The end of the Euro 2024 group stage is already here.

That’s 36 games down and only 15 left before one national team is crowned champion of Europe.

The level of competition has been so high that it has been difficult to rise above and stand out – just ask England after being hamstrung by Serbia, Denmark and Slovenia.

France haven’t been fully at the races since Kylian Mbappe broke his nose, while defending champions Italy only ended up scraping through the group stage.

Here, 90min ranks the five best sides of the opening round.

Slovakia v Romania: Group E - UEFA EURO 2024Slovakia v Romania: Group E - UEFA EURO 2024

Romania are group winners / Sebastian Frej/MB Media/GettyImages

Record: Pld 3, W1, D1, L1, GF4, GA3

Romania may have only accumulated four points in the group stage, but the fact of the matter is this is a nation that exited Euro 2008 and Euro 2016 without a win and they are now into the knockout rounds of a major tournament for the first time in 24 years.

Top of the group is no mean feat, especially when not expected.

Giorgi Kochorashvili, Guram KashiaGiorgi Kochorashvili, Guram Kashia

Nobody backed Georgia / Catherine Ivill – AMA/GettyImages

Record: Pld 3, W1, D1, L1, GF4, GA4

Georgia had never qualified for a major international before 2024. As the 74th-ranked team in the world, nobody would have batted an eyelid had they been sent packing with three defeats. And, yet, they took the lead against Czech Republic and then put in a masterful performance against Portugal to beat the 2016 champions and progress.

It’s all about expectation and they have defied it massively.

Ralf Rangnick, David AlabaRalf Rangnick, David Alaba

Ralf Rangnick is doing something special with Austria / Alex Livesey/GettyImages

Record: Pld 3, W2, D0, L1, GF6, GA4

Austria finished top of the group that included France.

Ralf Rangnick has put his stamp all over this team, playing without star man David Alaba due to injury, and is getting the kind of response that Manchester United fans could have only dreamed of following his disastrous spell in charge at Old Trafford in 2022.

With a favourable knockout bracket ahead of them, starting with a last 16 tie against Turkey, this incredibly well-drilled unit could go far.

Ilkay Guendogan, Robert Andrich, Maximilian Mittelstaedt, Toni Kroos, Joshua Kimmich, Manuel Neuer, Antonio Ruediger, Florian Wirtz, Kai Havertz, Jonathan Tah, Jamal MusialaIlkay Guendogan, Robert Andrich, Maximilian Mittelstaedt, Toni Kroos, Joshua Kimmich, Manuel Neuer, Antonio Ruediger, Florian Wirtz, Kai Havertz, Jonathan Tah, Jamal Musiala

Germany have rebounded to good effect / Stu Forster/GettyImages

Record: Pld 3, W2, D1, L0, GF8, GA2

Germany needed to do something this summer. They were unfathomably knocked out of both the 2018 and 2022 World Cups at the group stage and just about limped to the last 16 at Euro 2020 in between.

Thankfully, for the home fans, they look to be back. Jamal Musiala has been pulling the strings for Julian Nagelsmann’s team, who possess world class quality in the starting lineup and impact subs off the bench.

Their determination to avoid defeat against Switzerland and stay top of the group ironically gave them the tougher side of the knockout bracket.

Alvaro MorataAlvaro Morata

Spain have set the standard so far / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

Record: Pld 3, W3, D0, L0, GF5, GA0

Semi-finalists three years ago, sure. But they did that by winning just two of six games. So, after three poor World Cups since 2010, it feels like a while since there has been a properly decent Spain team.

It’s not a vintage squad in terms of being laden with Real Madrid and Barcelona stars, but coach Luis de la Fuente has his players all singing from the same song sheet and they were the only team to record three wins.

With Italy and Croatia, it was a pretty challenging group as well.


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