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Greece Misses Euro Football Championship Qualification

Greece lose out on Euros after penalty defeat to Georgia. Credit Emin Allahverdi.
Greece loses out on Euros after penalty defeat to Georgia. Credit: Emin Allahverdi. CC BY 4.0/Wikimedia Commons/Emin Allahverdi

Greece lost to Georgia 4-2 on penalties in the final of the Euro 2024 play-off today, meaning the team will not progress to the competition despite a strong performance in the semi-finals against Kazakhstan.

In a fairly even match, Greece has missed out on a spot in the Euro 2024 competition after a defeat to Georgia on penalties. Georgia progress to the Euros for the first time in history.

Georgia had never won against Greece and has never reached the finals of any major competition, while Greece had not made it to the finals of a major tournament since Brazil 2014.

Greece had more possession than their opponents in an admittedly choppy first half, but Georgia looked more dangerous on the offensive, taking six shots to Greece’s one, though only one of those was on target.

Both teams fought to get ahead in the second half, but a lack of quality across the pitch saw very few chances created. The ninety minutes came to a close with sixteen shots between the two sides, but just one on target, and extra time was becoming more of a possibility.

Greece eventually found the target in the first half of extra time, with Anastasios Bakasetas drawing the save. Georgia raced into a 2-0 lead in the penalty shootout but was kept alert when Georges Mikautadze put Georgia’s third penalty wide.

The Georgian team kept their cool, though, and after Georgios Giakoumakis sent his penalty wide, Nika Knekveskiri sent Georgia to this summer’s tournament and made history.

Greece had thrashed Kazakhstan 5-0 in their Euro 2024 play-off semi-final on March 21st, but failing to beat Georgia means Greece has failed to qualify for the Euros for twelve years and any other international competition for ten years.

Greece’s performance in the Euro 2024 semifinal play-offs

Greece turned on a truly imposing performance against Kazakhstan in the semi-finals, coached by Gus Poyet, which led to an unexpectedly comfortable victory in the division’s semifinal. The Greeks opened the score in the first five minutes, as Dimitris Pelkas earned a penalty that the captain, Tasos Bakasetas, converted into the first goal.

The second came just eight minutes later, this time with Pelkas translating into a goal the delightful cross by Giorgos Massouras from the right. Massouras was also the provider for the third goal that Fotis Ioannidis scored on the 37th. This was three minutes before Dimitris Kourbelis headed home another cross from the right, this time by Kostas Tsimikas for 4-0 at half-time.

The Greeks dropped a gear in the second half, as victory was already assured, but a fifth goal arrived five minutes from the end by the Kazakhs themselves. Yerkin Tapalov scored an own goal from a corner kick Greece took, once again, from the right.

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