Since 1992, the year the country’s FA joined FIFA, Georgia have not managed to qualify for the finals of a FIFA-run tournament at any age level. The senior team’s last attempt to get to the FIFA World Cup™ in South Africa ended in disappointment, as three draws and seven defeats saw them finish bottom of their group.
The current crop
Georgia are in the middle of an intriguing UEFA EURO 2012 campaign, during which they have surprisingly held their own in a group that includes some traditionally strong sides. The Jvarosnebi’s (Crusaders) results have ranged from a 1-0 victory over Croatia to 1-1 and 0-0 draws with Greece and Israel respectively. The Georgians’ improved resilience at the back recently saw them listed as one of the top 60 teams on the planet in May 2011’s FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking. With a mix of disciplined veterans like Levan Kobiashvili and rising stars such as Jano Ananidze, they have an increasingly energetic and industrious look about them.
The key players
Kobiashvili, Hertha Berlin’s 33-year-old midfield man, is one of the lynchpins of a team in which a new generation of talented players such as Spartak Moscow attacking midfielder Ananidze and Schaffhausen forward Georgi Ivanishvili – who has recently put in some outstanding displays for Georgia’s U-21 side – are primed to take up the baton.
Coach: Temuri Ketsbaia
Best performance in a FIFA competition: None
Former stars: Shota Arveladze