Euro 2024: Georgia makes history, 2-0 against Portugal with super Kvara and eighth-finals reached


By John

Georgia-Portugal 2-0
NETWORKS: 2′ pt Kvaratskhelia; 12′ st Mikautadze.
GEORGIA (3-5-2):
Mamardashvili 7.5; Gvelesiani 7 (31′ st Kvirkvelia sv), Kashia 7, Dvali 7; Kakabadze 7, Chakvetadze 6.5 (36′ st Mekvabishvili sv), Kochorashvili 7, Kiteishvili 6.5, Lochoshvili 7 (18′ st Tsitaishvili 6.5); Mikautadze 7.5, Kvaratskhelia 7.5 (37′ st Davitashvili sv). On the bench: Loria, Zivzivadze, Kvilitaia, Gugeshashvili, Gocholeishvili, Kvekveskiri, Altunashvili, Shengelia, Lobhanidze, Tabidze, Sigua. Coach: Sagnol 7.
PORTUGAL (3-4-3): Diogo Costa 6; Antonio Silva 4 (20′ st Semedo 6), Danilo Pereira 5, Gonçalo Inacio 5.5; Dalot 5, Palhinha 5 (1′ st Ruben Neves 5.5), Joao Neves 5.5 (30′ st Matheus Nunes sv), Pedro Neto 5 (30′ st Diogo Jota sv); Conceiçao 6, Ronaldo 5 (20′ st Gonçalo Ramos 5.5), Joao Felix 5.5. On the bench: Rui Patricio, José Sá, Pepe, Ruben Dias, Bruno Fernandes, Nuno Mendes, Joao Cancelo, Vitinha. Coach: Martinez 5.
REFEREE: Scharer (Switzerland) 6.
NOTE: clear skies, pitch in good condition. Yellow cards: Ronaldo, Pedro Neto, Ruben Neves, Mekvabishvili. Corners 11-1 for Portugal. Injury time: 2′; 5′.

Georgia achieved a feat that few believed in: they beat Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal 2-0 and qualified for the first time in their history to the round of 16 of the European Championship. Credit goes to Kvaratskhelia, finally in Napoli’s ‘scudetto’ form, and Mikautadze, still scoring and top scorer of the tournament with three goals. But the result is also a demerit of the Portuguese, already certain of qualification before the match, and who appeared imprecise and lacking in determination. The Georgians are third in the group with four points, behind the Portuguese and Turkey: on Sunday they will face Spain. Sagnol relies on his best man: Kvaratskhelia – who wins the challenge of the n.7s with Ronaldo – with freedom of action supported by Mikautadze and Chakvetadze. Lokoshvili returns to defense. Martinez makes a hint of rotation giving space to the young Conceiçao and Joao Felix in support of Cristiano Ronaldo in the center. Palinha in midfield. In defense the experienced Pepe rests. The young Antonio Silva plays but will have a disastrous match. Georgia appeared more determined from the first whistle, certainly more than the Portuguese who were very fussy in the first exchanges. And it was precisely from a mistake by the Portuguese in midfield that the goal was created: Antonio Silva made a simple mistake and gifted the ball to Mikautadze. The Metz striker launched Kvaratskhelia who, very quickly, entered the area from the left and beat Diogo Costa with a diagonal shot. Portugal went in search of an equaliser by maintaining possession of the ball, while the Georgians tried to strike on the counter. In the 17th minute Ronaldo tried to resolve the situation with a powerful free kick from distance which was blocked by Mamardashvili. The best opportunity fell to Conceicao who however kicked wide on a rebound from the goalkeeper who was coming out. Ronaldo did not want to lose and in the 28th minute he also received a yellow card for protesting. Conceicao came close to equalising again at the half hour mark. Portugal pushed forward but the half ended with the score 1-0 for the Georgians. In the second half Martinez made only one substitution. Georgia enters with more confidence in their own abilities and looks for the shot. After 10 minutes the turning point comes: Kiteishvili is touched in the area by Antonio Silva. The referee whistles a penalty. Mikautadze takes the spot and scores his third goal, becoming the tournament’s top scorer. Martinez calls Antonio Silva, author of the two errors that gave rise to the Georgian goals, and Cristiano Ronaldo, who appeared particularly nervous, to the bench. The Portuguese look for the goal but risk succumbing several times to the outbursts of Kvara and Mikautadze. It ends 2-0 amidst the cheers of celebration from the Georgian fans.