Euro 2024: De Bruyne's Belgium plays Ukraine in a Group E too close to call

STUTTGART, Germany (AP) — Belgium plays Ukraine on Wednesday with all to play for in Group E at the European Championship. With all teams in the group on three points after two games, only goal difference separates top to bottom. Kickoff is at 9 p.m. local (1900 GMT) in Stuttgart. Here’s what to know about the match:

Match facts

— Belgium got its campaign up and running with a 2-0 win against Romania after being shocked by Slovakia in its opening game.

— The No. 3-ranked team in the world is second in the group on goal difference going into the last round of fixtures.

— Ukraine suffered a 3-0 defeat to Romania in its opening game, but responded by beating Slovakia 2-1.

— Both teams know a win will be enough to guarantee their place in the round of 16.

Team news

Axel Witsel has missed both of Belgium's games so far and didn't even travel with the team for the game against Romania.

— Vitaliy Mykolenko has trained after missing Ukraine’s opening two games. Viktor Tsygankov will be assessed after missing the Slovakia game.

By the numbers

— This is the first time Belgium and Ukraine have met in international soccer.

Romelu Lukaku is Belgium’s all-time leading scorer with 85, but he is still to get off the mark at these Euros after having three goals ruled out by VAR.

— Ukraine has advanced to the knockout stage of a Euros once in three previous attempts, reaching the quarterfinals three years ago.

— Ukraine's Andriy Yarmolenko is playing in his fourth Euros at the age of 34.

What they’re saying

— "They (Ukraine) have given everyone a hard time, even teams like England, Italy and against Germany. They can compete at a high level with any side.” — Belgium coach Domenico Tedesco.

— “Before our group started, everyone knew Belgium were the favorites. In this competition, everything is possible.” — Ukraine coach Serhiy Rebrov.

— “For the team, going through would mean that we’ve accomplished our main mission. What it will mean for the country is that we’ll go on with our fairy tale for a few more days. For Ukrainians, every game means a lot.” — Ukraine midfielder Serhiy Sydorchuk.

— ”(Ukraine) have a situation in their country which isn’t easy. They have their hearts set on making their fans and their nation very happy. They will give their all, just like we will.” — Belgium defender Arthur Theate.


AP Euro 2024:

The Associated Press