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Spain vs Ukraine facts

Previous meetings, form guides, links and trivia ahead of the 2023 EURO U21 group stage fixture.

Ukraine will be looking to top Group B when they take on Spain
Ukraine will be looking to top Group B when they take on Spain Alex Nicodim

Ukraine are seeking both their first win and first goal against Spain in the UEFA European Under-21 Championship as the sides meet at the Giulești Stadium in Bucharest to decide first place in Group B.

The pair are locked together on six points and have already qualified for the quarter-finals after winning both of their first two games. Spain opened with a 3-0 defeat of co-hosts Romania before Abel Ruiz swept in Sergio Gómez's cross in the first minute to settle the contest against Croatia.

Ukraine, who beat Croatia 2-0 on Matchday 1, also won 1-0 in their second fixture, although it took an 89th-minute own goal to see off Romania and seal progress.

Ukraine have lost two and drawn one of the sides' three competitive fixtures, failing to score while conceding five goals.

Spain will finish first in Group B if they avoid defeat; Ukraine need a victory to overtake them.

    Previous meetings

    Juan Mata (10, 72pen) scored twice in the sides' most recent meeting, a 3-0 Spain win on Matchday 3 of the 2011 finals that remains Ukraine's joint heaviest U21 finals defeat. Adrián López (27) got the other goal as Spain secured first place in Group B and eliminated Ukraine, who finished bottom of the section on one point; Spain went on to beat Belarus 3-1 after extra time in the semi-finals and Switzerland 2-0 in the final.

    The teams' only other European U21 Championship fixtures had come in qualifying for the 2004 finals when Valdo and Rubén scored as Spain won the home fixture 2-0 in Murcia on 9 September 2003 after a goalless draw in Kyiv six months earlier, where Rubén was sent off.

    They first crossed paths in a friendly in Alcudia on 21 August 1993, Ukraine recording a 2-1 away win.

    Danylo Sikan scored Ukraine's goal in a 1-1 draw against Spain in the UEFA European Under-17 Championship elite round in March 2018. Anatoliy Trubin and Mykhailo Mudryk also represented Ukraine, with Arnau Tenas and substitutes Álex Baena and Sergio Camello featuring for Spain.

    Ruslan Neshcheret, Kostiantyn Vivcharenko, Bohdan Viunnyk, Georgiy Sudakov, Arsenii Batahov and substitute Vladyslav Vanat were all in the Ukraine team that lost 1-0 to Spain in the U17 elite round in March 2019.

    Form guide


    The joint most successful side in European U21 Championship history with five titles, level with Italy, Spain are in the final tournament for the 11th time overall and the seventh in eight editions, failing to qualify only in 2015 during that sequence.

    La Rojita have been champions in three of the last six tournaments – 2011, 2013 and 2019 – and have reached the semi-finals or better in each of the last three. They have not failed to progress from their group since 2009.

    Two years ago, a team coached by Luis de la Fuente took seven points to finish top of Group B ahead of Italy before seeing off Croatia 2-1 after extra time in the quarter-finals, only to lose 1-0 to neighbours Portugal in the last four.

    Spain won all eight of their qualifying fixtures for the 2023 finals, finishing nine points clear of runners-up Slovakia in Group C. They scored 37 goals and conceded only five. Abel Ruiz was the team's leading individual marksman with seven goals.

    On 8 December 2022 De La Fuente was appointed coach of Spain's senior side following Luis Enrique's departure after the FIFA World Cup and replaced by Santi Denia.

    Spain won their opening two matches under Denia on their way to triumphing at the U17 EURO in 2017.

    Spain have won 14 of their last 16 group games at the U21 final tournament. Only Italy have denied them victory during that sequence, beating them 3-1, as hosts, on Matchday 1 in 2019 and holding them 0-0 on Matchday 2 in 2021.

    Spain have now made it out of their group at their last six finals appearances (2011, 2013, 2017, 2019, 2021, 2023), a competition record.


    Ukraine are making their third finals appearance and a first since 2011, when they finished bottom of Group B having failed to win a game (D1 L2).

    Five years earlier they had reached the final on debut, winning their group and beating Serbia and Montenegro 5-4 on penalties after a goalless draw in the semi-finals before a 3-0 defeat in the final against a Netherlands side Oleksiy Mykhaylychenko's team had beaten 2-1 on Matchday 1.

    Ukraine were third in their qualifying section for the 2021 tournament, behind Denmark and Romania.

    This time round, Ruslan Rotan's side qualified with a play-off victory against Slovakia (2-3 a, 3-0 h), Sikan scoring a second-leg hat-trick.

    Ukraine had finished second in Group H on 23 points, three behind France. They won seven of their ten matches and lost only one, albeit their heaviest ever qualifying defeat – 5-0 away to the section winners in which they were reduced to ten men after 26 minutes.

    Dmytro Kryskiv, who scored in the first-leg loss in Slovakia, was Ukraine's top scorer in qualifying with four goals.

    The defeats of Croatia and Romania mean Ukraine have won successive U21 EURO final tournament matches for the first time, excluding victories via penalty shoot-outs.

    Links and trivia

    Timed at 20 seconds, Ruiz's Matchday 2 winner against Croatia was the fastest goal in U21 EURO finals history.

    Sudakov and Viunnyk made their Shakhtar Donetsk debuts as late substitutes in a 3-2 win at Real Madrid on Matchday 1 of the 2020/21 UEFA Champions League.

    That victory on 21 October 2020 was also Anatoliy Trubin's first appearance in UEFA club competition while fellow goalkeeper Neshcheret made his UEFA Champions League debut for Dynamo Kyiv in a 2–1 defeat at Barcelona on 4 November 2020.