'I'M SO PROUD': Georgia upsets Portugal to reach last 16 at Euro 2024

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GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany — Georgia pulled off one of the biggest upsets in European Championship history on Wednesday, beating Portugal 2-0 and advancing to the last 16.

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The Georgians needed a win to reach the knockout stage at Euro 2024 and got their opening goal after only 93 seconds. Georges Mikautadze intercepted a poor pass and set up Khvicha Kvaratskelia to score with a low shot.

Antonio Silva gave away the ball before the first goal and gave away a penalty for the second, tripping Luka Lochoshvili inside the penalty area. Georges Mikautadze hit the spot kick low and past Portugal goalkeeper Diogo Costa in the 57th minute.

“We can fight against everyone,” Kvaratskhelia said. “I’m so proud.”

Georgia advanced in its debut at a major tournament as one of the best third-place teams. Portugal had already qualified from Group F after winning its first two games.

The Georgians will next face Spain on Sunday in Cologne, while Portugal plays Slovenia on Monday in Frankfurt.

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Portugal great Cristiano Ronaldo, who felt he deserved a penalty in the first half, kicked away a water bottle when he was substituted in the 66th minute.

Ronaldo was given a yellow card for his protests after his penalty appeal was turned down. He wanted the decision after his shirt was pulled in the area by Lochoshvili as a cross came in. No foul was given.

With Portugal already qualified, Ronaldo was one of only three players kept in the lineup from the previous 3-0 win over Turkey, along with Costa and midfielder João Palhinha.

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Portugal created little in the second half as Georgia’s defense sat deep, but the 2016 champions had chances in added time. Goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili kept Georgia’s two-goal lead intact with saves from Nelson Semedo and Diogo Dalot, while Francisco Conceicão narrowly missed the target.

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At the final whistle, Georgia’s players sprinted off the bench to embrace Mamardashvili in a huddle and leapt with joy in front of their raucous fans.

Turkey beat the Czech Republic 2-1 in the other group match. The Turks also advanced while the Czechs were eliminated.

Georgia’s victory also eliminated Hungary, which finished third in Group A.

TURKEY 2 CZECH REPUBLIC 1

Cenk Tosun finally ended the tension when he scored in stoppage time to send Turkey into the knockout stage of the European Championship with a 2-1 win over 10-man Czech Republic on Wednesday.

With the Czechs chasing a goal that would have put them through at Turkey’s expense, Tosun, a substitute, eluded two exhausted defenders on the left and fired a fierce shot inside the far post.

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“This is just the start,” Tosun said. “I’m delighted with my goal. We spoke about it beforehand, how this is exactly the time for it.”

It set off a wave of celebrations among most of the fans in Hamburg’s Volksparkstadion, though it also led to a flare-up between players and substitutes who had run onto the field. Czech forward Tomas Chory was shown a red card after the tumult, and team captain Tomas Soucek and Turkey’s Arda Guler were both shown yellow.

It had been a busy night for Romanian referee Istvan Kovacs, who sent off Czech midfielder Antonin Barak in the 20th minute and showed 18 yellow cards altogether. Barak earned the first for a tactical foul in the 11th, then the next for a stamp on Salih Ozcan’s foot.

“I only saw him in the break,” Czech coach Ivan Hasek said of Barak. “He was sad, with his head in his hands. He really punished himself by beating himself up about it.”

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