Euro 2024: Georgia and the Czech Republic yearning to get off the mark

HAMBURG, Germany (AP) — Georgia and the Czech Republic are desperately seeking a win as they meet in their second game of Euro 2024 in Hamburg. Kickoff is at 3 p.m. local time (1300 GMT) on Saturday. Turkey and Portugal are the other two teams in Group F and play later Saturday. Here’s what to know about the match:

Match facts

— Georgia and the Czech Republic were praised for fighting hard in their opening games but didn’t get any points as Turkey beat Georgia 3-1 and Portugal beat the Czechs 2-1 on a stoppage-time goal from Francisco Conceicao.

— A win for either team would boost their chances of qualifying for the knockout rounds. The losing team wouldn’t be eliminated for sure just yet because of the rule that some third-place teams can qualify. A draw would leave Georgia needing an upset win over Portugal in its last game, and the Czech team needing the same against Turkey.

__ Georgian fans were involved in a brawl in the stadium ahead of the Turkey game.

Team news

— Czech coach Ivan Hasek played down fitness concerns around captain and midfielder Tomas Soucek, saying he has been in full training. “Everybody will be ready to start tomorrow,” he said.

— Hasek said he’s been training his players on long shots after a string of spectacular goals at Euro 2024 with the high-tech new ball.

— Georgia midfielder Otar Kiteishvili is not available to play, coach Willy Sagnol said. He was an unused substitute in the loss to Turkey.

— Sagnol was evasive about whether he might change his lineup, but noted he’d like to give tournament experience to more players in his squad.

By the numbers

__ The Czech Republic is at its eighth European Championship in a row in a run going back to 1996. Georgia is the only team making its debut at Euro 2024.

— Czech striker Patrik Schick is set to play his 40th game for his country and his next goal will be his 20th. Five of his international goals to date came at the last European Championship.

What they’re saying

“Getting out of the group should be the goal, but the most important thing now is to put on a good show. We are still in the development phase and this tournament will help us to become even stronger in the future.” — Georgia coach Willy Sagnol.

“I’m not nervous because football has given me everything and hard moments are something that I enjoy. … Tomorrow is a great opportunity for me.” — Czech midfielder Antonin Barak.


AP Euro 2024:

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