Georgia began their 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign in perfect fashion when they kept a clean sheet and picked up all three points at home to Belarus on Friday but the visit of world and European champions Spain on Tuesday will be a different proposition for Temuri Ketsbaia's young side.
Tornike Okriashvili's winner gave Ketsbaia's men the ideal start in Tbilisi and the coach expressed his delight afterwards about the result and the impact it can have on a country still seeking their first final tournament qualification.
"I'm honoured to coach this team and I'm sure the victory will make all of Georgia proud," said the 44-year-old former Anorthosis Famagusta FC, AEK Athens FC and Newcastle United FC forward. "Success of the national team is very important for football development in Georgia. I hope we can provide a spark for this development."
Ketsbaia's decision to opt for youth over experience against Belarus appears justified and he looks set to stick to his guns against La Roja. "We have plenty of young, creative players who can run fast and have good stamina," said Ketsbaia, who left out experienced duo Levan Kobiashvili (98 caps) and Aleksandr Iashvili (67 caps) on Friday. "We solved the second-half problem of fatigue with this young energy. We saw that in the last friendly and proved it again in the match against Belarus."
If Georgia are to qualify from Group I ahead of either Vicente del Bosque's men or France they will have to make the most of a vociferous home support. However, Ketsbaia was honest about why he expects Tuesday's encounter at the Boris Paichadze National Stadium to be in front of a capacity crowd. "I am sure that the stadium will be sold out next time, but many will come because Spain are playing."
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