Georgia make history, stun Portugal to reach last-16 stage of Euro 2024

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and Georges Mikautadze scored the goals as Georgia recorded a 2-0 victory over Portugal on Wednesday evening to advance to the last-16 stage of Euro 2024.

Georgia, in their first-ever major tournament, needed to overcome one of the tournament favourites in order to secure a dream position in the knockout round of the European Championship.

Kvaratskhelia sent his side ahead in the second minute of the contest, before Mikautadze registered from the penalty spot in the 57th minute to give Portugal a mountain to climb.

Portugal had already won the group ahead of the contest, and Roberto Martinez’s side will take on Slovenia in the next round, while Georgia will tackle Spain, having finished in third position in Group F on four points, enough to progress to the next stage.

Kvaratskhelia said ahead of the contest that he had “always dreamed about playing against Cristiano Ronaldo”, branding the legendary forward his “idol”.

However, it was the Napoli attacker that stole the headlines here; the roof came off inside the stadium in the second minute of the contest, with Kvaratskhelia breaking into the Portugal box before expertly firing the ball past goalkeeper Diogo Costa and into the back of the net.

Antonio Silva will not want to see the goal again, with the Benfica centre-back giving the ball straight to Mikautadze, who then found the Napoli attacker, and it was 1-0 to Georgia soon after.

Ronaldo tested the power of the Georgia goalkeeper’s hands in the 17th minute with a rasping free kick from distance; Portugal were threatening, but their frustration was shown in the 28th minute when Ronaldo picked up a yellow card for arguing with the referee over a potential penalty decision.

Ronaldo, who cut an unhappy figure before being replaced in the second half, was again involved in the 35th minute, but the forward’s strike from close range was deflected behind for a corner, with Georgia working incredibly hard to keep their lead heading into the half-time interval.

The Al-Nassr forward had another one deflected just over early in the second period, before Kvaratskhelia failed to make the most of a huge opportunity, with the Napoli attacker unable to beat Portugal goalkeeper Costa from inside the box, but the second goal was coming for Georgia.

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