Slovakia 1-2 Ukraine
21th June 2024 – Euro 2024

Euro 2024 Group E: Slovakia vs Ukraine – A Thrilling Comeback

Key Moments:

  • 17′: Ivan Schranz opens the scoring for Slovakia
  • 54′: Mykola Shaparenko equalizes for Ukraine
  • 84′: Roman Yaremchuk scores the winning goal for Ukraine

In a pulsating encounter at the Dusseldorf Arena, Ukraine staged a remarkable comeback to defeat Slovakia 2-1 in their Euro 2024 Group E clash. The match, filled with drama and tactical intrigue, saw Ukraine bounce back from their opening day defeat to Romania, while Slovakia missed the chance to secure early qualification for the knockout stages.

The Game Unfolded

Slovakia, buoyed by their shock victory over Belgium in their opening fixture, started the match with confidence. Their early pressure paid off in the 17th minute when Ivan Schranz, the hero from their previous game, found the back of the net with a well-placed header. The goal came from a cross that eluded Ukraine’s Oleksandr Zinchenko, allowing Schranz to capitalize at the far post.

Ukraine, still reeling from their 3-0 defeat to Romania, struggled to find their rhythm in the first half. Their attacks lacked cohesion, and the Slovakian defense, led by the experienced Milan Skriniar, held firm. However, Ukraine’s persistence began to show as the half progressed, with Oleksandr Tymchyk coming close when his shot was deflected onto the post by Slovak goalkeeper Martin Dubravka.

The second half saw a transformed Ukrainian side. Coach Serhiy Rebrov’s halftime talk seemed to have ignited a fire in his team. Their increased intensity and improved ball movement started to cause problems for the Slovak defense. The equalizer came in the 54th minute through Mykola Shaparenko. Zinchenko, making amends for his earlier defensive lapse, provided a pinpoint low cross which Shaparenko coolly slotted home.

The goal energized Ukraine further, and they began to dominate possession. Slovakia, who had been so solid against Belgium, found themselves on the back foot. The winning goal came in the 84th minute, courtesy of substitute Roman Yaremchuk. A long ball from Shaparenko caught the Slovak defense off guard, and Yaremchuk’s excellent first touch allowed him to prod the ball past the onrushing Dubravka.

Slovakia tried to mount a late comeback, but Ukraine’s defense, which had looked shaky in their opening game, held firm to secure a vital three points.

Tactical Analysis

Ukraine’s victory was a testament to Rebrov’s tactical flexibility. After a cautious first half, Ukraine switched to a more aggressive 4-3-3 formation in the second half, which allowed them to press higher up the pitch and create more chances.

Slovakia, on the other hand, seemed to run out of ideas as the game progressed. Their initial 4-2-3-1 formation, which had worked so well against Belgium, became increasingly defensive as Ukraine ramped up the pressure. Coach Francesco Calzona’s inability to counter Ukraine’s tactical shift ultimately cost his team the game.

Player Ratings and Performance Analysis

Anatoliy Trubin (GK) – 7/10: Made some crucial saves, especially in the first half. Showed good command of his area.
Oleksandr Tymchyk – 7/10: Solid defensively and provided an attacking outlet on the right. Hit the post in the first half.
Illia Zabarnyi – 6/10: Struggled initially but grew into the game. Made some important interceptions in the second half.
Mykola Matviyenko – 6/10: Steady at the back, though occasionally troubled by Slovakia’s forwards.
Oleksandr Zinchenko – 7/10: At fault for Slovakia’s goal but redeemed himself with an assist for the equalizer. Influential in midfield.
Taras Stepanenko – 6/10: Provided a solid shield for the defense. Improved distribution in the second half.
Georgiy Sudakov – 7/10: Grew in influence as the game progressed. Key to Ukraine’s improved second-half performance.
Mykola Shaparenko – 8/10: Man of the match. Scored the equalizer and was involved in the winning goal. Tireless in midfield.
Andriy Yarmolenko – 6/10: Showed flashes of his quality but struggled to make a consistent impact.
Artem Dovbyk – 5/10: Isolated for long periods. Replaced in the second half after an ineffective display.Mykhailo Mudryk – 6/10: Bright in patches but couldn’t find the final ball. Still showing promise.

Roman Yaremchuk – 8/10: Game-changing substitute. Scored the winning goal with great composure.
Vitaliy Mykolenko – 6/10: Solid defensive contribution after coming on.
Oleksandr Karavaev – N/A: Not enough time to make an impact.

Martin Dubravka (GK) – 6/10: Made some good saves but could do little about the goals.
Peter Pekarik – 6/10: Solid defensively but offered little going forward.
Denis Vavro – 6/10: Generally solid but struggled with Ukraine’s increased tempo in the second half.
Milan Skriniar – 7/10: Slovakia’s best defender. Organized the backline well but couldn’t prevent the comeback.
David Hancko – 5/10: Struggled against Ukraine’s attacks, especially in the second half.
Juraj Kucka – 6/10: Worked hard in midfield but influence waned as Ukraine took control.
Stanislav Lobotka – 7/10: Slovakia’s best player. Controlled the tempo in the first half but couldn’t maintain it.
Ondrej Duda – 5/10: Anonymous for large parts of the game. Substituted in the second half.
Ivan Schranz – 7/10: Scored the opening goal and was a threat throughout the first half.
Robert Bozenik – 5/10: Isolated up front and struggled to make an impact.
Tomas Suslov – 6/10: Showed flashes of skill but couldn’t influence the game consistently.

Lukas Haraslin – 6/10: Added some energy to Slovakia’s attack but couldn’t change the tide.
Patrik Hrosovsky – 5/10: Failed to stem Ukraine’s dominance in midfield.
Robert Mak – N/A: Not enough time to make an impact.

Group E Table after the match:



Q: What does this result mean for Group E?
A: The group is now wide open. Ukraine, Slovakia, and Romania all have three points, while Belgium is yet to open their account. The final round of matches will be crucial in determining who progresses to the knockout stages.

Q: Who was the standout player of the match?
A: Mykola Shaparenko of Ukraine was arguably the standout performer. He scored the equalizer and was instrumental in the winning goal, showcasing his importance to the team.

Q: How significant is this win for Ukraine?
A: This win is crucial for Ukraine. After their heavy defeat to Romania, they needed a positive result to keep their tournament hopes alive. The comeback victory will boost their confidence significantly.

Q: What went wrong for Slovakia?
A: Slovakia seemed to run out of steam in the second half. They couldn’t maintain the high-pressing game that worked so well against Belgium, and their tactical setup became too defensive as Ukraine grew into the game.

Q: How did Ukraine’s tactical changes influence the game?
A: Ukraine’s switch to a more aggressive 4-3-3 formation in the second half was key to their comeback. It allowed them to press higher up the pitch and create more chances, ultimately leading to their victory.

Next Fixtures

Ukraine: vs Belgium (June 26, 2024)
Slovakia: vs Romania (June 26, 2024)

This thrilling encounter has set the stage for an exciting conclusion to Group E. Both Ukraine and Slovakia have shown they have the quality to progress, but with tough final matches ahead, nothing is certain. The stage is set for a dramatic finale to this group stage at Euro 2024.

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