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Slovakia 1-2 Ukraine: Shaparenko and Yaremchuk strikes turn tide

Second-half goals from Mykola Shaparenko and Roman Yaremchuk earned Ukraine a superb comeback victory and their first Group E points, against a Slovakia side denied early progress to the round of 16.

Mykola Shaparenko drew Ukraine level against Slovakia
Mykola Shaparenko drew Ukraine level against Slovakia Getty Images

Trailing 1-0 at half-time, Ukraine dug deep to secure a 2-1 comeback victory against Slovakia and put their first points on the board in UEFA EURO 2024 Group E.

Key moments

10': Trubin keeps out Haraslín with foot
11': Ukraine keeper denies Schranz with body
17': Hancko free-kick parried by Trubin
17': Schranz heads opener for Slovakia
34': Tymchyk fires effort against post
54': Shaparenko side-foots in leveller
74': Mudryk hits post on counterattack
80': Yaremchuk caps comeback win

Match in brief: Ukraine turn it around

Ivan Schranz heads the ball past Anatoliy Trubin
Ivan Schranz heads the ball past Anatoliy Trubin Getty Images

Slovakia raced out of the blocks with a goal inside seven minutes on Matchday 1, and they quickly showed their menace here in Düsseldorf. First came the trickery of Lukáš Haraslín, twisting and turning on the edge of the area before forcing Anatoliy Trubin – in for Andriy Lunin – to save with a foot at his near post.

Moments later, Trubin did brilliantly to deny Ivan Schranz with his body at point-blank range. The Benfica goalkeeper was quickly justifying his selection, also leaping to keep out a Dávid Hancko free-kick, but Slovakia's pressure eventually told, with Schranz the scorer as he headed Haraslín's cross down into the ground and back past Trubin.

Ivan Schranz celebrates his opening goal for Slovakia
Ivan Schranz celebrates his opening goal for Slovakia Getty Images

Ukraine were trailing according to every metric – scoreline, possession, chances – but they were still able to rouse themselves, Artem Dovbyk pirouetting in the area before unleashing a shot blocked by Peter Pekarík. And they went closer still when Oleksandr Tymchyk drove a low effort beyond Martin Dúbravka and off the far post.

Oleksandr Zinchenko then tested Dúbravka with a set piece, before Haraslín obliged Trubin to sprawl low to his left to keep the scoreline 1-0 at the interval. Slovakia arguably merited a bigger lead, yet the narrow margin gave Ukraine hope – and they took advantage shortly after the restart, Mykola Shaparenko side-footing in to cap a neat team move led by Mudryk.

That transformed the complexion of the game and it was Serhiy Rebrov's side who crackled with the greater energy as the match wore on. If Mudryk firing against a post wasn't proof enough, that came when substitute Roman Yaremchuk did superbly to control a long Shaparenko ball over the top and tuck a shot past Dúbravka. Suddenly, Ukraine were heading for victory – and right back in the running for a knockout place.

Slovakia 1-2 Ukraine: As it happened

Vivo Player of the Match: Mykola Shaparenko (Ukraine)

Player of The Match: Mykola Shaparenko

He was involved in the key moments of the game, scoring one goal and assisting the other. He performed really well with the ball, and was always aggressive and well positioned without it.
UEFA Technical Observer panel

Rastislav Hribik, Slovakia reporter

Despite a strong first half, Slovakia couldn't hold onto their lead and eventually Ukraine found a way through. Ivan Schranz's second goal of the tournament proved insufficient and, in the second half, Ukraine had far more of the ball. While Slovakia couldn't take anything from this game, with three points from their opening victory over Belgium, they are still well positioned to progress to the knockout stage. Their attentions will now turn to their final group fixture against Romania.

Bogdan Buga, Ukraine reporter

Ukraine showed great character in the second half to turn this game around and put themselves into contention to progress from Group E. They came up against a strong opponent in Slovakia, who dominated a lot of the first half, but they emerged as a re-energised team after the interval. This section is now wide open and Ukraine will go into their final game against Belgium with everything to play for.


Mykhailo Mudryk is crowded out by Martin Dúbravka
Mykhailo Mudryk is crowded out by Martin DúbravkaGetty Images

Serhiy Rebrov, Ukraine coach: "We did very badly [in the 3-0 loss] against Romania, but the players showed a different spirit today and deserved the win. We need to focus on the next game, but this was a very important win for the team and for the country."

Roman Yaremchuk, Ukraine forward: "The key to victory was team spirit. We spoke today with Ukraine's president [Volodymyr Zelenskyy]. He gave us incredible motivation. You know how difficult the situation is in our country, so we must give some joy to our people."

Mykola Shaparenko, Vivo Player of the Match: "I want to say that the first game against Romania gave us a a big lesson and allowed us to be ready for today. You saw our mental strength. We followed our coach's directions and ideas, and I'm very proud about that."

Shaparenko on Ukraine win

Francesco Calzona, Slovakia coach: "It was a difficult match. I was satisfied with some moments, with others less so. I'm happy with the team. I can't fault them; the first half was better from our side. Our opponents have great quality; in the FIFA rankings, Ukraine are 20 places ahead of us. We will do our best to advance."

Martin Dúbravka, Slovakia goalkeeper: "We started well and scored, but after the break it was completely different. They created chances and scored twice, unfortunately for us. We were not able to push more. As for the group, it's close now, but we are still in it with one game to play."

Key stats

  • This was just Ukraine's second win in their last ten EURO group stage matches.
  • Ukraine have been winning at half-time in only one of their last 13 EURO games.
  • Ukraine have contested 13 EURO matches without keeping a single clean sheet.
  • In nine meetings with Slovakia, Ukraine have now won four, drawing three and losing the other two.
  • With an average age of 25 years and 259 days, Ukraine's starting XI was the youngest so far at EURO 2024 – and the first with an average age below 26 years
  • Oleksandr Zinchenko became the second player to reach the milestone of ten EURO appearances for Ukraine. Andriy Yarmolenko is the nation's record holder, extending his tally here to 13 such outings.
  • Slovakia have still never won two consecutive EURO group matches or kept successive clean sheets in the competition.
  • Slovakia have lost only three of their last 13 competitive games (W8 D2).
  • Ivan Schranz is the joint-leading scorer at EUR0 2024, tied with Jamal Musiala on two goals.


Slovakia line up for action in Düsseldorf
Slovakia line up for action in DüsseldorfGetty Images

Slovakia: Dúbravka; Pekarík, Vavro, Škriniar, Hancko (Obert 67); Kucka, Lobotka, Duda (Bénes 60); Schranz (Sauer 86), Boženík (Strelec 60), Haraslín (Suslov 67)

Ukraine: Trubin; Tymchyk, Zabarnyi, Matviyenko, Zinchenko; Shaparenko (Talovierov 90+2), Brazhko (Sydorchuk 85), Sudakov; Yarmolenko (Zubkov 67), Dovbyk (Yaremchuk 67), Mudryk (Malinovskyi 85)

Next up

Slovakia vs Romania – Wednesday 26 June, Frankfurt
Ukraine vs Belgium – Wednesday 26 June, Stuttgart