The last day of matchday one at Euro 2024 featured a first, as Georgia made its first appearance at a major international tournament against Turkey.

Turkey is one of the teams that has raging support in Germany. With the two nations heavily connected in terms of their populations, it is no surprise to see so many Turkish supporters. In this game on Tuesday, Turkey turned the Yellow Wall of Borussia Dortmund into a red wall at the Westfalenstadion. In the opening stages of the first half, Turkey rewarded those fans with a great showing.

A period of dominance to open the game transpired, with Turkey coming as close as the inside of the post in the 10th minute via Kaan Ayhan. However, those fans would now have to wait much longer. In the 25th minute, Mert Muldur scored an early contender for the best goal of the tournament. Georgia failed to properly clear a Turkey cross, and Muldur took his volley on the first touch from the edge of the area. The ball curled away from Georgia goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili into the top corner.

Two minutes later, Turkey thought it had a two-goal advantage. Kenan Yıldız was on the end of clever play down the right side as he bundled the ball into the Georgia net. Upon VAR review, Yıldız was two toes offside, and the goal did not stand. That kept a rattled Georgia in the game, and the debutants took advantage.

Playing in their first major international tournament, the first goal was always going to be historic for Georgia. Four minutes after Turkey’s disallowed goal, Georges Mikautadze’s snap shot beat Turkey goalkeeper Mert Günok at his near post. After that goal in the 32nd minute, the game was even with a newfound confidence for the Georgians.

Georgia succumbs to Arda Guler worldie as Turkey secures three points

Even with the even nature of the contest, both teams were at the mercy of one piece of brilliance. That came for Turkey in the 65th minute. Loose play at the back from Georgia gave the ball to Real Madrid talent Arda Guler. The 19-year-old picked up the ball and lashed an unreal shot from 24 yards away. The ball flew into the top corner. For the second time this game, Mamardashvili was helpless against a phenomenal strike that topped Turkey’s first goal.

Georgia came close four minutes later. Clever play from Giorgi Kochorashvili forced a real goal-scoring chance. To beat the onrushing Gunok, though, Kochorashvili lifted the ball over the Turkish goalkeeper, but the ball hit the post. Gunok recovered to claim the ball and end Georgia’s chance.

Despite Georgia’s advances, the best chance for the remaining 20 minutes came to Turkey, with Mamardashvili making a key save in the 87th minute to keep Georgia in the game. Georgia should have equalized in the fourth minute of stoppage time. Khvicha Kvaratskhelia’s cross spurted loose to two Georgia players. Both took a whack at the shot, and neither made good contact. The ball went wide, and Turkey breathed a sigh of relief at the close call. Then, in the last minute of the game, two close calls happened for Georgia including a desperate block from Turkey. With the goalkeeper forward, Turkey hit Georgia on the counter-attack as Kerem Aktürkoğlu scored on an empty net.

Turkey picked up three massive points to open Group F play at Euro 2024, while Georgia fell just short in its first major contest in its history. Nothing is decided in this group, though, with Portugal facing the Czech Republic later on Tuesday. On Saturday, June 22, Georgia faces the Czech Republic, while Turkey can go two-for-two against Portugal.


Euro 2024

Here are some resources to get you ready for Euros!
Euro Bracket: Download a free PDF bracket for the tournament
Euro 2024 Schedule: Full schedule of all games for the 2024 tournament
How to watch: Information on where to find the games on TV and streaming
How to Stream Learn how you can stream Euro games live in 2024
2024 Soccer Calendar: Get the lowdown on what will be a busy year in soccer