Key Players for Georgia at Euro 2024

On 26 March, the people of Georgia witnessed the historical success of their national football team which secured a spot in their first-ever major international tournament. Representing a relatively small country in the Caucasus region, Georgian internationals qualified for Euro 2024 through a successful playoff round. They secured a confident 2-0 victory over Luxembourg in the semifinals before clinching the final against Greece in a tense penalty shootout.

The final match was held in Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital, allowing the Georgian team to enjoy massive support from the energized home crowd. After Georgia’s substitute Nika Kvekveskiri scored a vital penalty to win the game, the scenes in the stadium were magical. Filled with genuine euphoria, Georgian supporters flooded onto the pitch to congratulate their players on their historic achievement.

As all the Euro 2024 participants are now revealed and groups are set, it is interesting to contemplate who Georgia will potentially be relying on the most during the tournament.

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia

Not many will deny that Khvicha Kvaratskhelia is a player of the strongest calibre in the Georgian national squad. 23-year-old Napoli winger joined the Italian club in July 2022 and quickly made a name for himself in Europe.

He emerged as a true revelation of the previous season, leading Napoli to their first Scudetto since the 1989/90 campaign. He also helped the team reach the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals, the club’s best achievement in the competition. By the end of the season, Kvaratskhelia accumulated 14 goals and 17 assists in 43 matches for Napoli and was recognized as the club’s Player of the Year.

Kvaratskhelia’s masterful dribbling and beautiful playmaking are his main weapons. His elegance with the ball on the football pitch earned him a trending nickname “Kvaradona,” forming a link with an Argentinian club legend Diego Maradona who had played in a similar style.

In the current 2023/24 season, things are not going as smoothly as they used to for both Kvaratskhelia and Napoli. While the Georgian star has been experiencing setbacks in his individual performances, Napoli is struggling in the Serie A and was recently been eliminated by Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League round of 16.

Despite the ongoing challenges, a three-time Georgian Player of the Year Kvaratskhelia’s craft is hardly comparable to any other Georgian player. He should enter Euro 2024 as the Georgian national team’s main and most powerful figure.

Giorgi Mamardashvili

Another young talent Georgia may count on is 23-year-old Valencia goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili. Since moving to the ranks of the Spanish club from his motherland in 2021, Mamardashvili has faced stiff competition for the starting place in goal for Valencia. With time and reliable goalkeeping displays, the Georgian goalie secured his spot in Valencia’s starting 11, being preferred over experienced options such as Jasper Cillessen and Jaume Doménech.

Since the beginning of the 2022/23 season, Mamardashvili has been a constant La Liga starter for Valencia. He has achieved notable feats with the Spanish club this season, including setting the goalkeeper record for the most consecutive La Liga starts (66) and surpassing his own record for the highest number of clean sheets (9) in the domestic competition.

The goalie’s recent contributions to the Georgian national team are evident, as he kept a clean sheet in both matches of the Euro 2024 playoff round and saved a penalty from Anastasios Bakasetas in the final shootout versus Greece.

Georgia’s Euro 2024 group

Euro 2024 is hosted by Germany and will kickstart on 14 June. Georgia will play in Group F alongside Portugal, Türkiye and Czechia. While Georgia will be considered underdogs in the upcoming tournament, big surprises are always possible. Examples of such are the magical Euro 2016 journeys of Wales and Iceland.

With Kvaratskhelia and Mamardashvili leading the team, Georgia has the capacity to gift the Georgian football fans another special memory for life.

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