Euro 2024: Spain’s perfect record to be tested by surprise package Georgia in the last 16

COLOGNE, Germany (AP) — Spain takes on Georgia in the round of 16 at Euro 2024 on Sunday. Spain is widely considered one of the tournament favorites after winning all three of its group games, but Georgia produced the shock result of Euro 2024 so far by beating Portugal. Kickoff is at 9 p.m. local time (1900 GMT) in Cologne. Here’s what to know about the match:

Match facts

— Spain was the only team to finish the group stage with a perfect record of three wins and its 1-0 victory over defending champion Italy underlined its credentials to win the European title for the first time since 2012.

— Spain had no trouble beating Georgia twice in qualifying last year. A 7-1 rout saw Lamine Yamal set a record for youngest ever goalscorer in a Euros qualifier, just two months after his 16th birthday.

— Georgia’s rapid improvement under coach Willy Sagnol was on show in the 2-0 win over Portugal that secured qualification. Its low block and quick counterattacks were similar to those of Albania, which caused Spain plenty of problems as Spain won 1-0 on Monday.

— The winner plays either Germany or Denmark in the quarterfinals in Stuttgart on July 5.

Team news

— Fitness could be crucial. Spain hasn’t played since Monday and was able to change 10 players from its lineup against Albania. Georgia, by contrast, was pushed to the limit against Portugal on Wednesday and is playing again four days later.

— Spain coach Luis de la Fuente has his full squad available as midfielder Rodri returns from a one-game suspension. Three defenders, including right back Dani Carvajal, would miss a potential quarterfinal if they’re booked against Georgia.

— Georgia is full of confidence because “we have absolutely nothing to lose,” Sagnol said Saturday, adding: “For me, we already won (Euro) 2024.”

— Georgia midfielder Anzor Mekvabishvili is suspended after a yellow card against Portugal. Captain and defender Guram Kashia is one of four players who are one yellow card away from a suspension.

By the numbers

— Georgian striker Georges Mikautadze was the surprise top scorer of any team in the Euro 2024 group stage with three goals, including a penalty against Portugal. None of Spain’s players have scored more than once.

What they’re saying

— “I think the problem of the football world is the last 15 years have been like ping-pong between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. And to see young players also coming (onto) this level, it’s absolutely great for the sport.” — Georgia coach Willy Sagnol praises 16-year-old Spain forward Lamine Yamal and 21-year-old Nico Williams.

— “Today we could see that it is possible to play with every team and it is possible to win. It doesn’t matter who your opponent is because there is no easy team at the European Championship.” — Georgia forward Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, when asked about Spain after beating Portugal.

— “A few months ago we weren’t candidates (to win the title) and now we are favorites. But that doesn’t mean anything. We have always said that we were going to come here to win the European Championship, and that is our mentality.” — Spain left back Alejandro Grimaldo.


Joseph Wilson in Barcelona, Spain, contributed to this report.


AP Euro 2024:

Copyright © 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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