Previous meetings, form guides, links and trivia ahead of the 2023 EURO U21 group stage fixture.
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Romania and Ukraine have been infrequent opponents at this level but meet for the third time in four years in the second round of Group B games at the UEFA European Under-21 Championship with contrasting moods in the two camps.
While co-hosts Romania went down 3-0 to five-time champions Spain on Matchday 1, Ukraine recorded their biggest finals win – just their third in the tournament overall and their first in 17 years – as a solo strike from Oleksiy Kashchuk (19) and Danylo Sikan's 48th-minute header proved enough to see off Croatia.
This fixture at the Steaua Stadium in Bucharest is only the sides' fifth U21 encounter.
While co-hosts Romania are featuring for the third successive finals, 2006 runners-up Ukraine are making their first appearance since 2011.
The teams were paired together in 2021 qualifying, Romania winning 3-0 in Ploiești on 10 October 2019 with all the goals coming in the final 15 minutes, through Olimpiu Moruțan (75) and 76th-minute substitute Adrian Petre (80, 90+4). Ukraine replacement Dennis Man was dismissed in the 85th minute just 60 seconds after his own introduction.
Serhiy Buletsa's 80th-minute penalty gave Ukraine a 1-0 home victory on 9 October 2020, although Romania nevertheless finished runners-up in Group 8 behind Denmark on 20 points, four more than third-placed Ukraine, to reach the finals.
Those are the sides' only competitive U21 fixtures. They have played only two friendlies at this level, Romania winning 5-1 in October 2001 and 4-0 in March of the following year.
Having not qualified for the U21 tournament between hosting the 1998 finals and 2019, Romania are making their third successive appearance.
The 2023 co-hosts' best result came in 2019, when they finished top of Group C before conceding two late goals to lose 4-2 to Germany in the semi-finals.
In 2021, a side coached by Adrian Mutu finished third in Group A despite remaining unbeaten in their three fixtures (W1 D2), losing out on goals scored to the Netherlands and eventual champions Germany after all three teams had picked up five points.
Romania were unbeaten in five competitive U21 fixtures (W2 D3) before losing to Spain on Matchday 1, only their second defeat in 13 (W7 D4). The loss to Spain was also their first group reverse at the finals (W3 D3).
After the 2021 finals Mutu was succeeded as coach by Florin Bratu, who in turn made way for Emil Săndoi in August 2022.
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.
Links and trivia
Ukraine head coach Rotan scored the only goal past Răzvan Stanca – now Romania's U21 goalkeeper coach – as Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk won 1-0 at Pandurii Târgu Jiu on Matchday 1 of the 2013/14 UEFA Europa League.
Rotan was a late substitute as Ukraine beat Romania 3-2 in a Lviv friendly on 29 May 2010 and also came on in a 2-2 draw in the semi-final of the Cyprus International Tournament on 8 February 2011, converting the decisive kick as Ukraine won 4-2 on penalties.
Rotan also came on in the second half as Ukraine beat Romania 4-3 in a Turin friendly on 29 May 2016.