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Euro 2024 preview: Georgia looking to shock flawless favourites Spain

As Spain prepare to face Georgia in the Euro 2024 round of 16, memories will undoubtedly drift to the 7-1 thrashing they dished out to the same opponents last year in a match that helped the team gel at a time of turmoil for Spanish football.

On the eve of their Euro 2024 qualifier in Tbilisi, as Spain were licking their wounds from a 2-0 defeat by Scotland, manager Luis de la Fuente was batting away questions about the scandal surrounding then football federation boss Luis Rubiales.

De la Fuente had applauded Rubiales when he said he would not resign amid the controversy sparked by his unsolicited kiss of player Jenni Hermoso after her team's victory in the Women's World Cup a few weeks earlier.

De la Fuente, who had yet to win over sceptical fans and pundits after being limited to coaching Spain's underage squads for over a decade, apologised and said he had been under a great deal of psychological pressure.

He tried to dismiss the idea that the furore could be a distraction for his squad, while several key players read out a statement condemning Rubiales' actions and asking the media to "stick to football" ahead of the match in Tbilisi.

Instead of splitting the team apart, the pressure appeared to galvanize them.

Spain were 4-0 up at half-time against the stunned Georgians, with 16-year-old Lamine Yamal coming off the bench to seal a 7-1 win and become Spain's youngest-ever international and goalscorer.

It was the performance Spanish football needed after the Rubiales scandal and it was the moment when De la Fuente and the players just clicked.

It also marked the first time the coach deployed Yamal and Nico Williams together, confident something big could be brewing by deploying the youngsters up and down the wings.

Spain won

Read more on rte.ie