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Ukraine crashes out of UEFA Euro 2024 after scoreless draw with Belgium


Belgium and Ukraine played to a scoreless draw in their Group E finale from Stuttgart at UEFA Euro 2024, sending Ukraine crashing out of the tournament.

With Romania and Slovakia playing to a 1-1 draw in the other group match, all four teams finished on four points. By virtue of a 3-0 loss to open the tournament against Romania, Ukraine ends up in last place in the group on goal difference. The Red Devils will finish as runners-up with Romania topping the group based on goals scored. Slovakia advances as one of the top-four third-place teams.

Ukraine is the first team in the history of the tournament to miss out on the knockouts with four points.

The first 45 minutes were wide-open with neither team finding purchase. Snake-bitten in the first two games, the trend continued on Wednesday for Romelu Lukaku. Taking a fine pass from Kevin De Bruyne in the seventh minute, the Chelsea man split the central defensive pairing before sending a tame shot wide. Lukaku really should have scored his first goal of the tournament.

In the 20th, Roman Yaremchuk had Ukraine's best early chance with a hard-struck shot that Koen Casteels parried away.

The most dangerous player on either team in the first half, De Bruyne thought he caught Anatoliy Trubin napping in the 33rd. From a free kick, De Bruyne tried to sneak his effort inside the near post with the Benfica keeper leaning the other way, but Trubin got back to cover.

Jeremy Doku used his pace to menace Ukraine to start the second half.

Taking a pass from Manchester City teammate De Bruyne, Doku raced down the right and sent an inviting ball across the face of goal for Lukaku, but there was just too much speed on the pass in the 53rd. Then it was Lukaku who had another chance, but his shot from an angle had nothing on it and Trubin wasn't troubled.

In the 66th, Lukaku did well to spring substitute Yannick Carrasco to break forward with De Bruyne. Marked closely by Oleksandr Tymchyk, Carrasco took a pop at goal instead of trying to find De Bruyne with his weak effort stopped by Trubin.

Minutes later, Carrasco forced Trubin into the finest save of the match, drilling his shot with purpose. Trubin dived to his right to parry away after reacting quickly. In the immediate aftermath, Ukraine broke down the other way through Dovbyk, who was marked by Wout Faes. The Leicester City man did well to keep on his man and snuff out the danger before Casteels dealt with a deflected effort with aplomb.

Then in the 78th, Dovbyk sent a ball into the side netting that fooled many Ukrainian fans behind the net into thinking it was a precious goal.

Shortly thereafter, Ukraine came close again. Directly from a corner, substitute Ruslan Malinovskyi attempted an Olimpico, but Casteels scrambled back to keep the ball from going over the line.

The free-flowing action that marked the first half returned in the closing minutes of the second. In the 84th, Johan Bakayoko was wasteful with his effort to complete a break forward and failed to score when he easily could have.

In stoppage, Heorhiy Sudakov raced into the area and ripped a shot directly at Casteels before throwing himself on the ground in disappointment.