Georgia keen to wrestle good result from Ireland
A bunch of sportsmen from Georgia have been elevated to the status of national heroes this week on the back of their achievements.
It's not the footballers from their national team but Georgia's competitors in the fields of basketball, judo and wrestling, two Georgians crowded world champions in wrestling (the proper kind, Giant Haystacks and his ilk would not get a welcome here) in the last few days.
The challenge for the footballers against Ireland is to try and win something like that national acclaim, a big ask for a side yet to win a match in this campaign.
They have been given pats on the back and words of praise from opposing managers for their displays against the likes of Ireland and Serbia, but manager Vladimir Weiss wants points, not plaudits, as they try to end that run of eight losses in eight games against Ireland.
"Everyone says 'you play well, you have good potential but we need a good result, finally," says Weiss, the Russian-speaking, Slovakia-born coach of the Georgian national side.
"We have potential, we have a lot of talented players, and I hope we have better time in the next campaign, but for now we play for points, for the honour of the team and we try to get a good result here.
"We have three more games after this one with Ireland, if we can do something in this group it would be good for us."
Weiss, unsure if he will get a contract into the next campaign, is eager to get something on the board against Ireland.
"Of course it's a very difficult situation for us, but every game the national team plays is important. We haven't had a win yet so it's important for us to get the first win of the group, for the fans," he said.
"I have said in the past that this group of players has potential, we have missed a bit of luck and aggression that has prevented us from getting better results but I can guarantee that our team will be their all for this game tonight."
The charge against Georgia is that they can play well for half a game but struggle to sustain that for 90 minutes, something their captain, defender Guram Kashia, is aware of.
"With the current senior national side, there are a lot of players, and this has been a problem for us, who lack match practice, they don't play consistently for 90 minutes at their clubs," says the Dutch-based defender.
"After that it's very hard to come to the national side and play for 90 minutes at a high level, that's the reason why we play well in one half we but not managed it for 90 minutes, it's a problem for our coach, one he faces all the time."