The time has come. After much anticipation, the European Championship has begun. Ukraine have been placed in Group E with Romania, Slovakia, and Belgium in this year’s competition.

The top two teams in the group will advance to the knockout stages. Depending on how the other groups finish, the third placed team could advance to the Round of 16 as well. Ukraine’s objective, however, will be to finish as one of the top two teams.

Over the course of the next two weeks, the Zbirna will play three difficult matches to showcase their worth during the competition. Should they win two of their three games, then it will be expected that they will progress to the knockout stages. Failure to earn results in these matches, however, will likely mean that they will leave the tournament early.


Given the talent and strength of the current Ukrainian team, progressing out of the group stage should be the minimum target. The Ukrainians will be traveling with veteran players such as captain Andriy Yarmolenko and vice-captain Taras Stepanenko. Both players competed with Ukraine in EURO 2016 and 2020, and they will hope to mentor and guide the younger players during this tournament.

Other players such as Serhiy Sydorchuk and Oleksandr Zinchenko will also look to lead their national team to success during this year’s competition. In addition, more than half of Ukraine’s current squad for EURO 2024 competed at EURO 2020. While some critics may say that the team is young, many of them have previously participated at the highlights levels of international football, meaning they should be prepared for this competition.

Ukraine are a young and talented side to watch in football. The Zbirna nearly missed out on automatic qualification due to goal differential with Italy. They earned results against EURO 2020 winners Italy as well as EURO 2024 contenders England during the qualifiers, meaning they are a serious side. In addition, after strong performances against Germany and Moldova in their preparation matches for EURO 2024, the Ukrainian team will be eager and ready to start their EURO 2024 campaign.


In their first match, Ukraine will face Romania. The Romanians impressed during the qualification period, where they played challenging teams such as Switzerland and Israel. The Romanians won their group, meaning they should not be overlooked in this group. As Ukraine prepares to face Romania, captain Nicolae Stanciu will look to lead his team during the competition.

Ukraine’s second match will be against Slovakia. This game will likely determine who will finish second in the group. Slovakia has previously challenged Ukraine in international football, where the Slovakians bested the Ukrainians during the EURO 2016 qualification period. Slovakia also performed well during the EURO 2024 qualifiers, where they faced the likes of Portugal, Iceland, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Slovakia finished second in this group. Moving on to EURO 2024, captain Milan Škriniar and his national team will be a difficult challenge for the Ukrainians.

Finally, Ukraine will play their final group stage match against Belgium. This will be the most difficult opponent in the group. The Belgians cruised past their qualifiers, where they overcame Austria and Sweden. With well-known stars such as Kevin De Bruyne, Axel Witsel, Youri Tielemans, Leonardo Trossard, and Romely Lukaku, the Belgians will prove to be a difficult force for Ukraine. The Ukrainians, however, will be ready for any challenge.


Overall, Ukraine will have a series of three difficult matches during the group stages at EURO 2024. The Ukrainians can expect no favors or easy matches against their opponents. Failure to earn results in these three games will mean the Ukrainians will bow out of the competition early. However, given the speed, talent, and strength of the current Ukrainian side, it is expected that they will advance out of the group. Anything else will be seen as a disappointment.

How will Ukraine fare in Group E at the 2024 European Championships? We’ll know soon enough.

Mark Temnycky is an accredited freelance journalist covering Eurasian affairs and a nonresident fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center. He can be found on X @MTemnycky

The views expressed are the author’s and not necessarily of Kyiv Post.

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