Belgium limp into last 16 at Euro 2024 as Ukraine depart

Belgium will face France in the last 16 of Euro 2024 following a 0-0 draw with Ukraine, who crashed out of the tournament.

The Red Devils limped through Group E, finishing second behind Romania.

That means they will meet France next as Ukraine exited on goal difference and become the first team to depart the extended European Championship at the group stage with four points.

Belgium will need a big improvement against the 2022 World Cup runners-up as they were distinctly average throughout the group stage.

They briefly showed promise in Saturday’s win over Romania, but they were otherwise poor.

Domenico Tedesco’s side were off the pace in the first half in Stuttgart and only created one moment of danger.

A sublime ball from Kevin De Bruyne split the Ukraine defence and played in Romelu Lukaku, but the former Chelsea and Manchester United striker could not make proper contact and his shot dribbled to goalkeeper Anatoliy Trubin.

But it was Sergei Rebrov’s side who were more dangerous as Georgiy Sudakov’s stretching effort was straight at Koen Casteels while Roman Yaremchuk inexplicably tried to pass across goal when he was in a seemingly better position to shoot.

Belgium improved after the break but struggled to create anything clear cut.

Ukraine’s Artem Dovbyk makes an attempt to score
Ukraine were the better side against Belgium but could not score (Antonio Calanni/AP)

A big moment came midway through the second half when Yannick Carrasco burst through in a two-versus-one situation, but with De Bruyne in space he went down a blind alley and was tackled.

With Ukraine needing a goal to save their campaign, they upped the ante and they nearly found a breakthrough in the 82nd minute.

Ruslan Malinovskyi almost caught an out-of-position Casteels out from a corner, whipping in an effort to the near post, but the goalkeeper recovered well.

Malinovskyi had a goalbound effort before Sudakov had a brilliant chance in stoppage time.

Belgian hearts were in their mouths as he surged into the penalty area and had space to find the bottom corner but shot straight at Casteels.