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Spain won't take Georgia lightly, coach says

Spain will not make the mistake of under-estimating Georgia in their Euro 2024 round of 16 match and will give the challenge the attention it deserves, manager Luis de la Fuente said on Saturday.

With the memories of a 7-1 thrashing Spain dished out to the same opponents last year, De la Fuente said Georgia have made a big improvement since and that his players are experienced enough not to take their rivals lightly on Sunday.

"We all have seen surprising things happen in football and I don't think that will stop happening. Georgia beat Portugal, we have to respect them as opponents, work hard and take the game with the importance that it has so it doesn't happen to us," De la Fuente told a press conference on Saturday.

"They are fast in the counter-attack and very good in the set-pieces. We need to be vigilant and aware so we don't ended up exposed to counter-attacks in speed."

De la Fuente acknowledged his side were heavy favourites after taking Germany by storm with a perfect run of three wins in a tough Group B alongside Italy, Croatia and Albania.

He heaped praise, however, on Georgia's improvement since their Euro 2024 qualifier in Tbilisi in September, saying they had become a feelgood story at the tournament with a series of never-say-die performances including a stunning win over Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal.

De La Fuente said Spain were also a much improved side, remembering the qualifying game against Georgia as a turning point.

Spain went to Georgia licking their wounds from a 2-0 defeat by Scotland and in the middle of the scandal surrounding then football federation chief Luis Rubiales.

"It was a very important game for us, we arrived their under a lot of pressure and we came back from that game as a family, a lot