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Euro 2024: Newcomers Georgia beat Portugal 2-0 to advance to the knockout rounds

Georgia's Hvitsa Kvaratskhelia plays against Portugal during the 2024 European Cup group match match between Georgia and Portugal at the Ofschalke Stadium on June 26, 2024. Diogo Dalot burst into the penalty area under pressure as Portugal's Antonio Silva, Joao Neves and Francisco Conceicao looked on.

Georgia’s Hvitsa Kvaratskhelia plays against Portugal during the 2024 European Cup group match match between Georgia and Portugal at the Ofschalke Stadium on June 26, 2024. Diogo Dalot burst into the penalty area under pressure as Portugal’s Antonio Silva, Joao Neves and Francisco Conceicao looked on. | Image source: Getty Images

Georgia staged the biggest upset in European Cup history on Wednesday, beating Portugal 2-0 on Wednesday thanks to a goal from Hvitsa Kvaratschlija and a penalty from George Mikotadze to go into the tournament. The knockout stages of their first major tournament.

Although the victory came against essentially second-tier Portugal, which had already advanced to the next round, the victory represented Georgia’s best result since independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

The game was played in front of tens of thousands of rowdy Georgian fans and was the biggest shock in the rankings, with the team ranked 74th in the world against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal, who are ranked sixth and are 2016 European Champion.

Georgia finished a disappointing fourth in European qualifying and had to take a detour to Germany, first winning their group in the less glamorous European Nations Championship and then beating Greece in the play-offs.

But it’s okay for former Bayern Munich and France defender Willy Sagnol and his team to finish third in World Cup Group F and meet three-time European Cup winners Spain in the last 16. inappropriate.

When the two teams met in the World Cup qualifying stages in Germany last September, Spain beat Georgia 7-1 in Tbilisi.

Georgia’s victory also means England will face Slovakia, Romania against the Netherlands and Portugal against Slovenia in the round of 16.

In Wednesday’s other match in Group F, Turkey defeated the 10-man Czech Republic 2-1 to seal their place in the last 16.

Georgia, competing at the World Cup for the first time, took the lead in the second minute when Napoli winger Kvara Tskhelia raced away from an inadvertent pass from Antonio Silva and fired a low shot past Diogo Costa. , scored the Portuguese team’s goal.

Ronaldo was one of only three players in Portugal’s squad to start in Saturday’s 3-0 win over Turkey, and he gave every effort in every goal as he bids to qualify for the European Championships at the age of 39 The oldest goalscorer in history.

But Georgia defended like their lives depended on it and tried to catch Portugal on the break. In the 53rd minute, Silva committed a foul in the penalty area and was awarded a penalty kick after a VAR check, exacerbating the previous mistake.

Mikotadze provided an early pass for Kovara Tskhelia to open the scoring, and his penalty went past Costa to make it three goals for Euro 2024 Top scorer so far.

When Ronaldo was booked for an altercation in the first half and was substituted after half-time, he kicked out a water bottle in frustration. This was the first time in his long career that he failed to score in the group stages of a major international tournament.

Georgia goalkeeper Giorgi Mamadashvili made a late save to keep Portugal at bay, and after full time the rest of the team and coaching staff rushed onto the pitch, jumping and dancing in front of the fans.

The celebration was completely deserved. Georgia came close to a draw with Turkey, but lost 3-1 in their opening match and missed a great chance to beat the Czech Republic in a 1-1 draw a few days later, leaving them on the verge of elimination. — until Wednesday’s historic night.

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