Romania Sink Error-Prone Ukraine To End Long Drought At Euros

(MENAFN- The Peninsula) AFP

Munich, Germany: Romania won at a major international tournament for the first time in 24 years on Monday as they beat Ukraine 3-0 at Euro 2024, helped by two errors from goalkeeper Andriy Lunin.

Captain Nicolae Stanciu's magnificent long-range strike gave Romania, backed by the vast majority of the Munich crowd, a first-half lead in their Group E opener.

Razvan Marin's shot from distance then skipped under Lunin as Romania turned the screw with two more goals before the hour, Denis Dragus tapping home the third.

"This shirt means everything to me and to score at the Euros, you can't do more than that. To also win in the manner we did, that's just incredible," said Stanciu.

"I know myself and know my team-mates. I know we're not going to celebrate after this win, we're only going to concentrate on Belgium now."

It was a disastrous start to the campaign for Ukraine, who must quickly regroup with games to follow against Slovakia and Belgium.

"Unfortunately nobody expected this result," said Ukraine coach Serhiy Rebrov. "We didn't do good enough."

"We all have emotions. Everybody is unhappy," he added.

Ukraine players emerged onto the pitch with Ukrainian flags draped over their shoulders in the country's first game at a major tournament since the Russia-Ukraine conflict in February 2022.

They missed out on qualifying for the World Cup two years ago but secured a fourth successive appearance at the Euros, despite the backdrop of the largest European conflict since World War II.

Three years ago Ukraine reached the quarter-finals under Andriy Shevchenko. But a lot has changed since for a country ravaged by war, with his former striker partner Rebrov now in charge.

Rebrov confided that simply taking part in Germany, where more than a million Ukrainians have found refuge, is an important step for the nation.

He said he had received countless messages from people back home, including those fighting on the front line, and that it was up to his team to "show the spirit" of Ukraine in troubled times.


The Peninsula

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