Hello again, welcome back the world of the Georgian ladzes. Where did we leave things? Well, we’d qualified for the Euros in Holland and drawn ourselves one hell of a group as we enter the year 2000. You can catch up here.
We open with terrible news…we won’t have big Kav for the Euros or this years World Cup qualifiers.
That is brutal to lose our top scoring maestro. Shota will have to step up his game. Our World Cup seeding has improved however…
…but it doesn’t help us get a better group.
Iceland again and England. It might be a playoff gamble. We begin our European Championship warm-ups. It doesn’t start well. Kav’s replacement gets sent off and doesn’t score.
Zaza has found himself a big move from River Plate to…Ipswich Town.
Means we’ll lose him if his club are playing. Great. An uninspiring game follows.
I think we’ve peaked…
Woeful. A change is required so we’ll go 4-2-3-1 and see what happens. Oh.
More excellent news arrives.
He’ll miss the opening game. It seems we’ve come alive when it matters. A comfortable opening win against the Finns. We could have had more but Shota was misfiring.
Germany and Spain draw, even better!
We manage to get ourselves to half-time against the Spanish at 1-1 and I decide to drop an AMC/FC and bring in Kinkladze in CM with a forward run. We hold them off. A magnificent result.
Srelia and Anchabadze will miss the Germany game through suspensions though. Not good. A draw will do.
The same switch when 2-0 down to Germany results in the best performance we’ve ever had. Schkeidze saves a penalty from Babbel (that he gave away, so saves his own blushes). And we power through! Howay the ladzes!
A good result? Superb more like. No shock result page appears…
In the end, a loss would have still seen us through. The draw at this stage is always tough. But at least England are out.
It could have been…even better. Shota misses from the spot, could have been 4-1, could have had a hattrick. There wasn’t even any pressure.
Still though, semi-finalists! We’ll have to face a revenge tie…
But there’s no revenge for the Germans. Shota’s early goal is the only real action of a boring game.
Could at least be delighted. Hard to please these Georgians.
It’s France in the final. Bad memories of getting completely lashed in 1997 come flooding back for us.
Ketsbaia will miss the final through suspension. He’ll find some hoardings to kick no doubt. That depletes our total ability, not good given the opposition. The big day arrives, but, France just have too much for us.
Shota grabs a consolation, but it was never in doubt. France controlled the game. I’ll take that, we’ve improved loads. Hopefully we can qualify for Japan 2002.
Hopefully the first group game is an easy one as we’ll be without Inalishvili and Lob-ya-nads. Here’s as peak at our new preferred formation too.
Our opening fixture for World Cup qualification couldn’t be more daunting.
On a completely unrelated side note, Albert is somehow already the 4th best manager in the world, having yet to manage a single professional game…
Tony Adams is also more highly rated than us. Rigged! A big blow for our chances against England as we lose one of our best players.
Throw in the suspensions too.
In the end, we should have come away from Wembley with point, but an own goal consigns us to defeat.
What makes it worse, is we were the only one to get a shot on target! Richard Wright keeping Shota’s single effort at bay.
Next up, a comfortable trip to San Marino.
We switch to 2-3-1-2-2 in the second half, but the results are the same. I’d have liked 7-10 goals here to be honest. We’ll be without our talisman for Iceland. Spurs Inalishvili will have to come into the playmaker role and we’ll fudge Tskhadadze into left back. Ketsbaia picks up a knock too so Anchabadze will also get a start. The Icemen only lost 1-0 to England so it could be a tight affair.
In the end we have a goal ruled out and fail to take numerous opportunities that the flashing text labels “a gift for” INSERT OUR PLAYER NAME HERE. I’ll take it though. And I’ll take this:
If we can nick a point at home to England, dreams are possible. The other teams occupying the playoff spots don’t scare me (Turkey, Ireland, Wales, Slovakia), after all, were Euro’s runners up! And with the year 2000 over we’ll see you next time in 2001 and see if we can qualify for Japan 2002. See you then, ladzes.