EURO 2024 Group E: Romania Top Group After Draw With Slovakia; Belgium Subdued By Ukraine

Romania Belgium EURO 2024 Group E
Romania Belgium EURO 2024 Group E

Group E of the 2024 European Championship (EURO 2024) capped off dramatically, with Romania claiming the top spot ahead of Belgium. Both teams finished with four points and had the same goal difference, but Romania scored two more goals than Belgium (5 vs 3). Slovakia and Ukraine also had four points to their name, but due to the former’s higher goal difference (0 vs -2), they finished in third place. Ukraine, heartbroken, crashed out despite amassing the same number of points as the other three teams.

Romania Top EURO 2024 Group E After 1-1 Draw With Slovakia

Romania, who bagged an impressive 3-0 victory over Ukraine on Matchday 1, needed a draw to get out of Group E. They started brightly and created their first goalscoring opportunity 11 minutes in. Right-back Andrei Ratiu charged into the area and let fly with a right-footed effort. Slovakian goalkeeper Martin Dubravka made a superb stop to keep it goalless.

Having withstood the early pressure, Slovakia struck in the 24th minute, courtesy of a superb early cross from Juraj Kucka and a brilliant headed finish from Ondrej Duda. Duda timed his jump to perfection to make contact with Kucka’s cross and direct it into the bottom-right corner of Romania’s goal.

Slovakia’s lead, however, lasted only for 13 minutes. Left-back David Hancko conceded a penalty, allowing Razvan Marin to convert from the penalty spot. The Empoli attacking midfielder dispatched a thunderous penalty, finding the top-left corner of Dubravka’s goal. Both teams created a few opportunities in the second 45 but could not get the winning goal.

Unconvincing Belgium Held By Spirited Ukraine

After a disastrous opening-day defeat (1-0) against Slovakia, Belgium found their shooting boots on Matchday 2, claiming a 2-0 victory over Romania. Due to their positive goal difference, Belgium knew that a draw against Ukraine would take them to the EURO 2024 Round of 16. However, given their talents, Belgium fully intended to take maximum points on Matchday 3.

They created their first clear-cut goalscoring opportunity in the seventh minute, with Kevin De Bruyne playing a fine through-ball for Romelu Lukaku. The Chelsea striker only had the goalkeeper to beat, but still failed to get the job done. In the 74th minute, Ukraine had a sensational chance to put their noses in front. Artem Dovbyk latched on to a long throw into the box, set himself up, and had a go at goal from a few yards out. Luckily for Belgium, Wout Faes made a superb block to deny him.

In the second minute of added time, Georgiy Sudakov went on a superb, defense-piercing run before firing at goal. Unfortunately for Ukraine, his strike was straight at Belgium’s goalkeeper Koen Casteels, allowing him to make a straightforward save. Ukraine did try to break a few more times before the final whistle, but luck did not break their way.

It ultimately ended goalless at MHPArena, sealing a runners-up finish for Belgium. As a consequence, they will face tournament favorites France in the Round of 16.

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