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A historic decision by UEFA. Tbilisi has become the capital of European football

Date: June 25, 2024 Time: 15:17:28

A historic decision by UEFA. Tbilisi has become the capital of European football

Alexander Tsurikov July 2, 2023, 11:00 Moscow time Audio version: Your browser does not support the audio element.

And Khvicha has nothing to do with it. A report from Georgia, where the Youth Euro Cup is taking place.

There is a real football boom in Tbilisi. Every day of the youth team’s match becomes a national holiday. And on the other days, the banners hung in almost all the streets of the city obsessively remind of the tournament. From a good half of them Khvicha looks at passers-by. He did not come to this Eurocup, he is resting in Greece after a difficult season. But he probably watches all the games and sometimes bites his elbows. Because this football madness will absolutely sweep anyone who happens to be in sunny Tbilisi on match day. No wonder UEFA gave the tournament to Romania and Georgia.

It all starts a couple of hours before the whistle. Local grandmothers with Georgian flags, pipes and all kinds of nuts are waiting for you literally at the exit from the Rustaveli metro station, which is the closest to the stadium. And on the way to the arena you meet them more and more often. You can even buy a bag of seeds. Almost like the Central Stadium of Trade Unions in Voronezh. There are no scarves and T-shirts, such kindness is only on the territory of the stadium in official UEFA tents with paraphernalia. This is precisely why these jerseys are needed, if all of Tbilisi already wears jerseys with sevens. Someone in white and red with one, and someone in blue with two. Also, they still go to the games, with families, all wearing the same jerseys: dad and two kids, for example.

Georgia – Israel in the youth Euro 2023

Photo: Alexander Tsurikov, “Championship”

There are many children. They are literally everywhere. Even in the crowd of fans who traditionally march to the arena, I saw some happy parents and children. Everything is going as smoothly and peacefully as possible. The fans are accompanied by a police car. The streets are not blocked, only near the stadium they hang a tape in the middle of the road. A policeman controls traffic in the crowd on a funny flashing moped. Drums, firecrackers, fireworks and even slamming of doors at the central door – everything is repeated from time to time. The dogs that run from time to time bark to the rhythm of the drummer. And journalists, photographers and local television film the process with genuine interest from within.

What the TV people definitely missed was the sudden visit of Baggio, Arveladze, Beckham and Zidane to the game. And even if these are just the names on the T-shirts of five local comrades, but not only the Khvichs. Because there’s someone else to watch in this composition of the Georgia team. The heroine of the tournament, of course, is Zuriko Davitashvili. Before the opening match, he ran for half an hour in Scotland for the main team, flew to Tbilisi and came on as a substitute in the winning match with Portugal the following night already for the youth team. With this act, he absolutely fell in love with everyone. Now the songs of “Zuriko-Zuriko” are heard more clearly than all the songs, and in the presentation of the composition, the announcer pauses separately to give a standing ovation to the seventh number. And at the stall with the merchandise of the national team, it became ridiculous: a guy in a Khvichi T-shirt was trying on Zuriko’s T-shirt on himself.

really cool generation

Now they are sweeping the Eurocup, and in the summer they will go to the big leagues. Who from Georgia will repeat the path of Khvichi?

Do you remember how the interpretation of the anthem of the Italian team in the adult Eurocup went viral? Each and every one wrote that the world of football had not seen such passion for a long time. It is enough to show the Italians how the Boris Paichadze stadium sings in this Euro Cup. Here, children and the elderly, and even some guys who don’t look Georgian, give themselves up completely.

During the game, I went from sector to sector, trying to get the vibe of the crowd roaring “Sakartvelo” at the top of their lungs. The commissioners, clapping the drum from the fan section, and even the beer and hot dog vendors cheered fervently for theirs. By the way, alcohol is sold at the tournament. It is quite cheap (about 180 rubles for our money), so there were always impressive queues at the cranes. And in the middle of the second half, behind the central podium several salutes were heard. It was very visible from the inside. But it was premature joy.

Because Georgia lost. And how!

What a pity for the Georgian team! He did not qualify for the semifinals of the Eurocup due to a terrible penalty

It seemed that at this moment there was not a single person who sympathized with the Israeli team. But after the final whistle, an island with Israeli flags appeared. As the guests approached the point of the penalty shootout, the stadium vibrated in such a way that the concrete trembled underfoot naturally. But twice as many of them trembled. The arena was silent for a second. And then he blew up again, supporting Zuriko, Sazonov and co. And even Giorgi Gagua, who did not make his attempt, deserved a personal song after the final whistle. After all, it was he who gave the city and the country a fairy tale, which lasted for four full matches, with the goal of the Portuguese in the first game.

Three times at Boris Paichadze’s stadium a youth Euros attendance record was set. Almost 45,000 people attended the matches with the Netherlands and Israel. Due to the unprecedented excitement, the tiebreaker match even had to be urgently moved from the 25,000th Meskhi stadium to the main arena. After the final meeting of the group, the whole crowd slowly poured out of the bowl with songs and chants. And today people slowly walked along the carriageway between the cars. You remember that no one blocked the streets. And some of the fans just left the car not far from the stadium; you still have to get out of the crowd.

Georgia – Israel in the youth Euro 2023

Photo: Alexander Tsurikov, “Championship”

The subway was still crowded, but unusually quiet. There were no songs, no street musicians. But what you definitely won’t hear in this tournament is swearing at the players. They did a great job in this Eurocup. In what other June did all of Tbilisi have four big holidays?

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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