Georgia reach Euro historic 2024

Georgia qualified for Euro 2024 thanks to a 4-2 shootout win over Greece after a tense playoff final ended 0-0 following extra time on Tuesday as they made history by reaching their first major tournament.

Georgia substitute Nika Kvekveskiri converted his spot kick after Greece’s Giorgos Giakoumakis put his penalty wide to send the home crowd wild as their side edged through to the finals.

Georgia will be in Group F alongside Portugal, Turkey and Czech Republic at the Euros in Germany which begin on June 14.

Giorgi Mamardashvili saved Greece’s first effort from Anastasios Bakasetas after the hosts had taken the lead in the shootout but when Georgia’s Georges Mikautadze missed his spot kick the Greeks had renewed hope.

However, Giakoumakis sent Greece’s fourth penalty past the post to leave Georgia’s Kvekveskiri as the hero when he kept his cool and squeezed his right-foot kick into the net.

“Some did not believe in us but now they will believe it. We are happy. I have never had such an emotion in my life,” Georgia talisman Khvicha Kvaratskhelia told 1TV Sport.

The home crowd enjoyed watched Georgia beat Luxembourg 2-0 in the playoff semi-final last Thursday but were made to suffer through Tuesday’s shootout before celebrating as never before.

Manager Willy Sagnol made one change from the Luxembourg win, with key forward Kvaratskhelia returning from suspension, while Greece’s Gus Poyet named the same side after the 5-0 thrashing of Kazakhstan in their semi-final.

NERVY AFFAIR

The game was a scrappy, nervy affair, with chances in normal time few and far between. Tempers flared on the stroke of halftime as both benches spilled onto the pitch with Georgia’s substitute keeper Giorgi Loria shown a red card.

Fouls on Kvaratskhelia led to three bookings for Greek defenders in the first half but the influential forward went off injured in extra time and could only watch from the sidelines as his team mates triumphed in the shootout. – Reuters

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