Georgia on their mind: How a Frenchman, Englishman and local genius are taking Euro 2024 by storm

The Georgia team lining up at Euro 2024
The Georgia team lining up at Euro 2024 (Image credit: Getty Images)

The ball hits the net, and bearded defensive midfielder Nika Kvekveskiri hesitates for a split-second, almost unwilling to believe the enormity of what he’s just done. The sight of his crazed, jubilant team-mates rushing towards him confirms that, yes, his successful penalty – a perfectly placed right-foot shot that rolls, slow motion-like – is indeed the clincher. Yes, Nika, this really is happening. Yes, Nika, you have just qualified Georgia for a first major tournament.

It’s March 26, 2024, a date to be circled forever more in Georgian history books. The nerveless Kvekveskiri’s spot-kick has secured a 4-2 penalty shootout win for Georgia over Greece, in the play-off final for Euro 2024.

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James Eastham

James Eastham is a specialist writer covering French football. He has written for The Guardian, The Independent and When Saturday Comes magazine. He’s interviewed many leading figures in the French game, including Didier Deschamps and Kylian Mbappe. For a decade he also worked as a freelance football scout, covering games at all levels from U16 to the senior national team across France

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