Portugal Dominates, Georgia Shines

Portugal Dominates, Georgia Shines

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By Akinsuroju Olubunmi

Portugal Dominates, Georgia Shines

Portugal Dominates, Georgia Shines

Portugal outclassed Turkey to secure their place in the last 16 of Euro 2024 with a 3-0 win in Dortmund on Saturday, while Georgia claimed a historic first point at a major tournament with a 1-1 draw against the Czech Republic.


Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portuguese side, European champions in 2016, showcased their title potential with a comprehensive victory in front of a partisan crowd, securing first place in Group F. Bernardo Silva of Manchester City opened the scoring midway through the first half, sweeping the ball home after a deflected Nuno Mendes cross.


Portugal doubled their lead just before the half-hour mark in comical fashion. A poor pass by Joao Cancelo, aimed at Ronaldo, led to a botched backpass from Samet Akaydin that rolled beyond goalkeeper Altay Bayindir despite Zeki Celik’s efforts to clear.


Turkey never looked likely to recover, and Portugal added a third goal early in the second half as Ronaldo, finding himself in on goal, unselfishly squared the ball for Bruno Fernandes to finish.


With six points from two matches, Portugal is now certain to top the group even before playing Georgia in Gelsenkirchen on Wednesday. They will face one of the best third-place finishers in the last-16 tie in Frankfurt on July 1.


“We are mainly very happy with the three points, with the qualification in first place, and it is just another step for being closer to our goal, a goal that is still very far away which is to try to win the cup,” said Silva. Coach Roberto Martinez added, “We can make changes in the next game which is very important as there are lots of players in the dressing room who deserve to play.”


Ronaldo, appearing at his sixth Euros at 39, will become the tournament’s oldest-ever goal-scorer if he finds the net in Germany. However, he failed to add to his competition record tally of 14 goals here. He was approached by several pitch invaders in the second half, posing for selfies but later appearing irritated as the number of invaders grew.


Martinez expressed concern over the ease with which fans accessed the pitch, stating, “It is a concern because today we were lucky that the intentions of the fans were good. If those intentions are wrong then the players are exposed, and we need to be careful with that.”


Despite the defeat, Vincenzo Montella’s Turkey, who beat Georgia 3-1 in their opening game, will qualify from the group in second place if they avoid defeat against the Czechs.


Earlier, Patrik Schick chested home to earn the Czechs a 1-1 draw against debutants Georgia in an entertaining match in Hamburg. Georgia goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili made a series of superb saves to keep his team in the game, and they took the lead just before the break through Georges Mikautadze’s penalty. Schick’s improvised finish left honours even at the end of a pulsating clash.


Georgia secured their first-ever point at a major tournament but both teams will need to win their next games to stay in the competition. “I am quite happy and satisfied just for being here… our first point is a historic moment,” Mamardashvili said. “We will have a very difficult match against Portugal, but we will do our best.”


Czech coach Ivan Hasek added, “We don’t want to go home yet. We will fight until the very end against Turkey to get into the knockout rounds.”


Saturday’s late game sees under-pressure Belgium chase their first points in Group E when they take on Romania in Cologne.


Portugal, Georgia

Portugal Dominates, Georgia Shines

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