vincenzo Montella’s side arrive in Germany with a squad with confidence.

Hakan Çalhanoğlu will captain the side and has been one of Serie A’s standout players this season, scoring 13 goals during Inter Milan’s title success. Orkun Kökçü ended the season strongly at Benfica, as did Real Madrid teenager Arda Güler, one of the young talents to keep an eye on this summer.

Calhanoglu, best Serie A midfielder in 2023/24! pic.twitter.com/Ypl22JalPe

— F.C. InterData (@Fcinterdata) May 24, 2024

With scalps of Croatia and Germany in the last 12 months, Turkey have talent.

Ukraine

Given events at home, Ukraine can count on the neutral’s support this summer. Serhiy Rebrov’s side beat Bosnia and Iceland in play-offs to reach the tournament, after finishing behind England and Italy in qualification.

Heorhiy Sudakov and Mykhailo Mudryk are the bright young talents in the team, though it’s Girona duo Viktor Tsyhankov and Artem Dovbyk who could be the difference. The former was directly involved in 15 league goals (7G and 8A), while Dovbyk ended the season as La Liga’s leading scorer with 24 goals.

Artem Dovbyk is a🔝 goalscorer in @LaLiga 🥳🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/428wcXa5eh

— Ukrainian Association of Football (@uafukraine) May 26, 2024

Dovbyk became the first Ukrainian since Andriy Shevchenko to end a campaign as top scorer in one of Europe’s top five leagues and the first of his countrymen to win the Pichichi Trophy in Spain. He will want to take that form into Euro 2024.

Read – Euro 2000 – Zidane’s zenith as France reign supreme

Read more – Iconic Performances: Monstrous Arshavin leaves the Dutch reeling at Euro 2008

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