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Belgium, Ukraine scoreless at halftime of Group E finale

Kevin De Bruyne Romelu Lukaku Belgium Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku - The Canadian Press

After a free-flowing first 45 minutes, Belgium and Ukraine are scoreless in their Group E finale from Stuttgart.

The permutations of the group hang on a knife's edge with Romania and Slovakia currently even at 1-1 at the half in the group's other match.

Belgium got the first great chance of the half in the seventh.

Kevin De Bruyne sent a terrific ball into the area for Romelu Lukaku, who split both of Ukraine's central defenders, but he entirely scuffed his shot and the chance went for naught. A better hit and it was 1-0 Red Devils.

In the 13th, De Bruyne put a scare into Anatoliy Trubin in the Ukraine goal when his deflected shot took a looping arc that forced the Benfica No. 1 to track back and make sure it cleared the crossbar.

Ukraine's first real chance came in the 20th when Roman Yaremchuk took a hard shot from distance that stung the palms of Koen Casteels.

Coming back the other way, Bournemouth's Illya Zabarnyi did well to head away a cross from Timothy Castagne before it could reach Lukaku in the 22nd.

The most dangerous player on either side in the first 45, KDB almost grabbed an opener in the 33rd from a dead ball. Seeing Trubin leaning towards the far post, the Manchester City star attempted to catch him out on a free kick, but De Bruyne's effort skipped just wide of the near post.

Shortly thereafter, Heorhiy Subakov could probably have done better with his effort, sending it straight at Casteels, after a fine pass from Artem Dovbyk.

Yaremchuk should have had Ukraine on the board in the 42nd, but he was unselfish to a fault. Instead of taking a shot on goal from close range, he attempted to set up the trailing Dobvyk with a pass that was far out of reach of the Girona forward.