Georgia captain Guram Kashia looks to tackle Ireland’s set-piece threat

Neutralising Ireland’s threat from set-pieces is the key to shocking the hosts tonight, according to Georgia captain Guram Kashia.
Georgia captain Guram Kashia looks to tackle Ireland’s set-piece threat

All seven previous meetings between the nations have gone the way of Ireland and the Vitesse Arnhem defender has played in enough of those to appreciate the perils of nodding off from dead-ball situations.

From that perspective, the loss of regular right-back Ucha Lobjanidze to an injury picked up during their long stay in Dublin this week dents their game-plan, leaving the likes of Kashia to impart his knowledge on those facing the Irish for the first time.

“Our vulnerability in past encounters against Ireland was from set-pieces, so we’ve to draw lessons from those defeats,” said the 29-year-old.

“Cutting out the mistakes will determine the outcome because I know we have the players capable of creating chances against Ireland.

“We are a better team now than the last campaign and, with no big nation in this World Cup group, I believe this is our best chance of qualifying.”

Observing the heroics of Iceland at the Euros seems to have invoked such aspirational notions for Kashia as his manager, the experienced Vladimir Weiss, stepped in to revise the expectation level downwards.

“Reaching the World Cup is a very difficult task, much harder than qualifying for the Euros,” said Weiss.

“Starting with Georgia is like the day I began managing Slovakia. The team suffered plenty of unlucky defeats, made mostly by physical or tactical errors.

“Still, I saw the potential because there are a lot of talented players, a lot of technical players.

“We are moving forward step by step, day by day. It is too early to say I can do the same here as I did for Georgia but the country has a sweet footballing future.”

Another slow start will likely prolong their pitiful away record, emphasising the need for Georgia to keep matters tight in a bid to silence a home crowd expecting not just a win but goals.

“I know our record against Ireland is not good but we must concentrate on the present and forget about previous results,” said Kashia.

“We have a new coach, some new players, and other players with more experience now than before.

“This could be a physical game and we need to win those battles. I love the British style of football and we saw how well Iceland did at the Euros by playing that way. They are an inspiration to countries like us and we must try follow them by picking up points and challenging for qualification. This is a very open group.”

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