Amid War, Ukraine Takes a Moment for Sport

Faces Romania in Euro 2024; 'it's a great honor to represent Ukraine'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 17, 2024 9:55 AM CDT
Amid War, Ukraine Opens Its Euro 2024 Campaign
Romanian coach Edward Iordanescu is seen ahead of an international friendly soccer match between Romania and Liechtenstein in Bucharest, Romania, on June 7.   (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Ukraine, which is competing against a backdrop of the war at home against Russia, opens its European Championship soccer campaign with a match against Romania in Munich on Monday. The other teams in Group E are Belgium and Slovakia. Here's what to know, per the AP:

  • 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, then Iceland by the same score.

  • Romania impressed in qualifying, sailing through unbeaten to top a group that also contained Switzerland and Israel.
  • "It's a great honor to represent Ukraine. You know what times we are going through now, so I feel incredible responsibility for my actions, but I'm not worried about my game." —Ukraine defender Illya Zabarnyi.
  • 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.
  • "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 [field] in terms of that. So, God knows what is going to happen, but this team has huge potential." —Ukraine midfielder Oleksandr Zinchenko.
(More Euro 2024 stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.