What have the Georgia national team been up to in the 13 months since Ireland last faced them?

The 2018 World Cup qualifier sees the Boys in Green host a side that held their own

Shane Long, Zurab Khizanishvili, Georgia, Ireland

Shane Long with Zurab Khizanishvili of Georgia after the game ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne.

When it comes to Georgia, Ireland has plenty of recent history with the nation from the Caucuses on the football field.

Sure, getting to Euro 2016 in the first place came by way of narrow wins home and away against the country of 3.7 million who have produced the likes of Temuri Ketsbaia, Kahka Kaladze and Georgi Kinkladze over the years.

To be perfectly honest, individual moments of magic got Ireland away from draws that would have been damaging.

The first was that lovely swivel and strike from Aiden McGeady in Tbilisi at the start of the campaign, securing a 2-1 win.

And then it was Jeff Hendrick's turn on September 7th 2015. At that point, the now Burnley midfielder was not an established first-team player as he would become during Euro 2016.

But his bit of skill prior to setting up Jon Walters for an Aviva Stadium winner was the standout moment of the 1-0 victory.

The six points were vital in getting us a playoff place and given that the World Cup qualifiers provide one fewer qualification or playoff spot, getting maximum points from the home and away legs against both Georgia and Moldova is crucial.

The two nations are viewed as the weakest in a group featuring ourselves, Serbia, Wales and Austria. As Georgia showed us, they are going to be very tricky and tough to get past.

Robbie Keane and Aleksandre Amisulashvili of Georgia have both retired from international duty since the last head-to-head ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

But what has changed for them since our last meeting in Autumn 2015?

Well, for one thing, they have experienced a change of manager.

Wladimir Weiss, who is father to ex-Manchester City, Rangers and Bolton winger Vladimir and led Slovakia to the 2010 World Cup, replaced Kakhaber Tskhadadze in March.

But results haven't really gone his way since then with one very notable exception.

While, Georgia have drawn one and lost three of their five matches, they did beat Spain.

Albeit it was a pre-Euro 2016 friendly on June 7th in Getafe, Madrid, but a win over Spain is still a win over Spain for a country like Georgia.

However competitively, their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign started with a home defeat to Austria with attacking midfielder Jano Ananidze's late goal not enough to overcome the Alpine nation in a 2-1 loss.

The stats from that match however, tell a slightly different tale. Georgia had 17 attempts at goal compared to Austria's seven, although the latter had more on target.

But Georgia also hit the woodwork in the game as they came close to getting something from the game. 

So from that evidence and our two competitive head-to-heads in the Euro 2016 cycle, we can be sure of a tough battle at the Aviva Stadium.