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EURO 2024: Shock in Group E as Slovakia Stuns Belgium with VAR Denying Lukaku Twice

In a dramatic Euro 2024 Group E clash, Slovakia pulled off a stunning upset against Belgium, clinching a 1-0 victory with a decisive early goal that proved to be the difference in a fiercely contested match.

The game's pivotal moment came in just the seventh minute when Schranz netted what would ultimately stand as the winning goal. Despite relentless pressure from Belgium throughout the match, Slovakia's defense, led by an outstanding performance from Dubravka, held firm against wave after wave of attacks.

Belgium, widely considered one of the tournament favorites, dominated possession and created numerous scoring opportunities. They registered an impressive 1.91 expected goals (xG), indicative of their attacking prowess. However, their efforts were repeatedly thwarted by Slovakia's resolute defense and some contentious VAR decisions that denied them crucial goals.

The most controversial incident occurred late in the game when a handball call against Openda nullified Lukaku's apparent equalizer, leaving Belgium frustrated and Slovakia with a stroke of luck that they capitalized on.

Despite their early lead, Slovakia was largely on the defensive for much of the match, relying on sporadic counterattacks and defensive solidity to maintain their narrow advantage. Haraslin and Hancko had early chances that didn't materialize into goals, but their early goal set the tone for a disciplined defensive display.

Belgium's frustration grew as they saw another goal disallowed for offside and several close chances denied by Dubravka's heroics in goal. The Slovakian goalkeeper made crucial saves to preserve their lead, frustrating Belgium's attempts to salvage a point from the match.

In the end, Slovakia's victory marks a significant upset and a memorable start to their Euro 2024 campaign, while Belgium will have to regroup and rethink their strategy moving forward in the tournament. The result sets up an intriguing dynamic in Group E, with Slovakia announcing themselves as a team capable of causing further surprises in the competition.

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