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Ukraine leaves Euro 2024 after a goalless draw with Belgium and the four teams in Group E finish with four points

Thomas Kienzle/AFP/Getty Images

Illia Zabarnyi (No. 13) jumps to head the ball during the Euro 2024 Group E soccer match between Ukraine and Belgium at the Stuttgart Arena in Stuttgart on June 26, 2024.



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Belgium narrowly advanced to the round of 16 of Euro 2024 after drawing 0-0 with Ukraine, qualifying second behind Romania in a tight Group E that finished with all four teams on four points.

Romania’s 1-1 draw with Slovakia was enough for both teams to reach the round of 16, with the Slovaks qualifying as one of the four best third-placed teams.

It was a heartbreaking end to the tournament for Ukraine, which exits Euro 2024 after finishing last in the group, despite scoring more points than some of the teams that qualified third from other groups.

It is the first time in the history of the Euro Cup that a team wins four points and is last.

However, Belgium’s failure to lead Group E means that Red Devils They now face the difficult task of facing France in the round of 16.

If Belgium plays as it has so far in this tournament, few will give the team a chance against France.

It was another slow and disjointed performance from Domenico Tedesco’s side, who rarely caused Ukraine any problems throughout the clash.

Belgium dominated possession for the first 20 minutes, the team led by captain and star Kevin De Bruyne in midfield, although the Red Devils They were unable to test Anatoliy Trubin in the Ukrainian goal.

Angelos Tzortzinis/AFP/Getty Images

Romanian midfielder Razvan Marin (L) celebrates scoring his team’s first goal from the penalty spot during the Euro 2024 Group E football match against Slovakia at the Frankfurt Arena in Frankfurt am Main on June 26, 2024 .

Ukrainian coach Serhiy Rebrov had made the bold decision to leave out Oleksandr Zinchenko and captain Andriy Yarmolenko, while also missing injured Chelsea striker Mykhailo Mudryk.

Perhaps their replacements simply needed time to recover as Ukraine came to life midway through the first half and began to put Belgium under sustained pressure.

Roman Yaremchuk’s shot from distance stung the palms of Koen Casteels, before Artem Dobvik disappointingly deflected his shot from the edge of the area.

Perhaps Yaremchuk should have given Ukraine the lead when a beautifully executed short free kick left him free in the box, but he opted to cross the ball rather than shoot.

Belgium only looked a threat with De Bruyne on the ball and again led the team through another disappointing half of football at Euro 2024, brilliantly flicking a ball into the path of Romelu Lukaku, who squandered his attempt as it crossed the goal.

Belgium suffered the biggest upset of the tournament in their debut with a 1-0 defeat to Slovakia and had De Bruyne largely to thank for the 2-0 victory over Romania.

Clive Mason/Getty Images

Kevin De Bruyne of Belgium crosses the ball during the UEFA EURO 2024 group stage match against Ukraine at the Stuttgart Arena on June 26, 2024 in Stuttgart, Germany.

As Belgium struggled to find a rhythm, Ukraine began to exert more and more dominance in the game.

The momentum also fell on the Ukrainians, knowing that Romania and Slovakia were tied 1-1 at halftime and the danger of finishing last in Group E on goal difference, with all four teams on four points.

Meanwhile, Belgium knew that if results remained the same they would face a tough clash in the round of 16 against France, but a defeat would mean elimination.

Both teams began to show a little more intent as the game entered the final 20 minutes. Yannick Carrasco made a smart save from Trubin, while Ruslan Malinovskyi almost caught Casteels at his near post from a corner.

Youngster Georgiy Sudakov perhaps should have won for Ukraine in the final minutes after making a brilliant slalom run into the Belgian penalty area, but his shot hit Casteels straight.

The final whistle brought the Ukrainian players to their knees. It was a cruel way to end their Euro 2024 adventure, making history, but for the wrong reasons.

This story has been updated with additional reporting.

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