Georgia stage historic Euro shock by beating Portugal 2-0


Georgia staged the biggest upset in Euro history with a 2-0 win over Portugal to advance into the knock-out phase of their first major tournament.

The win, albeit against a largely second-string Portugal who had already made it into the next round, represented the greatest result for Georgia since the country gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Goals from Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and a Georges Mikautadze penalty sealed the historic win.

Played out in front of tens of thousands of raucous Georgia fans, it was also the biggest shock based on rankings which put the team rated 74th in the world against Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal who were ranked sixth and were Euro champions in 2016.

Having come a disappointing fourth in their qualifiers, Georgia had to take a circuitous route to Germany, first by winning their group in the less glamorous Euro Nations tournament and then defeating Greece in a play-off.

But there was nothing undeserved about the way coach Willy Sagnol, the former Bayern Munich and France defender, and his side claimed a third-place finish in the tournament's Group F and set up a last-16 meeting with three-time Euro winners Spain.

When those two sides met last September in the qualifying stage for the tournament in Germany, Spain thrashed Georgia 7-1 in Tbilisi, but Sagnol sounded as if he could not care less about the scale of the challenge ahead.

"When you are the small team of the competition... you know you have nothing to lose...You have no weight on your shoulders," Sagnol told reporters. "Today I don't have a lot of words. I feel very proud to be their manager."

Georgia's win also means that England will line up against Slovakia, Romania take on Netherlands and Portugal face Slovenia in the round of 16. Hungary, who had been in contention for a spot in the next round, were edged out.

In the other Group F match on Wednesday, Turkey booked their place in the last 16 with a 2-1 win over 10-man Czech Republic, who now head home.

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