Georgia Defeats Portugal in UEFA Euro 2024 with A Stunning 2-0 Victory

Georgia, the tournament’s debutants, stunned the football world by defeating Portugal 2-0 in an incredible turn of events at the UEFA Euro 2024.

Georgia’s first major tournament victory was made possible by an early goal from Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and a penalty kick from Georges Mikautadze.

Georgia Defeats Portugal in UEFA Euro 2024 with A Stunning 2-0 Victory
During the UEFA EURO 2024 group stage match between Georgia and Portugal at Arena AufSchalke on June 26, 2024 in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, Antonio Silva, Joao Neves, and Francisco Conceicao of Portugal watch as Khvicha Kvaratskhelia of Georgia breaks into the box under pressure from Diogo Dalot of Portugal. Photo Credit: Getty Images

After just ninety-three seconds, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia of Georgia, the tournament newcomers, gave them the lead against Portugal.

Georgia advanced to the knockout stage of their first international tournament with a 2-0 victory over Portugal on Wednesday, pulling off the biggest upset in European history with to goals from Georges Mikautadze and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia early in the game.

The victory was Georgia’s best performance since gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, even if it came against a largely inferior Portugal team that had advanced to the following round.

The match, which took place in front of tens of thousands of boisterous Georgian supporters, was also the biggest surprise because the squad, ranked 74th in the world, went up against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal, who were ranked sixth and the 2016 European Champions.

Georgia had to travel a roundabout road to Germany after finishing a disappointing fourth in their qualifiers. First, they had to win their group in the less glamorous Euro Nations competition, and then they had to defeat Greece in a play-off.

However, there was nothing unjust about the manner in which head coach Willy Sagnol—a former defender for France and Bayern Munich—and his team secured third place in the competition’s Group F, securing a matchup with three-time European champion Spain in the round of sixteen.

Spain easily defeated Georgia 7-1 in Tbilisi when the two teams faced off in September of last year during the tournament’s qualifying round in Germany, but Sagnol gave off the impression that he was indifferent to the difficulty of the task at hand.

“You know you have nothing to lose when you are the little team competing.”You don’t have any responsibility,” Sagnol informed the press. “I don’t have many words for today. Being their manager makes me incredibly proud.”

Georgia’s victory also ensures that in the round of sixteen, Portugal will play Slovenia, Romania will play the Netherlands, and England will play Slovakia. Hungary was eliminated, despite having a chance to advance to the next round.

In Wednesday’s other Group F encounter, Turkey defeated the 10-man Czech Republic 2-1 to secure their spot in the round of sixteen. The Czechs will now return home.

After just 93 seconds, Georgia, who were making their tournament debut, seized the lead when Kvaratskhelia sped away from Antonio Silva’s clumsy ball and blasted a low shot past Diogo Costa in Portugal’s goal.

“It’s the greatest day of my life,” declared the Napoli wide player. “We’ve created history, and nobody thought we could defeat Portugal. However, we proved to everyone that the Georgian team is capable of doing it.”

Ronaldo, who started Saturday’s 3-0 victory over Turkey as one of just three starts for Portugal, strained and stretched for every ball in an attempt to break the record for the oldest goal scorer at a European championship with his age of 39.

However, Georgia attempted to catch Portugal on the break and defended as though their lives depended on it. After a VAR examination, Silva’s foul in the box in the 53rd minute exacerbated his earlier mistake and resulted in a penalty.

Also Read: Euro 2024: Austria Triumphs Over Netherlands in Thrilling Encounter

Georgia Defeats Portugal in UEFA Euro 2024 with A Stunning 2-0 Victory
Khvicha Kvaratskhelia celebrates scoring the first goal of the game to put Georgia ahead. Photo Credit: Sky Sports

After setting up Kvaratskhelia for the first goal early on, Mikautadze converted a penalty kick past Costa to take the lead in goals scored at Euro 2024 with three goals.

After being penalized for arguing in the first half, Ronaldo appeared irritated when he was replaced and threw a water bottle. In his lengthy career, this is the first time he has failed to score in a major international competition during the group stage.

Portugal’s coach, Roberto Martinez, claimed his team was unable to match their opponents’ rigor.

“We didn’t underestimate Georgia, but Georgia were playing the game of their history … and we were playing the last game when we were already top of the group,” he stated.

Giorgi Mamardashvili, the goalkeeper for Georgia, produced clutch saves late in the game to keep Portugal at bay. Following the conclusion of play, the players and coaching staff ran onto the field to jump and dance in front of their supporters.

The festivities were richly merited. Georgia was dangerously close to elimination until Wednesday’s historic night in Gelsenkirchen. The team fell 3-1 to Turkey in their opening game and wasted a wonderful opportunity to defeat the Czech Republic a few days later in a 1-1 draw.

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