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Georgia Makes History by Beating Portugal, Reaching Euro Knockouts

Georgia Makes History by Beating Portugal, Reaching Euro Knockoutsillustration

In a historic moment for Georgian football, the national team has advanced to the last 16 of following a 2-0 victory over Portugal on Wednesday. This marks Georgia's first appearance at a major international tournament and their greatest triumph to date.

Khvicha opened the scoring in Gelsenkirchen with a fine finish in the second minute, followed by Georges 's successful penalty in the 57th minute, securing the win.

Georgia's players celebrated with their fans after the final whistle, having handed Portugal their first defeat since the 2022 World Cup. This victory allowed Georgia to advance from Group F as one of the four best third-placed finishers. They will face Spain, who won all their group games, on Sunday.

"We just made history, nobody would have believed that we would have made it happen by beating Portugal, but this is why we are a strong team," Kvaratskhelia said. "If there is even one percent chance you can make it happen if you believe."

Portugal, having already secured their spot in the next round as group winners, saw coach Roberto Martinez make eight changes from the team that defeated Turkey to secure first place last weekend. Despite dominating much of the match, Portugal was unable to equalize. Antonio Silva, who lost the ball leading to the first goal, was penalized for light contact with Luka Lochoshvili, resulting in the decisive penalty.

"We didn't underestimate Georgia, but it is true that they were playing the biggest game in their history," Martinez said. "We were playing the last game when we were already top of our group and it was difficult for us to match their intensity."

He added, "We conceded an early goal which is what Georgia wanted and needed. Then after that, we didn't have the clarity, or a good enough final ball, to get in on goal, and their goalkeeper played very well. We couldn't get a goal which gave Georgia extra strength and belief, and they deserved the victory."

Portugal will face Slovenia on Monday, and with no major injuries, Martinez will have a mostly rested first XI to call upon.

Match Recap

Kvaratskhelia capitalized on a mistake by Silva, who lost possession to Mikautadze. Mikautadze, who had scored in both of Georgia's previous matches against Turkey and the Czech Republic, provided a perfectly-weighted pass to Kvaratskhelia. Kvaratskhelia then scored with a precise finish from his favored inside-right channel position.

Following the goal, Georgia focused on defense, successfully fending off Portugal's attacks. Portugal had several chances to equalize, including a free-kick from Cristiano Ronaldo that was saved by Georgia goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili in the 17th minute. Ronaldo was later booked for dissent after a challenge from Lochoshvili.

Despite numerous attempts, including shots from Francisco Conceicao and Joao Felix, Portugal failed to score. Early in the second half, Ronaldo's close-range effort was blocked by Lasha Dvali.

Kvaratskhelia missed an opportunity to extend Georgia's lead before Mikautadze converted a penalty, marking his third goal in three games. Georgia then maintained their lead, making sporadic but dangerous counter-attacks, and ultimately secured their historic win to the delight of their supporters.

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