Portugal – Georgia, qualifiers against Tom Thumb

Portugal – Georgia, qualifiers against Tom Thumb

Portugal, led by captain Ronaldo, intends to continue its rise and harvest victories on Wednesday in Gelsenkirchen against Georgia, the goal of remaining in Euro 2024.

The Seleção, which has been confirmed to retain first place, seeks to close Group F with its third victory in three matches, a flawless victory achieved only by Spain, the other candidate to win the title.

This match will be shown from 3pm on TVA Sports.

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There is a gap of sixty-eight places in the FIFA rankings between the regular Portuguese team (sixth) and upstart Georgia (74th), a significant difference considering the estimated value of their team: €1.05 billion versus €161.05 million, according to specialist website Transfermarkt.

However, the former Soviet republic, a candidate for European Union membership, dreams of writing “a new page in its history”, inaugurated by Napoli's Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, the team's president, along with Messi and George Mikautadze, the two-time top scorer in the Euros.

“A lot of people thought we wouldn’t qualify for the European Championship and here we are,” Khvicha recalled on Tuesday. “Anything is possible. Even if you have a 1% chance, you have to take advantage of it.”

Georgia put up a good resistance against Turkey (3-1 defeat) and beat the Czech Republic (1-1) as its players played in Poland, Slovakia, Romania, Saudi Arabia or Cyprus, and are several degrees lower than their future rivals.

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The Portuguese squad is so rich that Roberto Martinez has not yet given a single minute of play to Danilo (Paris Saint-Germain), Mateus Nunes (Manchester City) and Joao Felix (on loan to Barcelona from Atletico Madrid).

Ronaldo announced as starter

But he warned on Tuesday that there was no doubt the coach would introduce a very large rotation in the starting lineup.

“It is important to maintain the integrity of this Euro. It is a very important match because the result will be decisive for the tournament, between who qualifies and who exits,” he said in a press conference.

At the start of the match, there will be neither Rafael Leao, suspended for accumulating yellow cards, nor Parisian striker Goncalo Ramos, not ready to play 90 minutes according to his coach.

On the other hand, Martinez announced the retention of first-choice goalkeeper Diogo Costa and team captain Cristiano Ronaldo.

He explained that the Saudi Al-Nasr striker “had a very regular season, and played all the matches,” without paying little attention to the 39 years his striker spent.

The coach also said in response to a question about the possibility of the presence of veteran defender Pepe, who started in the first two matches, at the age of 41: “Age is not an issue. It is a very short tournament.”

He said he takes Georgia, led by Willy Sagnol, who are making their European debut, seriously. “They could have beaten the Czech Republic and were very competitive against Turkey.”

Last season, Tom Thumb scored at least one goal in every game, except for the 0-0 draw against Greece in the Euro qualifiers.

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They have lost only two of their last nine matches, to Spain and Turkey. Portugal will be keen to enter this exclusive club before moving to the round of 16 scheduled for July 1.

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"Desbravador de cerveja apaixonado. Álcool alcoólico incurável. Geek de bacon. Viciado em web em geral."

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