England made 4 changes to the team who played against Poland, to face Georgia. Shearer was missing due to injury, Campbell made only his 3rd appearance for England's first team, and Adams and Batty were re-called to the starting line-up. Adams, in Shearer's absence, was re-instated as captain.
It looked as though England were off to a great start in only the 2nd minute, but Sheringham was tacked by Lobjanidze and the opportunity was gone. The Georgians then came at England menacingly, and at times the English defence seemed hard pressed to cope with the barrage of attacks. Within the first few minutes Georgia were able to match England's early effort when they had a couple of opportunities to capitalise on their promising runs forward. Arveladze blasted his shot over the crossbar and Tskhadadze headed the ball over the target. However, after Seaman had saved Ketsbiai's attempt, England caught
Georgia on the counter attack. In a beautiful flowing movement Gascoigne fed the ball to Les Ferdinand, who passed the ball for Sheringham to lob the 'keeper with his right foot. So, following a tricky start England found themselves 1-0 up.
Beckham almost scored in the 31st minute with a strike from 30 yards but the ball just glimpsed over the goal.
After an appalling tackle by Shelia on Gascoigne the England midfielder punished the Georgian by letting his football do the talking. Gascoigne started the play again for the visitors second goal. Gascoigne passed the ball, after charging up the pitch, to Sheringham who found Ferdinand. The Newcastle striker kept control after Tskhadadze tried to dispossess him, and thumped the ball in
to the back of the net. Nine minutes before the end of the first half England were ahead by 2 goals, and the midfield were orchastrating the play.
In an effort to overcome the deficit Georgia made 2 changes during the second half. Gogrichiani came on for Arveladze and Ghudushauri replaced Gogichaishvili. Unfortunately for the Georgians these substitutions efforts came to no avail, although Kobiashili had an opportunity to pull a goal back towards the end but this was prevented by poor finishing. England had
opportunities to seal the game with a third goal through Batty, Wright (replacing Ferdinand) and Beckham, who could have had his first international goal, but were all unsuccessful. The final score put England to the top the their group.
In an interview after the game Hoddle had this to say:
"We've now got a psychological advantage when we play Italy in February. I can have a good Christmas now. It was a good all-round display with some fine individual performances. We gave the Georgians a lot of respect. It's not an easy place to come and win but we probably deserved it. Georgi Kinkladze is a superb footballer, but we stopped him playing today. We got the early goal and that gave us a good lift and confidence."
Zoidze, Lobjanidze, Tskhadadze,Shelia, Kobiashvili (Ghudushauri 67 mins), Nemsadze, Jamarauli, Ketsbiai, Kinkladze, Arveladze (Gogrichiani 52 mins), Gogichaishvili.
Subs Not Used: Togonidze, Revisvili, Inalishvili, Jishkariani, Tskitishvili.
Seaman, Southgate, Adams, Campbell, Beckham, Hinchcliffe, Batty, Gascoigne, Ince, Sheringham, L Ferdinand (Wright 81 mins).
Subs Not Used: G Neville, Walker, Pearce, Platt, McManaman, Le Tissier.
England Scorers: Sheringham (15 mins), Ferdinand (37 mins)
England Caution: Beckham
Referee: J C Monteiro (Portugal)