Not since the late 1980s has UEFA's junior competition reached the final tournament stage without either Spain or England but Georgia knocked out both in the elite round to make their first eight-team UEFA European Under-17 Championship.
Having drawn with Spain and beaten England with a last-gasp goal, they defeated Ukraine in front of an elite-round record crowd of 12,000 to make it to Slovenia. "I haven't thought about our chances yet but nobody expected us to win the group in the elite round," coach Vasil Maisuradze said. "But what we have to do now is forget our recent results."
In 2002 they progressed through the group stage in Denmark unbeaten, drawing with a Germany side containing Lukas Podolski and Mario Gomez, and Poland before beating Hungary, only to fall to eventual champions Switzerland 3-0 in the quarter-finals. They previously made the 1997 U16 finals under Revas Gagua, who died last February, and five of that squad are currently part of the senior national team.
Nika Tchanturia (defender, FC Lokomotivi Tbilisi), Giorgi Papunashvili (midfielder, FC Dinamo Tbilisi), Nika Akhvlediani (midfielder, FC Baia Zugdidi), Davit Jikia (forward, FC Lokomotivi Tbilisi)
Coach: Vasil Maisuradze
Date of birth: 1 October 1971
Playing career: FC Martve Tbilisi, FC Kakheti Telavi, FC Antsi Tbilisi, FC Lokomotivi Tbilisi, FC WIT Georgia, FC Sioni Bolnisi, FC Torpedo Kutaisi
Coaching career: FC Dinamo Tblisi (academy/reserves), Georgia U17
A smart defender and libero, Masiuradze won the Georgian title with Torpedo but retired aged 29. He has been involved in the Dinamo youth set-up for five years.
UEFA European Under-17 Championship best
©UEFA.com 1998-2014. All rights reserved.