Friday, July 12, 2024

Prediction: Georgia vs Czech Republic

Verdict: Draw

Best odds: 11/4

Bookmaker: Olympusbet

With both teams yet to earn a point in Group F, Georgia and the Czech Republic will be eager to secure their first win at Euro 2024 when they clash on Saturday evening.

Following defeats in their opening matches, this fixture in Hamburg marks their first-ever meeting, and another loss for either side would severely damage their chances of progressing in the tournament.

Georgia

Starting their inaugural European Championship campaign in Dortmund, Georgia engaged Turkey in a thrilling encounter that captivated spectators right through a dramatic stoppage-time finish.

Georges Mikautadze equalized for Georgia after Mert Muldur’s brilliant strike had given Turkey the lead, marking Georgia’s first-ever goal at a major tournament and igniting celebrations among their supporters.

Willy Sagnol’s side unleashed 14 shots on goal, the highest by any tournament debutant since Austria in 2008. However, they were undone by two additional goals, including a late third when goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili ventured upfield in a bid to level the score.

Historically, only two teams have lost their opening Euro matches but still advanced beyond the group stage—Slovakia and Northern Ireland, both in 2016—leaving Georgia with a chance to join this exclusive list.

Facing group favorites Portugal in their final group game, Georgia will look to Mikautadze and standout player Khvicha Kvaratskhelia for a boost against the Czech Republic, who also lost their opening match on Tuesday.

A single point this weekend could keep Georgia’s hopes of reaching the knockout stage alive.

Team News

Following an fine display in their defeat to Turkey, Willy Sagnol is unlikely to make significant changes to Georgia’s starting XI for Saturday’s game.

As a result, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, the leading active scorer for his nation with 15 goals, will continue to partner Georges Mikautadze up front. Giorgi Kochorashvili, currently playing for Levante in Spain’s second tier, is expected to retain his spot in midfield.

If Sagnol opts for adjustments in defence, Cremonese’s Luka Lochoshvili could be a candidate for inclusion. Meanwhile, Zuriko Davitashvili presents a more attacking alternative on the wings.

Czech Republic

A draw would keep the Czech Republic’s hopes alive as well, but they face elimination if they lose and Turkey do not lose to Portugal later that day.

Despite taking the lead with Lukas Provod’s 62nd-minute goal, Ivan Hasek’s side allowed Portugal to equalize through an own goal by Robin Hranac in Leipzig, and substitute Francisco Conceicao secured the winner for the Selecao, leaving the Czechs empty-handed. The Czech Republic, who completed the fewest passes of any team in the first round of Euro 2024 matches and had only eight touches in the opposition’s box, thus saw their hopes dashed despite being close to a valuable point.

Having lost seven of their 12 group matches since the 2008 finals, and after almost taking a precious point, the 1996 runners-up need a win to avoid an early exit. A more aggressive approach will be expected against Georgia, and facing more modest opposition should allow for a different game plan.

Team News

Patrik Schick, who is the top scorer in the Czech Republic’s squad with 19 goals, will be eager to add to his tally after failing to score on Tuesday. The Bayer Leverkusen striker is aiming to replicate his impressive form from Euro 2020, where he netted five times.

Key players for Ivan Hasek’s side include the influential West Ham duo, Tomas Soucek and Vladimir Coufal, who will be crucial in central midfield and at right wing-back, respectively.

Slavia Prague’s Jindrich Stanek, who made seven saves against Portugal – the highest of any goalkeeper in the first round of group games – will continue to be a vital part of the Czech Republic’s defensive setup.

Conclusion

Facing the need to secure victory in their second Group F match, the Czech Republic could be vulnerable against a bold Georgia team in Hamburg.

Sagnol’s side, playing without significant pressure, possesses enough attacking creativity to secure their first-ever point at the European Championship.

Verdict: Draw

Best odds: 11/4

Bookmaker: Olympusbet

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Veselin Trajkovic


Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on seven different football blogs.

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