Georgia 2-0 Portugal: Kvaratskhelia Outshines Ronaldo To Take Underdogs To EURO 2024 Round of 16

Ronaldo And Portugal Lose To Georgia
Ronaldo And Portugal Lose To Georgia

European Championship (EURO) debutants Georgia had little hope of making it to the Round of 16 when they locked horns with Group F winners Portugal for their Matchday 3 clash on Wednesday, June 26. They were toiling in fourth place with a solitary point and needed a win over Cristiano Ronaldo and Co. to progress as one of the best third-placed teams.

Georgia had a mountain to climb, but thanks to spirited performances from every single player in red, they got to the top with a few gallons left in the tank. It was a night of passion, precision, and jubilation from Khvicha Kvaratskhelia’s Georgia, who added another chapter to their already epic EURO 2024 journey.

Georgia Punish Portugal Mistakes In Stellar EURO 2024 Showdown

Most fans inside the Veltins-Arena expected Ronaldo’s Portugal to take the fight to Georgia on Wednesday night. The heavyweights started that way, putting pressure on the underdogs right away. However, a costly mistake from Antonio Silva spilled cold water on Portugal’s hopes for a perfect group stage return.

While trying to play out of the back, Silva squared the ball straight to Georges Mikautaze, who played a through ball for Kvaratskhelia down the left flank. The No. 7 took it in his stride, breached the box, and applied a thumping finish to find the bottom corner.

In the 17th minute, Ronaldo had a go at goal from a 30-yard free-kick. The former Manchester United man struck it well, but the goalkeeper comfortably parried it behind for a corner. Just before the break, Joao Felix had a poke at Giorgi Mamardashvili’s goal. But the Valencia goalkeeper reacted sharply and latched on to the shot.

Mamardashvili made the best save of the match in the 54th minute. Flying to his left, the 23-year-old deflected Diogo Dalot’s outside-the-box piledriver behind for a corner. Portugal failed to make the most of the set-piece, giving possession back to Georgia.

Silva, who handed Georgia their opener on a silver platter, conceded a penalty in the 55th minute, bringing down Luka Lochoshvili inside the box. Designated penalty-taker Mikautaze stepped up to the plate and dispatched a cool spot-kick to give Georgia a 2-0 lead. Portugal pair Nelson Semedo and Francisco Conceicao had opportunities to reduce the deficit in injury time, but their finishing simply was not good enough.

Kvaratskhelia vs Ronaldo In Numbers

There was only one winner in the much-anticipated battle of the No. 7s on Wednesday, with the Napoli man delivering a masterclass in effective wing play. As expected, Kvaratskhelia covered more ground, was more involved in the game, made full use of his nimble feet, and scored a fine goal to fire his team into the lead. Before coming off the pitch in the 82nd minute, Kvaratskhelia lodged two shots on target, completed three dribbles, made five recoveries, won nine duels, and drew four fouls.

Ronaldo, on the other hand, had a subdued game by his world-class standards. The 39-year-old primarily operated in and around the box, looking to put away chances that came his way. Unfortunately for Ronaldo, Georgia did an excellent job at covering him. He could not get involved as much as he liked, only had one shot on target — which came from a free kick — ceded possession twice, and lost both the ground duels he contested. Seeing his hapless state, coach Roberto Martinez hooked him in the 63rd minute.

He will hope his marquee player gets his bearings in order for the Round of 16 bout against Slovenia on Monday night (July 1).

Arrow to top