Georgia vs Ireland – Saturday 17:00BT/18:00 CET – Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena – Tbilisi, Georgia.
Georgia finally want to pick up a win in World Cup qualification. The Caucasus Republic has taken three points out of the first six matches in UEFA Group D. Their biggest result came in the 1-1 draw against Wales in Cardiff on matchday 1.
At the same time, the campaign has been a bit of a disappointment. Georgia were hoping to build on their previous campaigns and finally squeeze into a top two spot in World Cup qualifying. But a tight group that includes three teams that qualified for the European Championships last summer, Austria, Ireland and Wales, as well as Moldova and Serbia meant that the post-Soviet Republic had a mountain to climb.
A close defeat to Austria on matchday 1 in Tbilisi was met with some consternation. Austria seemed beatable that day, but as it is often the case, Georgia could not get the job done. In some ways, this has been the story of Georgia since achieving independence from the Soviet Union in 1990.
Always a football mad country Georgia was a hotbed of Soviet football. The Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena was always filled and was a cauldron for Soviet Vysshaya Liga games. Nowadays Dinamo Tbilisi only plays in front of a handful of games in the Georgian Erovnuli Liga. But the national team still draws capacity crowds, and the Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena is therefore always a difficult place to play for travelling teams.
That said Ireland would travel to Georgia with plenty of confidence. Still undefeated with three wins and three draws Ireland are second in the group behind Serbia. Both Serbia and Ireland are on 12 points each and with Serbia hosting Moldova on Saturday Ireland will want to go for all three points to keep the pace with
Georgia vs Ireland – Players to look out for:
Solomon Kvirkvelia #3 Lokomotiv Moscow (Georgia)
Solomon Kvirkvelia will get his 24th start for Georgia on Saturday. The start comes off the back of completing his transfer from Rubin Kazan to Lokomotiv Moscow. The 25-year-old defender spent the last six months on loan at Loko and was one of the cornerstones for the club winning the Russian Cup this spring. The 197cm tall defender is a lanky defender, who in the past has been linked with several bigger Western European clubs. Now at Lokomotiv Kvirkvelia has started in all eight RFPL games this season and been a big reason for Lokomotiv’s fantastic start of the season as the Moscow side is currently in the second spot in the RFPL table.
Robbie Brady #10 FC Burnley (Ireland)
Robbie Brady is one of many Irish players playing in the English Premier League. Signed by Burnley from the Championship side Norwich City last January for €15.10 million. In 14 games last season he scored one goal and two assists for Burnley. His numbers were a bit better in the Championship last year where he scored four goals and five assists in 23 Championship games. The difference was perhaps that he was forced to play a bit further back at Burnley in the Premier League. Brady will be pushed a bit more forward playing for Ireland and could be a good scoring candidate as a result.
Georgia vs Ireland – Match Stats
- Georgia are still winless in World Cup qualifying.
- Ireland have a perfect record against Georgia winning all eight games between the two countries.
- Georgia have scored in every game they played in this World Cup qualifying campaign
Prediction: Georgia vs Ireland 0-1
Georgia vs Ireland – Possible Lineups
Makaridze – Kvirkvelia, Kashia, Tabidze – Navalovski, Kankava, Daushvili – Dvalishvili, Kacharava, Ananidze
Coach: Vladimir Weiss
Randolph – Ward, O’Shea, Long, Christie – Brady, Meyler, Hourihane, McGeady – Hoolahan – Walters
Coach: Martin O’Neill
Manuel Veth is a freelance journalist and social media junior editor at Bundesliga.com. He is also a holder of a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which will be available in print soon. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.