Euro 2024 Report: Georgia 1 – 1 Czechia

Georges Mikautadze of Georgia celebrates scoring his team’s first goal from a penalty kick during the UEFA EURO 2024 group stage match between Georgia and Czechia at Volksparkstadion on June 22, 2024 in Hamburg, Germany.

Georges Mikautadze of Georgia celebrates scoring his team’s first goal from a penalty kick during the UEFA EURO 2024 group stage match between Georgia and Czechia at Volksparkstadion on June 22, 2024 in Hamburg, Germany. Credit: Photo by Joosep Martinson - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

Macdara Ferris reports from Volksparkstadion in Hamburg

Both sides came into this game having lost their opening Euro 2024 match and so neither could afford to lose if they wanted something to play for in their final group game. 

Both left wondering at what might have been though. The 1-1 draw leaves them both with a chance of progressing to the knock out stage but it was a case of what chances they left behind them untaken. 

Georgia could have won it with the last kick of the game while the Czech’s will wonder just how in Hamburg they didn’t take all three points. 

Actually they needn’t wonder at all as a wonderful performance from Georgian goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili was the reason. The Valencia keeper pulled off a string of high quality saves throughout the match.

Czech defender Robin Hranáč has had a tournament he will want to forget so far.

He mightn’t want to show his face around Pilzen when he gets home after another nightmare intervention for the centre back. Against Portugal in Czechia’s opening game he scored an own goal and his touch set up the winner for the Portuguese late on.

In first half injury time in Hamburg on Saturday afternoon, after 45 minutes of domination by his team, his arm played the ball in an unnatural position and, on a VAR review by German referee Daniel Siebert, he literally handed Georgia a spot kick.

Georges Mikautadze duly dispatched the resulting peno, for his second goal of the tournament, to give Willy Sagnol’s side the lead at the break. 

The Georgian’s had finished fourth in their qualifying group but a route through a decent Nations League campaign and a winning play-off run booked the country’s first trip to the Euros.

Having teams in the tournament who come through this route had some talking about diluting the quality of the event but the Georgian fans brought the colour and noise – especially when Napoli star Khvicha Kvaratskhelia was on the ball - while the team’s defensive system gave them a platform to limit the opposition and attack with pace on the break.

Really though they should have trailed at the break and would have done so other than for a myriad of saves from Mamardashvili. From early till late in the half he kept his team in the match.

In the first three minutes alone he twice denied the top scorer from the last Euros Patrik Schick.

VAR had already played a part earlier in the game when it ruled out a goal for Czechia in the 23rd minute. 

Adam Hlozek had the ball in the net when his shot came back off the face of Mamardashvilli only to ‘Rick O’Shea' into the goal. However on a VAR review a handball in the buildup chalked off that Czech goal. 

Czechia wearing white and being cheered on by their red clad supporting fans looked for one touch passes to beat the Georgian team in red supported by their white clad fans. The final pass just seemed to let them down.

In first half injury time Georgian captain Guram Kashia had a golden chance to get the opener when Kvaratskhelia's free kick came all the way to him in the box. Stanek saved with his feet but the ball was recycled to come back into the box at which point the penalty was won.

There was time for one more Mamardashvili save as diving to his right he denied Schick once again. 

Ten minutes into the second half Ivan Hasek made a double switch to help them back into the game. They were almost caught on the break from a corner when Khvicha Kvaratskhelia drove from inside his half. Anzor Mekvabishvili picked up the pass, cut in but couldn’t direct his shot on target.

Czechia got their goal though finally through Schick with a large slice of fortune as a header from sub Lingr came off the post and Schick, lingering at the back post, had the ball hit him on the chest from close range and go over the line.

Schick didn’t last much longer as he had to come off injured just after substitute Matěj Jurásek had drawn another diving save from Mamardashvili as the pressure continued to pile on Georgia. They were limited to breaking from deep and any team with Kvaratskhelia in it will be a danger. 

Czechia couldn’t find the winner but Georgia had a brilliant chance at the death with a three on one break from their own half but Saba Lobjanidze with the last kick of the game lifted the ball over the bar. The final whistle went with the Georgian players dropping to the ground at what might have been.

However, their campaign goes on but realistically they must beat Portugal in Gelsenkirchen while next up for Czechia is the country rebrand derby against Türkiye back here in Hamburg in their final group game.  

Georgia: Giorgi Mamardashvili; Soloman Kvirkvelia (Giorgi Gvelesiani 82), Guram Kashia, Lasha Dvali; Giorgi Tsitaishvili  (Luka Lochoshvili 62), Zuriko Davitashvili (Giorgi Chakvetadze 63), Anzor Mekvabishvili, Giorgi Kochorashvili, Otar Kakabadze; Georges Mikautadze (Georgi Kvilitaia 88), Khvicha Kvaratskhelia (Saba Lobzhanidze 82);
Subs not used: Luka Gugeshashvili, Giorgi Loria, Giorgi Gocholeishvili, Jemal Tabidze, Levan Shengelia, Nika Kvekveskiri, Sandro Altunashvili, Budu Zivzivadze, Gabriel Sigua, Otar Kiteishvilli.
Booked: Guram Kashia (36), Giorgi Gvelesiani (82), Anzor Mekvabishvili (83), Giorgi Kochorashvili (90+5)

Czechia: Jindřich Staněk; Thomas Holes, Robin Hranáč, Ladislav Krejci; Vladimír Coufal, Lukas Provod (Antonin Barak 81), Tomáš Souček, David Jurásek (Petr Sevcik 81); Vaclav Cerny (Matěj Jurásek 55), Patrik Schick (Mojmír Chytil 69), Adam Hlozek (Ondrej Lingr 55).
Subs not used: Vítězslav Jaroš, Matěj Kovář, Martin Vitik, Tomáš Vlček, David Douděra, David Zima, Pavel Šulc, Lukáš Červ, Jan Kuchta, Tomas Chory.
Booked: Vladimír Coufal (18), Lukas Provod (40), David Jurásek (47), Thomas Holes (53), Tomáš Souček (81).

Referee: Daniel Siebert (Germany) player of the match: Giorgi Mamardashvili (Georgia)