Georgia Stuns Portugal in Euro 2024 Upset

Georgia’s hero Khvicha Kvaratskhelia credits a pre-match encounter with Cristiano Ronaldo as the catalyst for their historic upset against Portugal in Euro 2024. The 2-0 victory over the reigning champions not only secured Georgia’s spot in the round of 16 but also marked their debut in a major tournament. Kvaratskhelia’s early goal and Georges Mikautadze’s penalty sealed the victory, setting up a meeting with Spain in the knockout stages. The encounter with Ronaldo, who wished him success before the match, instilled a sense of belief in the Georgian team that they could accomplish the unexpected.

Despite having tasted success in club football with Napoli, winning Serie A in 2023, Kvaratskhelia considers the triumph over Portugal as the best day of his life. Playing for his country and creating history on the international stage brought him unparalleled pride and happiness. He expressed gratitude towards Ronaldo for his words of encouragement and emphasized the significance of representing Georgia on such a momentous occasion.

Georgia’s coach Willy Sagnol admitted that he only truly believed in their qualification when the final whistle blew. Drawing parallels to Manchester United’s famous comeback against Bayern Munich in the 1999 Champions League final, Sagnol reflected on the unpredictable nature of football. Despite initial doubts about their chances, the team’s perseverance and dedication ultimately paid off, earning them a spot in the round of 16.

Portugal’s coach Roberto Martínez defended his team against accusations of underestimating Georgia, stating that they approached the game with respect. Despite making eight changes to the starting lineup, Portugal’s performance fell short as they failed to match Georgia’s intensity. Martínez acknowledged Georgia’s goalkeeper Mamardashvili for his outstanding performance and highlighted the missed opportunities that cost Portugal the match.

Portugal, having already secured their place in the next round, will face Slovenia with a revamped lineup including key players like Rúben Dias, Bernardo Silva, and Bruno Fernandes. The absence of goals from Ronaldo in the game marked the end of his streak of scoring in every major tournament group stage since Euro 2004. Georgia’s unexpected victory propelled them into the round of 16 as one of the best-ranked third-placed teams, while Turkey advanced as runners-up behind Portugal. Turkey is set to meet Austria in the next stage of the competition.

Georgia’s triumph over Portugal in Euro 2024 serves as a testament to the unpredictable and captivating nature of football. The underdog’s victory, fueled by belief, determination, and the support of a football icon like Ronaldo, showcases the magic of the beautiful game and the endless possibilities it presents. As the tournament progresses, the stage is set for more surprises, upsets, and memorable moments that define the essence of football.

Cristiano Ronaldo

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