Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Preview: Georgia vs. Portugal – prediction, team news, lineups – Sports Mole


With spot top in Group F already secured, Portugal will be looking to continue their positive momentum as they face competition newcomers Georgia in Euro 2024 on Wednesday night in Gelsenkirchen.
The Selecao’s back-to-back successes over the Czech Republic and Turkey have sealed a berth in the knockout stages with a game to spare, whilst the Crusaders know that only an unlikely three points would be enough to see them escape the section.

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo pictured on June 22, 2024© Reuters
Following a last-gasp 2-1 win over the Czech Republic during their maiden game of this summer’s European Championships, Portugal joined Germany and Spain as the only three nations to win their opening two matches, with the Selecao dispatching a leaky Turkey side in Dortmund on Saturday evening.
Mirroring his excellent performances as part of Pep Guardiola‘s juggernaut at Manchester City, Bernardo Silva fired Portugal ahead in the 21st minute, before a comical own goal from Turkey’s Samet Akaydin ensured that Roberto Martinez‘s men were two in front at the half-time whistle.
Highlights of the second period at Signal Iduna Park included Manchester United captain Bruno Fernandes extending his side’s advantage to three just prior to the half mark, alongside numerous occasions when supporters invaded the pitch to snap a picture with Cristiano Ronaldo.
The former Real Madrid star will make his 50th appearance at a major tournament for Portugal should he feature against Georgia on Wednesday evening, when the Selecao could be off the boil slightly considering that they have already wrapped up the title of Group F winners.
That being said, Martinez’s troops will remain a stern test for Georgia regardless of section permutations, with Portugal winning 15 and losing just two of their 17 international contests since exiting the 2022 World Cup at the hands of Morocco during the quarter-final stage.
Georgia's Georges Mikautadze celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on June 22, 2024© Reuters
After pushing Turkey all the way during their Group F opener but ultimately falling short on the day, Georgia recorded their first-ever point at a major tournament in their second match, with the Crusaders forcing the Czech Republic to share the spoils at Volksparkstadion in Hamburg on Saturday afternoon.
Netting for the second time in as many Euro matches – keeping up his unlikely pursuit of the competition’s Golden Boot – Ajax marksman Georges Mikautadze put Georgia ahead with a penalty in the closing stages of the first half, but Narodak restored parity in the second period courtesy of Bayer Leverkusen’s Patrik Schick.
In breaching the net of Czech Republic goalkeeper Jindrich Stanek, Metz loanee Mikautadze became only the sixth player to score the first two goals for his country at a major tournament, and the first since Andriy Shevchenko managed the commendable feat for Ukraine in 2012.
Heading into a crunch clash on Wednesday night, the Crusaders face an uphill task in making it out of their European Championships section at the first time of asking, with Willy Sagnol‘s side realistically requiring three points in order to at least finish as one of the best third-placed teams.
Wednesday’s meeting in the mining city of Gelsenkirchen will be only the second between Portugal and Georgia, with the Selecao winning a friendly fixture against the Crusaders back in 2008, when former Wolverhampton Wanderers midfield Joao Moutinho and Simao made the net ripple.

Portugal's Francisco Conceicao celebrates scoring against Czech Republic on June 18, 2024© Reuters
After picking up two yellow cards in the opening two matches of the competition, Rafael Leao will be unable to feature for Portugal on Wednesday night in Gelsenkirchen.
As a result, Martinez will need to come up with solutions on the left side of his attack, where Wolves talisman Pedro Neto could be in line for a start.
Both walking the suspension tightrope, midfielder enforcer Joao Palhinha and last week’s matchwinner Francisco Conceicao are a caution away from suspension.
With top spot already sealed, it remains to be seen whether 39-year-old Ronaldo will lead the line for Portugal once again, with Paris Saint-Germain’s Goncalo Ramos representing a capable deputy.
Following a respectable point against the Czech Republic last time out, Georgia are expected to name an unchanged XI for their final Group F match.
Although yet to find the net this summer, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia remains the main man for the Crusaders and will be looking to produce a historic moment on Wednesday.
After picking up a yellow card on Saturday, captain Guram Kashia will need to avoid another caution if he wishes to be available for a potential round-of-16 tie.

Georgia possible starting lineup:
Mamardashvili; Kverkveliya, Kashia, Dvali; Kakabadze, Mekvabishvili, Kochorashvili, Tsitaishvili; Davitashvili, Kvaratskhelia; Mikautadze
Portugal possible starting lineup:
Costa; Semedo, A Silva, Dias, Cancelo; Neves, Palhinha; B Silva, Fernandes, Felix; Ronaldo

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Although their matches have been exciting to watch for neutrals so far, Georgia have been vulnerable in defence and any such frailties will be exposed by Portugal in this one.
Pushing for the win they require to progress, the Crusaders are set to leave gaps for the Selecao to exploit, likely leading to a comfortable win for Martinez’s men, regardless of how heavily they opt to rotate.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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