Georgia and Estonia did not manage to get three points on Friday night, but having come away with creditable FIFA World Cup qualifying draws against France and the Netherlands respectively, both sides were feeling pretty flush.
Didier Deschamps' France failed to score for an unprecedented fifth successive game, though the coach was quick to credit the hosts for a strong Group I showing in Tbilisi. "We had a number of chances but Georgia produced a very fine display and did not give us opportunities to attack," said the former midfielder.
Georgia coach Temuri Ketsbaia, meanwhile, was left thinking his team might have come away with an even more improbable result. "During the break we said we must have overestimated France a bit," said the 45-year-old, Georgia's coach since 2009. "We had to attack with more courage and we started the second half brightly.
"I am proud of my lads," added the former forward. "They delivered a great performance. We were no weaker than our strong opponents in any respect. France had their chances but so did we. The fans who did not come tonight missed a lot."
Any supporters failing to get tickets for Estonia's Group D match against the Netherlands in Tallinn missed an even more spectacular occasion. Undeterred by Arjen Robben's early opener, Tarmo Rüütli's team struck back with two goals from Konstantin Vassiljev. In fact, they were only denied a famous victory when Robin van Persie equalised from the penalty spot four minutes into added time.
"We were unlucky in the dying minutes but 2-2 against the Dutch is a great result," said Vassiljev, whose wife gave birth to the couple's second daughter recently. "Of course, it was one of our best games ever. It would have been the best if we had won. We did our best and deserved a draw."
Given that Estonia conceded inside two minutes, some might have feared a mauling but FC Amkar Perm attacking midfielder Vassiljev, 29, was proud of the way the Baltic side responded. "Even the world's best defenders cannot cope with players like theirs," he said. "After the goal, the Netherlands controlled the ball but we controlled the flow of the game. If someone told us beforehand we would get a point, no one would have objected."
Captain Ragnar Klavan hoped the result would inspire his colleagues. "Matches like that charge you with strength and energy," the FC Augsburg defender said. "I am sure not a single fan here experienced any shortage of emotion. This is why people come to the stadium!"
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