Euro 2024: Ukraine preps to face Romania amid backdrop of war back home

Euro 2024: Ukraine preps to face Romania amid backdrop of war back home

Updated Jun. 16, 2024 8:16 a.m. ET

Ukraine, which is 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 (9 a.m. ET). The other teams in Group E are Belgium and Slovakia. Kickoff is at 3 p.m. local time (1300 GMT). 

Here's what to know about the match:

Match facts


— 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 semifinal 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 Iordănescu will become the first coach to lead a Romania team at a European Championship since his father Anghel in 2016.

Team news

— Ukraine left back Vitaliy Mykolenko injured his ankle in the last warmup 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 Iordănescu has all 26 of his players available.

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By the numbers

— 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 has been at least four goals in the past three matches between the sides.

What they're saying

— "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." — 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." — Romania coach Edward Iordănescu.

Reporting by The Associated Press.


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