A gentile reminder of why we are here; to try and make something of this golden generation of Georgian players. You can catch up here. We couldn’t qualify for the world cup but 1997 was okay. We won two competitive games and think we found our shape. As we await our first fixtures, its an endless stream of injuries:
Even Kiknadze is in on it.
We’re somehow second seeds for the European Championship qualifying group draw. Ahead of Republic of Ireland, a third seed. Fabulous. The draw is about as kind as we could have gotten.
The test will be with Croatia. World Cup qualifiers and all-round good eggs. We should have enough to beat the rest. Goals scored will be important. As warm-ups go…this is disappointing.
Kav goes missing and we play out a comfortable 0-0. We turn it on away at Windsor Park, but there’s always a little needless slip up, like an own goal.
In a warmup for our qualifiers, we manage to beat Croatia away from home. Howay the ladze’s!
This is how we settled formationally:
Shota in the hole behind big Kav. Ketsbaia and big Badze running the wings. In our final game of friendlies, the Slovak’s get a good hiding.
Even ringing the changes, we hold steady. Given our qualifying group, I like the look of things to come.
Srelia has managed to get a decent move. It can only bode well for us. So, business is about to get real. Our keeper is 75% fit and just back from an injury, but he will have to play. We cannot afford to lose to Croatia. And we don’t. Just.
It’s a poor game, but we’ll take a draw away from home. A ‘good result’ sees the FA back to being satisfied with us. Trouble ahead for our next game however.
Our sub-keeper is poor. Also, this is a new one:
Having been released by Newcastle after failing to have his work permit renewed, he can now no longer play international football. Just when you think you’ve seen every bug. It matters not as thankfully we have an easy game.
We could have had more but Kav left his boots at home, clearly. The group is wide open.
Meanwhile, Shota leaves Ajax to push Fowler out of the Liverpool line-up.
Well…that’s Ketsbaia’s backup gone too. FFS.
Malbaz is now at Vicenza and is worth £3.9m so he will have to shuffle in and we’ll drop the right winger back to midfield to suit him. Well…we’re shortly left with just Kiknadze to slot in that role.
It’s brutal to concede that goal, it could be a blessing for our rivals Croatia. Just makes it more important we win the home encounter. With that our 1998 is over.
We’ve put ourselves in a great position to kick on and qualify. It’s all in our hands. Can all the ladze’s hang on and qualify for a major competition for the first ever time? Stay tuned next week to find out.