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Romania national football team
European Championship | Group Stage
Jun 17, 2024 at 2pm UK
Allianz Arena
Ukraine national football team

3 - 0

Stanciu (29'), Marin (53'), Dragus (57')
Marin (79')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Konoplya (67')

Preview: Romania vs. Ukraine - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Monday's Euro 2024 clash between Romania and Ukraine, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

With the waiting finally over, Group E rivals Romania and Ukraine will kick off their Euro 2024 campaigns on Monday afternoon in Munich.

The first competitive meeting between the two nations sees a resurgent Romanian side arrive in Germany as qualifying group winners, while their opening opponents only edged through the playoffs.

Match preview

Romania players celebrate after qualifying for the Euro 2024 on November 18, 2023© Reuters

Taking part in a sixth European Championship - and first since 2016, when they finished bottom of their group with just one point - Romania are intent on progressing to the knockout phase this summer.

Historically, the Tricolorii's win rate of 6% at Euro finals suggests that may prove a tough task - their sole success in 16 games was beating England at Euro 2000 - but results over the past year have raised expectations.

Capping off a superb campaign, Romania beat Switzerland in their final qualifier to top Group I unbeaten, winning six and drawing four of 10 fixtures en route to Germany.

After conceding just five goals in the process, their defensive capabilities have been confirmed in recent friendlies: a 3-2 defeat to Colombia aside, the Tricolorii leaked only one goal in draws against Northern Ireland, Bulgaria and Liechtenstein.

Of course, being pitched into a Euro 2024 group containing Belgium, Slovakia and Ukraine puts them up against far more challenging opponents, but Edward Iordanescu's men may still feel that they can progress - particularly as several third-placed teams will go through.

Since taking charge in 2022, Iordanescu has improved his nation's standing significantly, and the 45-year-old now leads Romania into a major tournament. In fact, he is the first man to do so since his father Anghel Iordanescu - also mastermind of the fabled World Cup '94 campaign - did so at Euro 2016.

Ukraine's Mykhaylo Mudryk celebrates scoring their second goal with Oleksandr Zinchenko on March 26, 2024© Reuters

Though, like Romania, they missed out on Qatar 2022, Ukraine are now making a fourth consecutive appearance at UEFA's continental championship, in which they have rarely fared well.

Losing eight of their 11 matches to date, the Ukrainians have failed to even score in six of nine group games - but they did make it through to the quarter-finals three years ago.

This time, the war-torn nation are aiming to produce a similar result in order to raise morale back home, after almost missing out on a place at the finals altogether.

Finishing third in qualification behind England and Italy left them relying on a playoff spot earned by their previous UEFA Nations League performance, and Serhiy Rebrov's side then squeezed past Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iceland thanks to two late winners.

Rebrov is managing at his first major tournament, and as the former Tottenham Hotspur striker did not appear at a European Championship during his illustrious playing days, he will now have a first taste of the Euros.

Results in the build-up have been mixed, as a goalless draw away to Germany was followed by a 3-1 defeat to Euro 2012 co-hosts Poland, with Ukraine conceding three times inside the opening half-hour; nonetheless, a subsequent 4-0 thumping of Moldova lifted spirits ahead of Monday's opener.

Romania form (all competitions):

Ukraine form (all competitions):

Team News

Romania coach Edward Iordanescu before the match on October 15, 2023© Reuters

In a press conference incidentally held on his 46th birthday, Edward Iordanescu stated that Romania still have some minor fitness concerns, but he should have a full squad available as left-back Nicusor Bancu has overcome a knock sustained in Saturday's training session.

Having scored relatively few goals in 2024, some debate remains as to the identity of Romania's lone striker, with Denis Alibec, George Puscas and Denis Dragus all vying to start up front.

In goal, veteran stopper Florin Nita has impresed in Turkey's Super Lig and is hoping to supplant Atletico Madrid's Horatiu Moldovan, who has not featured for the Spanish side since joining in January.

Captain Nicolae Stanciu is a certain starter in midfield - he previously featured at Euro 2016 and has scored 14 international goals to date - but the role of partnering Radu Dragusin in central defence is up for grabs.

While winger Olimpiu Morutan has been ruled out of the tournament by an ACL injury, Parma pair Valentin Mihaila and Dennis Man are available and should start on either flank.

Serhiy Rebrov, meanwhile, will be without his first choice left-back, as Vitaliy Mykolenko - who has only just returned from a long layoff - sustained an ankle injury last week. Renowned for his versatility, Arsenal's Oleksandr Zinchenko is therefore set to switch from midfield to cover the Everton defender's absence.

Another Premier League player, Mykhailo Mudryk, is likely to start as one of two wide men, with Viktor Tsygankov the other; Shakhtar Donetsk starlet Heorhiy Sudakov should fill an attack-minded role in midfield.

Captain Andriy Yarmolenko has been involved in five of his nation's eight goals at European Championships to date, but the veteran forward may have to settle for a place on the bench.

Ukraine's main threat these days is Tsygankov's Girona teammate Artem Dovbyk, who claimed La Liga's Pichichi award last season and will start up front.

Romania possible starting lineup:
Nita; Ratiu, Dragusin, Burca, Bancu; M. Marin, R. Marin; Man, Stanciu, Mihaila; Dragus

Ukraine possible starting lineup:
Lunin; Konoplya, Zabarnyi, Matviyenko, Zinchenko; Shaparenko, Stepanenko, Sudakov; Tsygankov, Dovbyk, Mudryk

SM words green background

We say: Romania 0-1 Ukraine

All six previous encounters between these nations were friendlies - Romania won the first three, with Ukraine unbeaten since then - but the stakes are far higher now.

While the Tricolorii were undefeated throughout qualifying, a distinct lack of firepower means their dismal Euros record could continue; the Ukrainians undoubtedly pack more punch up front, so a tight contest should swing their way and result in three precious points.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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Romania coach Edward Iordanescu before the match on June 19, 2023
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Group A

Q Germany Germany32107
Q Switzerland Switzerland31205
3 Hungary Hungary31023
4 Scotland flag Scotland30121

Group B

Q Spain Spain33009
Q Italy Italy31114
3 Croatia Croatia30212
4 Albania national flag Albania30121

Group C

Q England flag England31205
Q Denmark Denmark30303
Q Slovenia Slovenia30303
4 Serbia Serbia30212

Group D

Q Austria Austria32016
Q France France31205
Q Netherlands Netherlands31114
4 Poland Poland30121

Group E

Q Romania Romania31114
Q Belgium Belgium31114
Q Slovakia Slovakia31114
4 Ukraine Ukraine31114

Group F

Q Portugal Portugal32016
Q Turkey Turkey32016
Q Georgia Georgia31114
4 Czech Republic Czech Republic30121

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