MX23RW : Saturday, June 12 11:08:31| >> :600:567676:567676:
Oct 8, 2020 at 5pm UK
Okriashvili (7' pen.)
Kvekveskiri (38'), Kankava (52'), Qazaishvili (69'), Kvilitaia (90+4')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Naumov (33')

Preview: Georgia vs. Belarus - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Euro qualifying Path D playoff semi-final between Georgia and Belarus, including team news and predicted lineups.

Two teams with aspirations of a first ever qualification for the European Championships will meet on Thursday as Georgia take on Belarus in Path D's playoff semi-final.

The victors will be meeting either North Macedonia or Kosovo in next month's playoff final, with the other two countries also set to go head-to-head on Thursday evening.

Match preview

Georgia coach Vladimir Weiss pictured on March 25, 2019© Reuters

Gibraltar were the only side who fell to defeat against Georgia in qualification Group D, but the Crusaders are still on course to reach next summer's tournament owing to their 2018-19 Nations League performance.

Vladimir Weiss's side have also started the current Nations League campaign in ideal fashion with four points from six matches, beating Estonia before drawing with North Macedonia - whom they could meet in the playoff final - last month.

Since becoming independent after the breakup of the Soviet Union, Georgia have never reached the finals of the European Championships, and the Crusaders finished fourth in their group with two wins, two draws and four losses from eight matches.

Depending on the results of qualification Path A, Georgia's first venture in a major tournament could see them placed in the group of death with reigning champions Portugal as well as France and Germany, but first they must overcome a Belarus side with similar aspirations of a maiden European campaign.

Belarus manager Mikhail Markhel pictured in September 2020© Reuters

Belarus proved no match for Germany, the Netherlands and Northern Ireland in the group stage, with their solitary victory of qualifying coming against Estonia.

Nevertheless, Mikhail Markhel's men enjoyed a terrific 2018-19 Nations League campaign, which saw them top Group D2 and earn promotion to League C, which has provided Belarus with the opportunity to nab one of the final four qualification spots for next summer's Euros.

Markhel's men are also preparing for fixtures with Kazakhstan and Lithuania in this round of international fixtures, but for now, Belarus will be focused on advancing to the playoff final and making it four wins out of five in 2020.

Indeed, the White Wings triumphed in back-to-back friendlies against Uzbekistan and Bulgaria before the coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc across the sporting landscape, with Belarus losing to Albania and coming out on top against Kazakhstan in September's Nations League fixtures.

Georgia won the inaugural meeting with Belarus 1-0 before the White Wings recorded a 2-0 victory of their own during qualification for the 2014 World Cup, while the last clash between the two sides - a 2017 friendly - ended in a 2-2 draw.

Georgia Euro Champ Qualifying form: WLDDWL
Georgia form (all competitions): DWLLWD

Belarus Euro Champ Qualifying form: LLWDLL
Belarus form (all competitions): LLWWLW

Team News

Georgia celebrate scoring against North Macedonia in the UEFA Nations League on September 8, 2020© Reuters

Veteran defender Giorgi Navalovski has lost his place in the Georgia squad alongside the uncapped Davit Kobouri, who was included in the fold for last month's Nations League fixtures.

Tornike Okriashvili netted Georgia's opener from the penalty spot against North Macedonia and is expected to occupy a spot behind Giorgi Kvilitaia in the starting lineup.

As for Belarus, Yury Kavalyow and Denis Scherbitskiy have both had to withdraw through injury, although the latter was never likely to challenge Alyaksandr Hutar for the number one spot.

Every member of Markhel's travelling party has already made at least one appearance for the international side, with defender Alyaksandr Martynovich - seventh on the all-time appearance list - set to captain Belarus on Thursday.

Georgia possible starting lineup:
Loria; Kakabadze, Kvirkvelia, Kashia, Grigavala; Kankava, Kvekveskiri; Kvaratskhelia, Okriashvilli, Qazaishvili; Kvilitaia

Belarus possible starting lineup:
Hutar; Zolotov, Martynovich, Palyakow, Bardachow; Yablonskiy, Mayewski; Padstrelaw, Stasevich, Nyakhaychyk; Skavysh

SM words green background

We say: Georgia 0-1 Belarus

Both of these countries will be dreaming of a first ever appearance at the European finals, but must not let themselves get carried away before taking to the field in midweek. This one will be a tight affair and could go either way, but Belarus can boast a decent set of results this year and we expect Markhel's side to just edge it.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or draw in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Draw:data

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