TBILISI: Georgia qualified for Euro 2024 thanks to a 4-2 shootout win over Greece after a tense playoff final ended 0-0 following extra time to reach their first major tournament.

Nika Kvekveskiri converted his spot kick after Greece’s Giorgos Giakoumakis put his penalty wide to send the home crowd wild as their side edged through to the finals.

Giorgi Mamardashvili saved Greece’s first effort from Anastasios Bakasetas after the hosts had taken the lead in the shootout but Georgia’s Georges Mikautadze missed his spot kick to give the Greeks renewed hope.

When Giakoumakis sent Greece’s fourth penalty past the post that left Georgia’s Kvekveskiri to become the hero as he kept his cool and squeezed his right-foot spot kick into the net.

The home crowd had watched Georgia beat Luxembourg 2-0 in the playoff semi-final last Thursday but were made to suffer through Tuesday’s shootout before celebrating as never before.

Georgia will be in Group F alongside Portugal, Turkey and Czech Republic at the Euros in Germany which begin on June 14.

The game was a scrappy, nervy affair, with chances in normal time few and far between. Tempers flared on the stroke of halftime as both benches spilled onto the pitch with Georgia’s substitute keeper Giorgi Loria shown a red card.

The game came to life close to the end of the opening period of extra time, with Georgia keeper Mamardashvili getting down to push away a shot from Bakasetas and Greece’s Konstantinos Mavropanos hitting the bar with a header.

Georgia then had the chance to snatch a winner when Georges Mikautadze passed to Zuriko Davitashvili at the edge of the six- yard box but his close-range effort was saved by Odysseas Vlachodimos and a penalty shootout seemed inevitable.

The optimistic home crowd displayed a banner before the game which read “Breaking news, Georgia make history” and, in the end, they could wave it proudly when Kvekveskiri’s decisive penalty hit the back of the net to send their team to Germany.