Euro 2024: Can Debutant Georgia Surprise Turkey? The Favorites Portugal Will Begin their Campaign Against Czech Republic

Last Updated on July 3, 2024

Turkey start their Euro 2024 campaign against debutants Georgia on Tuesday evening at Dortmund. With this being a weak group, Turkey should get a good opportunity to progress into the knockout stages, especially after their disappointing performance last Euros. 

They were considered one of the dark horses at the start of the last Euro 2020 but, in reality, they have lost each of their three group matches. However, Turkey was hugely impressive during the qualifiers and even upset World Cup 2022 finalists Croatia back then. 

Their recent form is shaky, though, as they have had some wins, draws, and one heavy loss. Inter Milan’s creative midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu, who has been one of their best players, will be the key as always. Meanwhile, Real Madrid striker Arda Guler, who has scored in the last game following his return from an injury, will be another key figure.

Georgia occupies the role of underdog in Group F as it makes its major tournament bow. Their chances are naturally weighted in their on-field talents, chief among them Napoli fans’ beloved “Kvaradona”, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia. They also boast several other strong performers including goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili and forward Georges Mikautadze.

Georgia will hope to cause an upset and unite their nation after a period of political turmoil, but for Turkey, the first hurdle they need to clear is a team with nothing to play for. Both will be striving to make history of sorts: for Turkey, a first Euros trophy; for Georgia, only the fifth team to win on their tournament debut. 

In the next match, it will be Portugal led by legend Cristiano Ronaldo against Czech Republic led by Patrik Schick. Both strikers were the top scorers at the last Euros. Everyone expects them to do the same this time.

This might be Ronaldo’s last hurrah on the international stage. He is 39 years old and no longer plays in one of Europe’s top leagues, but his desire to score is not stopped by anyone. 

He has been on fire, scoring consistently at his club and netted a brace in the last friendly for Portugal. He won the cup in 2016 but he might want some more. On paper, Portugal is the clear favorite, with a talented roster.

Yet there are trials for Roberto Martinez to overcome, considering that he has to deal with a team of stars. Probably, he does not want to follow in the footsteps of Belgium’s “Golden Generation,” and he aspires to bring home the trophy with Ronaldo by his side. 

On the other hand, Schick is the leader of Czech, which has more modest objectives to achieve. While the team managed to qualify for the second spot in the group, it had real trouble doing it without their crucial forward when they had to go through the final rounds. 

In the meantime, Schick won the Bundesliga, and now he is in good shape, seeking to prove to Ronaldo that he is on par with him. It can be expected that the first game will be a confrontation of two incredible strikers, one of whom has less to lose.

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