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Georgia First-Ever Euros Appearance: A Long Time Coming

Image of the Georgian flag with a football in front of it

Georgia’s first-ever Euros has been a long time coming. For a country that has produced so many excellent players over the years, Euro 2024 will finally see a Georgian team in its first major tournament.

The Road to Georgia’s First-Ever Euros Appearance

A Dramatic Qualification

Georgia qualified for its first Euros in dramatic fashion. With their playoff final with Greece ending goalless, it took a penalty shootout to decide the outcome. The Georgians triumphed 4-2 against the Euro 2004 winners in Tbilisi.

Winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia is undoubtedly the star of the team and is one of the brightest young talents in football today. He was also one of the main reasons the Crusaders qualified for Euro 2024 in Germany. Already, at the age of 23, Kvaratskhelia is considered one of the best players in Georgia’s history.

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The attacker was also a key part of the Napoli side that won Serie A in the 2022/23 season. For his performances (including twelve goals and ten assists), he was named Serie A’s Most Valuable Player. While, for his performances in the Champions League in the same campaign, he was named that competition’s best young player.

A Tricky Group For The Euros Newcomers

Dortmund is the venue for Georgia’s first game at Euro 2024. Turkey will be their opponent in Group F. The Turks will be tough opposition, as they were impressive during qualifying. But the Crusader’s next obstacle will be the Czech Republic in Hamburg. This will be a game that the Georgians will have hopes of getting a result from, as the Czechs are certainly the least formidable of their three opponents.

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Portugal in Gelsenkirchen, on paper, is the most difficult game for the Euros newcomers. As the Portuguese are one of the favourites to win the competition, even a draw will feel like a victory for the underdogs.

When Dinamo Tbilisi Was One Of Europe’s Best

Georgia has produced a raft of excellent players. Some even took part in the first European Championship in 1960. When the Soviet Union beat Yugoslavia 2-1 in the final in Paris, the Soviet side included three Georgians.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Georgia’s best team was Dinamo Tbilisi. Champions of the Soviet Union in 1978, Dinamo Tbilisi also won the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1981. Older Liverpool fans will also have bad memories of playing them in the first round of the old European Cup in 1979, when they crashed out of the competition 3-0 (4-2 on aggregate) in the Georgian capital.

The most notable players of this golden period in the club’s history, included striker Ramaz Shengelia, defender Aleksandre Chivadze, who captained the Soviet Union’s World Cup side in Spain in 1982, and midfielder David Kipiani.

Since then Georgian players have played for English and Scottish club sides. These include former Manchester City and Derby County midfielder Georgi Kinkladze, ex-Newcastle United, Wolves and Dundee midfielder and winger Temur Ketsbaia, and striker Shota Arveladze, who played for Glasgow Rangers.


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