Willy Sagnol urges Georgia players to ‘focus’ ahead of Turkey clash

Georgia boss Willy Sagnol urged his players to “focus” as they prepare for their Euro 2024 Group F opener against Turkey in Dortmund.

Sagnol’s side will play at their first ever major international tournament following a penalty shootout victory over Greece in the play-offs in March.

Sagnol admitted his players thought they were dreaming following qualification but are now ready to get down to business for their curtain-raiser on Tuesday.

He told a press conference: “For some players after the March play-offs it has been a bit difficult to get back into their daily routine because they have lots of emotions and they had a feeling they were living a dream but the dream has to stop at some point and they have to focus again.

Euro 2024 Soccer Georgia
Georgia face Turkey in Dortmund (Fabian Strauch/AP)

“It’s something we talked about with the players at the start of the camp. At the beginning of the camp it was difficult but now the players are ready for the competition and focus on their performance and their discipline.”

Turkey finished above Croatia and topped their group in qualifying but have failed to win in their last five fixtures heading into the competition.

Turkey have qualified for their third successive European Championships but have failed to get out of the group stage on their two previous occasions and lost all of their games in Euro 2020.

Euro 2024 Soccer Turkey
Montella highlighted the strengths that Georgia pose (Moritz Frankenberg/AP)

Turkey boss Vincenzo Montella said: “I have studied Georgia very well, it’s a very tough team because they can concede ball possession but they are great in turnovers and are very physical.

“It’s a tough match and I think we will need to be patient, avoid losing ball organisation and to hit at the right moments so I have a lot of respect for this team.

“We need to care about the team, have a responsibility because we represent an important country.”