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Ukraine pulls out a strong-willed victory at Euro 2024 after conceding the first goal

Olena PavlovaNews
Ukraine scored the first three points at the European Championship 2024

After a sensational defeat by Romania (0:3) at the start of Euro 2024, the second-round match with Slovakia became the moment of truth for the Ukrainian national team at the championship in Germany – either a victory or minimal chances of reaching the playoffs. And on June 21 in Dusseldorf, the Blue and Yellows showed their character and snatched a strong-willed 2-1 victory, gaining their first points.

Compared to the opening match of Euro 2024 with Romania, Rebrov made several substitutions. The first thing that caught my eye was that Andrii Lunin was replaced in goal by Anatolii Trubin of Portuguese side Benfica. Either they did not forgive the Real Madrid goalkeeper for his mistakes, or they are worried about his psychological readiness.

Ukraine pulls out a strong-willed victory at Euro 2024 after conceding the first goal

Viktor Tsyhankov, who was criticized by many for his passivity on his right flank, was replaced by Andrii Yarmolenko, a veteran of the team who has already participated in four European Championships. There have never been any complaints about the captain's dedication. The main question is his functional readiness.

Ukraine pulls out a strong-willed victory at Euro 2024 after conceding the first goal

Volodymyr Brazhko appeared in the midfield, and Taras Stepanenko, one of the most experienced players of our national team, remained on the bench. And in defense, Yukhym Konoplia was replaced by Oleksandr Tymchyk.

Ukraine pulls out a strong-willed victory at Euro 2024 after conceding the first goal

Slovakia, which unexpectedly defeated Group E favorite Belgium 1-0 in the first round, decided not to change its winning lineup. And they started the match very actively as if to hint that they were not going to sit on the defensive and fend off the assaults of Ukraine, which desperately needed three points. Like, they also have their plans for the attack.

And the first really dangerous moment was created by Francesco Calzon's men. In the 10th minute, Trubin saved the team by parrying Garaslin's shot from the left flank, where the main Slovak threat came from. And then he immediately pulled out Ivan Schrantz's shot, which brought his team a victory over Belgium.

Ukraine pulls out a strong-willed victory at Euro 2024 after conceding the first goal

Ukraine struck the first shot on goal in the 13th minute when Brazhko closed the attack with a shot from outside the penalty area. But the goalkeeper was on the spot. However, compared to the match against Romania, the Blue and Yellows looked livelier, more emotional, and more dangerous in attack.

But the opponent was also determined. In the 17th minute, Trubin prevented the Slovaks from scoring from a set piece. However, the very next moment there was a throw-in to our penalty area through a side pass to the goalkeeper's line for Schrantz, and the Czech Slavia striker won the fight up top against Oleksandr Zinchenko and hit the ball into the net with a bounce off the lawn. Trubin simply did not have time.

Ukraine pulls out a strong-willed victory at Euro 2024 after conceding the first goal

Ukraine could have equalized in the 28th minute when Mudryk put the birthday boy Dovbyk in a scoring position in the opponent's penalty area, but the defenders blocked the Girona forward's shot. However, the Blue and Yellows did not go back, and in the following minutes, Mudryk and his teammates started a fire at the Slovakian goal. But they managed to fight back.

And in the 34th minute, another Ukrainian attack ended with Tymchyk's shot into the far corner, but the ball hit the post. Mudryk was very active, lacking just enough to catch up with the ball and go one-on-one with the goalkeeper.

Ukraine pulls out a strong-willed victory at Euro 2024 after conceding the first goal

But while the Ukrainians were getting carried away with the attacks, the Slovaks organized their attack. Fortunately, Trubin managed to put the ball out for a corner. It is worth noting that when losing the ball, the Slovaks acted quite harshly, sometimes on the verge of a foul. And even more so when Yarmolenko was hit in the face with his hand. But our neighbors were ready to fight for their football dream with all their might.

And although the Ukrainian national team went into the break in Dusseldorf, again losing 0:1, it was a completely different game played by our team, a game with a lot of dangerous attacks at the other goal and even hitting the post. All that was missing was the last shot and a little bit of luck.

Ukraine pulls out a strong-willed victory at Euro 2024 after conceding the first goal

The Ukrainians started the second half more aggressively. In the 51st minute, Mudryk again brought Dovbyk into the striking position, hanging him into someone else's penalty area from the left flank, but Artem failed to hit the goal properly.

However, as the commentators used to say, the goal was brewing, and it came. Brazhko took the ball away in the center of the field, Mudryk dragged it to the other side of the goal, and after a series of passes, the ball fell to Zinchenko on the left flank, who fired a shot into the penalty area to Mykola Shaparenko, and the Dynamo midfielder finally sent the ball into the net – 1-1. Ukraine finally opened the scoring at Euro 2024.

Ukraine pulls out a strong-willed victory at Euro 2024 after conceding the first goal

Ukraine continued to put pressure on the opponent with their attacks when the Slovakian fatigue became apparent and they began to simply fight back. Sensing that the opponent was letting up, Rebrov made substitutions to strengthen the attack, and in the 80th minute, a fresh Roman Yaremchuk responded to a long pass from Shaparenko and pushed the ball into the net past Dubravka – 2-1.

For Yaremchuk, this goal was his 16th in the national team shirt, while Shaparenko scored a goal and an assist.

Ukraine pulls out a strong-willed victory at Euro 2024 after conceding the first goal

In the last minutes, Slovakia made several attempts to cling to a draw, but Ukrainian players bit into every ball. Sudakov and the fresh Yaremchuk did a great job in the selection.

"The Blue and Yellows defended their first victory at Euro 2024, gained three points, and remain in the fight for the playoffs. In total, our team now has four wins for all the time it has played at the continental championships. And all the victories with the same score – 2:1.

Ukraine pulls out a strong-willed victory at Euro 2024 after conceding the first goal

Ukraine will play its final match in the group on Wednesday, June 26, against Belgium. And it will be a very difficult match, perhaps for leadership in the group, and perhaps for survival.

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