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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Georgia 2 – 0 Portugal

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Georgia surprised Portugal with a superb 2-0 win to safe qualification for the final 16 at Euro 2024 – their first main event.

Georgia’s process at kick-off was easy – beat Portugal and they might attain the subsequent spherical. They did simply that, establishing a gathering with Spain in Gelsenkirchen on Sunday.

With first place in Group F already secured, Roberto Martinez made eight adjustments to his Portugal aspect – an element that certainly contributed to their disjointed show. Enhancements will likely be wanted after they face Slovenia in Frankfurt on Monday.

Georgia had no such points, scoring inside two minutes when Khvicha Kvaratskhelia punished Antonio Silva’s error, racing onto Georges Mikautadze’s via ball and burying a end past Diogo Costa.

Silva was at fault once more for the second objective, catching Luka Lochoshvili within the space after extra sloppy Portugal defending.

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A penalty was given after a pitchside evaluation, with Mikautadze changing to grow to be the main scorer on the event and capping arguably the best evening in Georgian soccer historical past.

Star performer: Georges Mikautadze

Georges Mikautadze’s three objectives make him Euro 2024’s prime scorer

Discounting personal objectives – there have already been seven – Georges Mikautadze is the highest scorer at this summer season’s event. Not many would have predicted that when Euro 2024 started nearly two weeks in the past.

The 23-year-old – who was born in France – has now scored in every of Georgia’s three matches in Germany. He additionally claimed the help for Khvicha Kvaratskhelia’s early strike that finally sank Portugal.

Six months in the past, this story would have barely been plausible. Mikautadze’s transfer to Ajax had gone horribly improper as he made simply three begins and failed to seek out the web in the course of the first half of the season.

A mortgage again to former membership Metz was organized in January. Mikautadze shortly rediscovered his kind, scoring 12 instances to make sure he arrived at Euro 2024 in peak situation.

Mikautadze is now threatening to eclipse Kvaratskhelia – Georgia’s star participant – as he makes a reputation for himself on the most important stage.

Martinez tinkers as Ronaldo toils

26 June 2024, North Rhine-Westphalia, Gelsenkirchen: Soccer, UEFA Euro 2024, European Championship, Georgia - Portugal, Preliminary round, Group F, Matchday 3, Schalke Arena, Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo reacts. Photo by: David Inderlied/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images
Cristiano Ronaldo is but to attain at Euro 2024

Criticism of Portugal will likely be tempered by the very fact they’d already wrapped up prime spot within the group earlier than taking over Georgia, however the aspect Roberto Martinez chosen – that includes eight adjustments – ought to nonetheless have been adequate to beat Willy Sagnol’s outfit.

After ditching the 3-4-3 formation that floundered in opposition to Czech Republic within the win over Turkey, Martinez reverted to the system in Gelsenkirchen, recasting Wolves’ star winger Pedro Neto as a left wing-back.

It did not work. Neto was nameless, whereas the again three of Antonio Silva, Goncalo Inacio and Danilo Pereira seemed weak each time Georgia attacked.

Regardless of the sport being irrelevant by way of Portugal’s progress via Group F, Cristiano Ronaldo began his third match in eight days.

The 39-year-old is clearly determined for his first objective at this championship however hardly ever seemed like being the one to breach Georgia’s defence.

Shorn of the explosiveness that helped to make him an all-time nice, Ronaldo requires service from his team-mates. However Portugal’s supply into the field was woeful.

Martinez will little doubt restore these he rested to the XI for Monday’s last-16 sport with Slovenia. However Portugal are on the identical aspect of the draw as Germany, Spain and France.

The supervisor must shortly choose a system and work out convey the perfect out of Ronaldo if he’s to justify his place on the helm of Portugal’s star-studded squad.


Kvaratskhelia: That is the perfect day of my life

Portugal supervisor Roberto Martinez stated: “We did not underestimate Georgia, however Georgia have been enjoying the sport of their historical past and we have been enjoying the final sport after we have been already prime of the group.

“It was troublesome for us to match the identical depth.”

Match-winner Khvicha Kvaratskhelia stated: “I feel there was no particular person greatest participant, it was a crew.

“We have now made historical past and no-one would consider that we’d beat Portugal. However we confirmed everybody that the Georgian crew could make it occur.

“That is the perfect day in my life.”

Stats: Story of the match

Group F last outcomes…

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