Sunday, April 21, 2024

Prediction: Georgia vs Greece

Veselin Trajkovic in Free Soccer Predictions 25 Mar 2024

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Verdict: Away win

Best odds: 5/4

Bookmaker: Olympusbet

Georgia is on the brink of making history as they host Greece in Tuesday’s Euro 2024 qualifying playoff Path C semi-final in Tbilisi, just 90 minutes away from their first-ever appearance at a major tournament.

Willy Sagnol’s team secured their spot in the showpiece event with a commanding 2-0 victory over 10-man Luxembourg in the semi-final showdown. Meanwhile, the Pirate Ship Crew sailed to a resounding 5-0 victory over Kazakhstan in their semi-final clash.

Georgia

In the absence of Napoli’s Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, who was serving a suspension, there may have been a glimmer of hope for Luxembourg as they faced Georgia in the semifinal. However, Karlsruher SC striker Budu Zivzivadze emerged as the hero in Kvaratskhelia’s place, scoring twice to secure victory for Georgia. Despite Luxembourg’s hopes for a second-half turnaround, Maxime Chanot’s dismissal dashed their chances.

With this win, Georgia have moved one step closer to their first major tournament appearance. They now only need one more victory to achieve this milestone and complete Euro 2024 Group F, where Portugal, Turkey, and the Czech Republic await.

Securing a spot in Euro 2024 would mark a significant achievement for Georgia, representing their remarkable rise in recent years. Since the inception of the Nations League in 2018, they have climbed from the fourth to the second tier. However, their 10-2 aggregate loss to Spain in Euros qualifying served as a harsh reality check.

Nevertheless, Georgia have shown resilience, with their only defeat in their last five matches across all competitions being against Spain. Moreover, they have consistently found the back of the net, scoring at least twice in four of their last five fixtures. It has been nearly two years since they were last shut out on home turf, highlighting their strength in front of their own fans.

Team News

With Khvicha Kvaratskhelia now available for selection after serving his suspension, he is likely to reclaim his place in the Georgia XI. However, Budu Zivzivadze, who deputized admirably in Kvaratskhelia’s absence, deserves to retain his spot in the starting lineup.

As a result, Georges Mikautadze of Metz, who has been leading the line, may make way for Kvaratskhelia. Fortunately, there have been no new injury concerns for coach Sagnol following the victory over Luxembourg, allowing him to field an otherwise unchanged team.

Valencia goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili, who has previously been linked with a move to the Premier League, will continue to guard the posts for Georgia. The team is expected to maintain their 3-5-2 formation, with Levan Shengelia of Panetolikos, based in Greece, operating as the left wing-back.

Greece

Greece’s attacking prowess was on full display in their semi-final against Kazakhstan, as Gus Poyet’s side secured a convincing 5-0 victory at the Agia Sophia Stadium.

The onslaught began early, with four goals scored in the opening 40 minutes by Anastasios Bakasetas, Dimitrios Pelkas, Fotis Ioannidis, and Dimitrios Kourbelis. Erkin Tapalov’s late own goal further compounded Kazakhstan’s misery.

Carrying the momentum from a positive end to 2023, where Greece defeated New Zealand 2-0 and held France to a commendable 2-2 draw, the Euro 2004 winners – celebrating the 20th anniversary of their historic continental triumph – head to Tbilisi with just one loss in their last six matches.

Apart from the defeat to the Netherlands, Greece have scored multiple goals in each of their other five games during this period. A similar attacking display against Georgia would see them qualify for the Euros after a 12-year absence, having missed out on both the 2016 and 2020 editions.

In terms of head-to-head matchups, Greece hold a strong record against Georgia, having avoided defeat in all nine of their previous encounters, winning seven of them. This includes a 2-0 victory in Batumi during the 2022 World Cup qualifications.

Team News

Despite the comprehensive victory over Kazakhstan, Gus Poyet did not witness any of his players sustain injuries or pick up milestone bookings. However, centre-back Pantelis Hatzidiakos was substituted during halftime.

Given that Hatzidiakos was already on a booking, Poyet may have withdrawn him to avoid a potential sending-off and subsequent suspension for Tuesday’s final. This suggests that Hatzidiakos is likely to resume his role alongside Dinos Mavropanos in Tbilisi.

Despite being demoted to third choice at Nottingham Forest behind Matz Sels and Matt Turner, Odysseas Vlachodimos retains his status as the number one goalkeeper for Greece. The victory over Kazakhstan was his 40th match for his country.

Conclusion

The return of a well-rested Khvicha Kvaratskhelia is undoubtedly a significant boost for Georgia ahead of this momentous occasion. The formidable Tbilisi crowd is expected to play a crucial role in supporting their team’s efforts.

A showdown between two prolific attacking teams promises to be a thrilling spectacle for neutral spectators. However, considering Greece’s dominant performance against the previously impressive Kazakhstan side, Gus Poyet’s men are favored to secure a return to the biggest continental stage and prolong Georgia’s wait for a maiden appearance in a major tournament.

Verdict: Away win

Best odds: 5/4

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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