Georgia take on the visitors Scotland in the round 9 match of group stage of UEFA Euro-2024 qualification. The match will be played on Thursday, November 16th at Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena (Tbilisi).
Georgia is decent, but not more than that at the moment. The "Crusaders" currently boast a roster of skilled players competing in top European clubs, from Mamardashvili, the goalkeeper for Valencia, to Makoutadze, who became a forward for Ajax. However, undoubtedly, the brightest star here is Kvaratskhelia. With Napoli, he won the "Scudetto" and made it to the top 20 at the recent "Ballon d'Or" ceremony. However, all of this, along with the coaching talents of Willy Sagnol, proved insufficient to succeed in such a group with such opponents. The Georgians lost to both the Scots and the Spaniards (the latter even by 1-7), and Norway managed to win at home after a 1-1 draw in Georgia. So, apart from successes in friendly matches against exotic teams like Mongolia and Thailand, they only have a 2-1 win and a 4-0 victory over Cyprus—a modest record for an ambitious team.
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Scotland has confirmed its ongoing progress. The "Tartan Army" started this century in decline. Despite having decent clubs like Celtic and Rangers (despite the latter's problems), many players moved to the neighboring EPL. However, after the 1998 World Cup, everything went downhill: the "Highlanders" did not play in any tournament. And, under the old regulations, they would have missed Euro 2020, but a victory in the Nations League, at the Division C level, secured them a spot in the play-offs, which they won. Yes, the team coached by Steve Clarke performed poorly at the championship, only holding a goalless draw against England. But it seems that even this has restored their self-belief. The Scots participated in the play-offs to qualify for the World Cup, losing to Ukraine (but then, in a rematch, outperforming them for the top spot in the Nations League group). However, the highlight was a five-match winning streak that marked the beginning of the new qualifying cycle, defeating Norway and even Spain. In the end, that foundation was enough to secure a spot in the next Euro. Whether it relaxed them or the opponents are just too strong, Scotland lost three times. In October, Spain secured a confident 2-0 revenge, and there were also defeats in friendly matches against England and France. One wouldn't want to prolong such a dark streak further, even if it only threatens the overall mood.
The national teams have historically upheld their "home" status. Every time, the team playing at home emerged victorious in all five encounters. This time, the belief is in the victory of the guests. However, both sides can now play thinking not only about the result but also for their pleasure. Expect a "total over 2.0 goals."
Prediction for the match: Over 2.0 scored goals.