Spain's Bittersweet 3-1 Win: Gavi's Injury Shadows Euro 2024 Qualifiers
|Pablo Martin Paez Gaviria 'Gavi' of Spain receives medical treatment during the UEFA EURO 2024 European qualifier match between Spain and Georgia at Jose Zorrilla on November 19, 2023 in Valladolid, Spain.(Image-Getty)|
In their final Euro 2024 qualifying Group A match, Spain secured a 3-1 victory against Georgia in a bittersweet triumph. Despite already securing the top spot with 21 points from seven wins in eight matches, the victory was marred by midfielder Gavi's unfortunate knee injury.
Spain's only loss in the qualifiers was to second-placed Scotland, who also qualified for the finals, finishing with 17 points after a 3-3 draw with Norway. Georgia concluded in fourth place with eight points, trailing Norway in third by three points, while Cyprus occupied the bottom without earning a point.
The match took a somber turn for Spain's coach Luis de la Fuente as 19-year-old Gavi, who plays for Barcelona, left the pitch in tears during the first half after sustaining a knee injury. De la Fuente expressed the difficulty of the moment, stating, "It seems as if we have lost the game. This is the ugly part of football."
Spain took an early lead in the fourth minute as Ferran Torres' free kick from the left was headed home by Robin Le Normand for his inaugural international goal. However, Georgia quickly leveled the score with Khvicha Kvaratskhelia's straightforward finish six minutes later, coinciding with Gavi's injury.
Despite the setback, Spain regained the lead in the 55th minute with a header from Torres, who paid tribute to his injured teammate by holding up Gavi's Barca jersey. The victory was sealed in the 72nd minute when Georgia's Luka Lochoshvili put the ball into his own net.
Reflecting on the win, Torres expressed mixed emotions, stating, "An important victory to end on a good note, but we leave with a bittersweet feeling because of Gavi's injury." The extent of Gavi's injury awaits confirmation through tests, adding an element of uncertainty to Spain's qualifying success.