Euro 2024

Georgia v Czech Republic: Back both sides to oblige & avoid Czechia price

Willy Sagnol - Georgia
Willy Sagnol was proud of his players after Georgia's opening performance

Football tipster Mark O'Haire previews Georgia's key match-up with Czech Republic in Group F on Saturday. With both sides suffering opening defeats, a positive result is paramount here.

Georgia v Czech Republic
Saturday June 22, 14:00
Live on BBC

Sagnol proud of Georgian players

Georgia head coach Willy Sagnol said he was proud of his players efforts despite a 3-1 defeat to Turkey on the major tournament debut on Tuesday evening. The fearless Crusaders fought valiantly throughout the match but were undone by two exceptional finishes, as well as a breakaway stoppage-time goal to conclude the contest pointless.

Nevertheless, Georges Mikautadze scored Georgia's historic first European Championship goal, sparking jubilant scenes of support and Sagnol's side came ever so close to snatching a late leveller. The underdogs had already hit the woodwork and during a frantic finale in Dortmund, Georgia struck the post again and had a goal-bound effort blocked on the line.

Speaking post-match, Sagnol said: "I don't want to say we are happy losers, but we can be proud of our performance. We had a lot of opportunities to score but that's football. I can tell you already, that on Saturday, I am convinced that we are going to provide the same kind of performance. And I am already very excited thinking about Saturday's match."

Match Preview

Georgia - Czechia
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  2. W
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  5. W
  6. W
  1. L
  2. D
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  4. W
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Full Stats Powered by Opta

Czech Republic suffer tough late loss

Czech Republic boss Ivan Hasek admitted his team must pick themselves up after suffering a heartbreaking late loss against Portugal in their curtain-raising contest on Tuesday. Francisco Conceicao scored a stoppage-time winner as the Selecao came from a goal down to beat the dogged Czechs in Leipzig, after Lukas Provod's exceptional opening goal.

Having spent much of the game defending in their own half, the Lions stunned Portugal when Provod's whipped second-half strike flew into the far corner. But their hopes of victory were dashed soon after as goalkeeper Jindrich Stanek parried the ball off Robin Hranac and into the back of his own net, a goal that only served to energise the Portuguese.

Hasek said, "I have to admit it is a big pity that we did not finish our work. It was close. We made it very difficult for Portugal, one of the best teams in the world. We are all very disappointed to have conceded in additional time. We now have to put it behind us very quickly as in four days we will play a key game. We will need to improve to beat Georgia."

Oppose overrated Czech Republic

Both Georgia and Czech Republic started their Euro 2024 campaigns with defeats, despite producing promising performance that perhaps played above their pre-tournament expectations. The duo now face-off in Hamburg in all-important encounter if either side is to realise their dreams of securing a place in the knockout stages of the competition.

Georgia were 5.609/2 shots against Turkey in their opener and so 5.409/2 looks a little too big on the Crusaders here. Willy Sagnol's side were dismissed as no-hopers before a ball was even kicked, yet have showed in the majority of their competitive matches over the past two years that they possess a number of exciting players and are rarely overawed.

Meanwhile, Czech Republic 1.758/11 will need to overhaul their style and system ahead of this clash after their pragmatic approach fell short against Portugal. The Lions have largely been reliant on the counter-attack under Ivan Hasek's watch, whilst a solid set-piece threat makes Czechia dangerous from dead-balls. However, Patrik Schick's fitness has been questioned.

Czech Republic have returned W9-D4-L3 since November 2022, though their record reads W1-D2-L3 when facing qualified Euro 2024 nations during that same sample (Portugal, Poland, Turkey, Albania and Hungary). The Czechs therefore look a little overrated here and so I'll happily back Georgia +0.5 Asian Handicap at 2.29 to pick up their first-ever point.

Back both sides to oblige

Considering the circumstances in Group F, goals may also be on the menu in Leipzig. The two teams should be targeting top honours following defeats in their first fixtures, with both matches producing Both Teams To Score 1.9310/11 and Over 2.5 Goals 1.9210/11 winners. A repeat holds plenty of appeal and I'm eager to support the former option at the prices.

Georgia have now scored in 16 of their last 19 competitive contests, including games against Spain, Scotland, Norway, Turkey and Sweden. The Crusaders pack plenty of punch in forward areas with Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and Georges Mikautadze leading the line and Willy Sagnol's debutants managed 14 shots and generated 1.37 xG in their opener against Turkey.

Meanwhile, six of Czech Republic's past seven outings have now paid-out for Both Teams To Score backers. The Lions have fired just two blanks in 18 matches across all competitions since September 2022 with their only clean sheets in a 24-game sample arriving against minnows such as Moldova and the Faroe Islands.

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