UEFA Euro 2024 Preview: Top Five Sleepers & Dark Horses

UEFA Euro 2024 Preview: Top Five Sleepers & Dark Horses

This article is part of our UEFA EURO 2024 series.

The 2024 UEFA Euros could be the most competitive version of the tournament yet. With many of the largest teams in transition, there's plenty of room for dark horses to make a splash. While the giants of European football like Germany, France and Spain, among others, always loom large, the underdogs will need special performances and as seen in the last World Cup, some of them have the talent and experience to cause some shocks.

More Euro 2024 Content

Projected Lineups & Odds

Corner, Set Piece and Penalty Takers

Bracket Breakdown & Staff Predictions

Team of the Tournament & Best Starting XI

DENMARK

Denmark are a good team with plenty of talent, but they also lack an identity in 2024. Jonas Wind and Rasmus Hojlund are excellent attackers, but with their stylistic similarities, Denmark often struggle to get both involved. The experienced midfield features Christian Norgaard and Christian Eriksen, which means Mathias Jensen will often come off the bench. The path to a deep run is simple to see and hard to execute for the Danes competing with England, Slovakia and Slovenia in Group C. If they can find a formation and tactic that gets the plethora of talented options together on the pitch, it could mean another tournament in which Denmark find success.

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HUNGARY

Hungary are the picture of a dark horse with top-end talent in midfielder Dominik Szoboszlai, goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi and some under-the-radar attackers, including Roland Sallai. The group draw didn't do them any favors, though, as they will face host Germany and fellow underdogs Switzerland and Scotland, leaving a spot in the Round of 16 up for grabs. Hungary may be in a tough spot, but they went undefeated in the qualifiers and sparks of talent from any of their big names could be enough to see them make a deep run in 2024.

SWITZERLAND

The Swiss have been inconsistent throughout the qualifying cycle, though that's not a bad thing since they still qualified. The draws to Kosovo and Belarus sting, but the ability to score past anyone is a major reason Switzerland made the Round of 16 in the 2022 World Cup. They have offensive potential behind Noah Okafor, Ruben Vargas and Xherdan Shaqiri, while Granit Xhaka runs the midfield after coming off an historic Bundesliga title. They also boost one of the best goalkeeping duos between veteran Yann Sommer and Gregor Kobel, the latter making the Champions League final with Borussia Dortmund.

TURKEY

Turkey qualified for the tournament by topping a group that included World Cup sides such as Wales and Croatia. They scored the most goals in the group and earned a plus-seven goal difference in eight matches. Hakan Calhanoglu gets plenty of plaudits for his creativity in midfield and winger Kerem Akturkoglu has taken a major step forward offensively. The defense is what has been most impressive for Turkey, though. 

They conceded just seven times in eight matches in qualifiers with Ugurcan Cakir especially impressive in net, conceding only once in three starts. In single-elimination knockout competitions, the ability to hold a clean sheet can be more important than anything else. Turkey have the depth to shut down even the best attacking teams, as they did during a 1-0 win over Croatia to secure the top spot in their qualifying group, something that could come in useful if they get out of Group F.

AUSTRIA

Austria aren't a young team, but they have bags of experience and a manager who's worked at the top level for years in Ralf Rangnick. Michael Gregoritsch popped up for three goals in six qualifying matches, while Christoph Baumgartner added three more from midfield as one of the youngest in the squad. In the midfield, Austria are spoiled for choice with Marcel Sabitzer and Konrad Laimer available as more defensive options coming off excellent seasons.

The only real blemish on this Austrian team are the injuries with David Alaba, Xaver Schlager and goalkeeper Alexander Schlager all out. Still, Austria showed the ability to score at will during the qualifiers and their plethora of Champions League talent can compete with the best if they can stave off any more serious injuries.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ian Faletti
Ian Faletti has been a fan of almost all esports (and sports) his entire life. He has been writing about esports since 2012, with his work appearing on RotoWire, ESPN and other entities. Ian cheers for Fnatic, the Nationals, and the Capitals.
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