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Euro 2024: Georgia coach proud despite Turkey defeat

Willy Sagnol hails atmosphere in Dortmund and says tournament debutants will benefit from the experience

Georgia coach Willy Sagnol was proud of his players despite their Euro 2024 campaign beginning with a defeat.

The tournament debutants were edged out 3-1 in a pulsating opening game in Group F in Dortmund on Tuesday evening.

However they won praise and fans for their positive attitude and, were it not for the fact they struck both posts and the crossbar, the last of which came deep into stoppage-time while pushing for an equaliser, they might have boosted their hopes of qualifying for the next stage with a surprise point.

Sagnol told “It’s never nice when you lose, but I think for my team we can be proud of our performance and putting Georgian football in such a positive light.

“I think we had as many chances at they did.”

The Frenchman, who spent eight years playing in Germany for Bayern Munich, winning the Champions League and the Bundesliga five times, said the experience of playing in the tournament would stand the nation in good stead in future.

“I think we should always look at the bigger picture,” he said. “This European Championship comes off the back of a lot of work in Georgia, getting youngsters involved over the past decade, and this tournament is reward for that investment.

“(We were maybe missing) a bit of talent, a bit of experience – the sort of things we’re only going to gain through being in tournaments like this. The more we play games like this the better we will be.”

The game will live long in the memory and was played in a cacophony of noise in Dortmund, with Sagnol adding: “It’s a stadium made for football and emotions.

“The atmosphere tonight was generally great, a fitting stage for a match like that. I don’t know if the game created the atmosphere or the atmosphere created the game.”

Picture of Alex Hoad

Alex Hoad

Alex has more than 15 years' experience in sports journalism and has reported on multiple Olympics, World Cups and European Championships in additional to Champions League, Europa League and domestic football.