Georgia reach last 16 with famous win over Portugal

Group F

Georgia 2-0 Portugal

Georgia stunned Portugal to reach the knockouts at Euro 2024 at their first ever major tournament with a 2-0 win over the former European champions, settled by an early Khvicha Kvaratskhelia strike and a Georges Mikautadze penalty.

The win, albeit against a largely second-string Portugal who had already made it into the next round, represented the greatest result for Georgia since the country gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia gives Georgia a very early lead.

Having come a disappointing fourth in their Euro qualifying group, Georgia had to take a circuitous route to Germany, first by winning their group in the less glamorous Euro Nations tournament and then defeating Greece in a play-off.

But there was nothing undeserved about the way Coach Willy Sagnol, the former Bayern Munich and France defender, and his side claimed a third-place finish in the tournament’s Group F and set up a last-16 meeting with three-time Euro winners Spain.

Georgia’s win also means that England will line up against Slovakia, Romania take on Netherlands and Portugal face Slovenia in the round of 16. Hungary, who had been in contention for a spot in the next round, were edged out.

Georges Mikautadze doubles Georgia’s advantage from the penalty spot.

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

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

But Georgia defended as if their lives depended upon it and sought to catch Portugal on the break. In the 53rd minute, Silva compounded his earlier error by committing a foul in the box that was awarded a penalty after a VAR check.

Giorgi Mamardashvili denies Nelson Semedo.

Mikautadze, who had provided the pass for Kvaratskhelia to open the scoring early on, steered 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 cut a frustrated figure when he was substituted after the break, kicking out at a water bottle.

Georgia goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili made late saves to keep Portugal at bay in the final minutes, and at full time Georgia’s squad and coaching staff sprinted on to the field to celebrate in front of thousands of their fans.

Today’s other results:

Group F

  • Czech Republic 1-2 Turkey

Group E

  • Slovakia 1-1 Romania
  • Ukraine 0-0 Belgium

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