Georgia 2-0 Portugal (June 26, 2024) Match Analysis

Georgia booked a place in the knockout stages of Euro 2024 in their first appearance at a major tournament, with a 2-0 victory over Portugal on Wednesday in the biggest upset in Euro 2024 history. Europe.

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia’s early goal and a penalty from Georges Mikautadze earned Georgia, ranked 74th in the FIFA rankings, victory over already qualified Portugal, ranked sixth.

Slovakia’s victory (48th) over Belgium (3rd) earlier in the tournament previously held the distinction of the biggest upset in the FIFA rankings.

The victory, although against a well-placed second-placed Portugal, who had already qualified for the next round, also represented Georgia’s best result since the country gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

After finishing fourth in their Euro qualifying group, Georgia had to take a circuitous route to Germany, first by winning their group in the less glamorous UEFA Nations League tournament, then by beating the Greece in the playoffs.

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia put Georgia on the path to victory and a place in the round of 16.

Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

But there was nothing undeserved about the way coach Willy Sagnol, the former Bayern Munich and France defender, and his team won third place in the tournament’s Group F and set up a meeting in the round of 16 with Spain, three-time winner of the Euro.

Georgia’s victory also means England will face Slovakia, Romania will face the Netherlands and Portugal will face Slovenia in the round of 16. Hungary, which was in contention for a place in the next round, was eliminated.

The tournament debutants took the lead in the second minute when Kvaratskhelia, the Napoli winger, raced away after a careless pass from António Silva and powered a low shot past Diogo Costa into the Portugal goal.

Cristiano Ronaldo – one of only three Portugal starters who also featured in Saturday’s 3-0 win over Turkey – stretched and strained for every ball as he sought to become the oldest goalscorer in a Euro tournament at the age of 39. .

But Georgia defended as if their lives depended on it and looked to catch Portugal at the break. In the 53rd minute, Silva compounded his previous error by committing a foul in the area which earned him a penalty after a VAR check.

Mikautadze, who had provided the pass for Kvaratskhelia to open the scoring early on, headed his spot-kick past Costa, making him the top scorer at Euro 2024 so far with three goals.

Ronaldo was booked in the first half for arguing and showed frustration when he was substituted after the break, kicking a water bottle.

Georgian goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili made late saves to keep Portugal at bay in the final minutes, and at full time the Georgian team and its coaching staff sprinted onto the field to celebrate in front of thousands of fans.

Information from Reuters and ESPN Stats & Information contributed to this report.

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