Sunday, July 21, 2024

Ukraine open their Euro 2024 campaign against Romania


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Munich, June 16: Ukraine, competing against the backdrop of the war at home against Russia, opens its European Championship campaign with a match against Romania in Munich on Monday.
The other teams in Group E are Belgium and Slovakia. Kick-off is at 3 pm local time (1300 GMT). Here’s what to know about the match:
Ukraine is looking to back up its most successful campaign to date, having reached the quarterfinals at Euro 2020, where it was eliminated by eventual runner-up England.
Ukraine earned a reputation as comeback kings in the playoffs as a late goal saw it come from behind to beat both Bosnia-Herzegovina 2-1 in the semi-final and then Iceland by the same score.
Romania impressed in qualifying, sailing through unbeaten to top a group that also contained Switzerland and Israel.
Edward Iordanescu will become the first coach to lead a Romania team at a European Championship since his father Anghel in 2016.
Ukraine left-back Vitaliy Mykolenko injured his ankle in the last warm-up match before the tournament but coach Serhiy Rebrov is hopeful the injury is not serious. Should Mykolenko not recover in time he will likely be replaced by Oleksandr Zinchenko, who plays as left back for Arsenal but more often in midfield for the national side.
Romania coach Iordanescu has all 26 of his players available.
Romania has not reached the knockout stages in 24 years, since losing 2-0 to eventual runner-up Italy in the quarterfinals at Euro 2000.Romania surprised England at that tournament, beating it 3-2 in the group stage.
That is Romania’s only win at a European Championship, having drawn five matches and lost its other 10.
The teams have met six times before, but never at a major tournament. Romania has the slight edge with three wins to Ukraine’s two – but the last of those was more than 20 years ago.
There have been at least four goals in the past three matches between the sides.
“I mean at the moment, it’s probably one of the best teams we’ve had. It’s a good mix of young players and experienced players.
We combine well on the pitch in terms of that. So, God knows what is going to happen but this team has huge potential,” said Ukraine midfielder Oleksandr Zinchenko.
“These are unique times, wonderful times, times that every coach prepares, works and dreams for. It is a dream come true: a great story to have qualified after such a long time, and we want to make this moment last as long as possible,” said Romania coach Edward Iordanescu.
Kickoff at 6:30 am IST


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