Group E of Euro 2024 started with a bang on Monday as Romania hit Ukraine for three goals in a shocking win on matchday one. Ukraine, the team with the second-highest FIFA World Ranking in this group, capitulated after going behind. A sensational Romania goal from Nicolae Stanciu came against the run of play in the first half. However, the Romanians capitalized on their new-found momentum to eventually open a two-goal lead in the second half. A third goal came not long after as Ukraine struggled to muster any looks of its own.

The first goal came on the back of an error at the back for Ukraine. A poor pass from a Ukrainian center-back allowed Romania to put pressure on Ukraine goalkeeper Andriy Lunin. Lunin attempted to clear the ball, but his hurried attempt fell straight to Dennis Man. The Romanian winger played a simple pass to his captain Stanciu. The most-capped player in the Romania squad unleashed a wicked strike that curled away from Lunin and plunged into the top corner of the goal. Before this point, Ukraine dominated possession of the ball and held it inside the Romania half. However, the goal turned the tide of the affair.

For the remainder of the first half, Romania had the better chances. Dennis Man went close with a deflected effort that Lunin thankfully watched drift wide of his post. Then, from the ensuing corner, Stanciu almost scored directly. His in-swinging effort caught Lunin cheating off his line. The ball deflected off the crossbar and the chance fizzled out.

Two second-half goals put Romania in dreamland against Ukraine

Although Ukraine had the chance to gather its bearings at halftime, Romania maintained its control of the game. In the 53rd minute, a long-range shot from Razvan Marin looked to be simple for Lunin to keep out of the net. The goalkeeper misjudged the shot, perhaps unsighted by the defense in front of him. The ball dove under Lunin and Romania had a shocking two-goal lead.

Things only got worse for Ukraine after that. Four minutes after Romania doubled its advantage, the Tricolorii had a third. Denis Dragus was at the end of a pass from Man, and Dragus just had to direct the ball into the net. Ukraine hoped for an offside flag to come to its rescue. Yet, a brief VAR review showed Dragus was clearly onside, and the goal stood.

For reference as to how poor Ukraine was in this contest, the first shot on target came in the 77th minute. It has just two shots on target by the conclusion of the 90 minutes despite holding 72% of the ball. This was a statement result for Romania which has previously won just one European Championship game in its history. With three goals in this contest, Romania equaled the goals scored from its last two tournament totals in this competition.

Romania rightfully celebrated its success proudly with supporters, with some of the victors moved to tears after the performance. A three-goal win in the side’s opening game puts it on a track to success. However, it has a major test on Saturday in Koln against Belgium. Ukraine is by no means out of the tournament. It can pick up pivotal points against Slovakia in its second game. Yet, that is a quicker turnaround with Ukraine returning to action on Friday.


Euro 2024

Here are some resources to get you ready for Euros!
Euro Bracket: Download a free PDF bracket for the tournament
Euro 2024 Schedule: Full schedule of all games for the 2024 tournament
How to watch: Information on where to find the games on TV and streaming
How to Stream Learn how you can stream Euro games live in 2024
2024 Soccer Calendar: Get the lowdown on what will be a busy year in soccer