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Euro 2024: Georgia and the Czech Republic desperate to get off the mark in Group F

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Euro 2024: Georgia and the Czech Republic desperate to get off the mark in Group F
Sport

Sport

Euro 2024: Georgia and the Czech Republic desperate to get off the mark in Group F

2024-06-21 20:18 Last Updated At:20:20

HAMBURG, Germany (AP) — Georgia and the Czech Republic are desperately seeking a win as they meet in their second game of Euro 2024 in Hamburg. Kickoff is at 3 p.m. local time (1300 GMT) on Saturday. Turkey and Portugal are the other two teams in Group F and play later Saturday. Here’s what to know about the match:

— Georgia and the Czech Republic were praised for fighting hard in their opening games but didn't get any points as Turkey beat Georgia 3-1 and Portugal beat the Czechs 2-1 on a stoppage-time goal from Francisco Conceicao.

— A win for either team would boost their chances of qualifying for the knockout rounds. The losing team wouldn't be eliminated for sure just yet because of the rule that some third-place teams can qualify. A draw would leave Georgia needing an upset win over Portugal in its last game, and the Czech team needing the same against Turkey.

__ Georgian fans were involved in a brawl in the stadium ahead of the Turkey game.

— Georgia midfielder Otar Kiteishvili has been on an individual training program separate from the rest of the squad. He was an unused substitute in the loss to Turkey.

— Czech coach Ivan Hasek played down fitness concerns around captain and midfielder Tomas Soucek, saying he has been in full training. “I think everybody will be ready to start tomorrow,” he said.

— Czech striker Patrik Schick is set to play his 40th game for his country and his next goal will be his 20th. Five of his international goals to date came at the last European Championship.

"Getting out of the group should be the goal, but the most important thing now is to put on a good show. We are still in the development phase and this tournament will help us to become even stronger in the future.” — Georgia coach Willy Sagnol.

“I’m not nervous because football has given me everything and hard moments are something that I enjoy...Tomorrow is a great opportunity for me.” — Czech midfielder Antonin Barak.

AP Euro 2024: https://apnews.com/hub/euro-2024

Czech Republic's Ladislav Krejci, centre, reacts at the end of Group F match between Portugal and Czech Republic at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Leipzig, Germany, Tuesday, June 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Czech Republic's Ladislav Krejci, centre, reacts at the end of Group F match between Portugal and Czech Republic at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Leipzig, Germany, Tuesday, June 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Georgia's Luka Lochoshvili, left, talks to Georgia's Khvicha Kvaratskhelia during a Group F match between Turkey and Georgia at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Dortmund, Germany, Tuesday, June 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Georgia's Luka Lochoshvili, left, talks to Georgia's Khvicha Kvaratskhelia during a Group F match between Turkey and Georgia at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Dortmund, Germany, Tuesday, June 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Bangladesh has been gripped by violence this week after relentless clashes between student protesters, security officials and pro-government student activists over a quota system for government jobs.

Protest organizers say they are imposing “a complete shutdown” across Bangladesh on Thursday, except for essential services. This comes after several major universities in the country agreed to shut their doors indefinitely until tensions ease.

Here’s what we know:

The protests, which have drawn tens of thousands out on the streets, began late last month but tensions escalated on Monday when student activists at Dhaka University, the country’s largest, clashed with police and counter-protesters backed by the ruling Awami League. At least 100 people were injured in the aftermath.

The next day, as violence continued to roil campuses across Bangladesh, six people were killed. More clashes were also reported on Wednesday and Thursday and paramilitary forces were deployed to patrol the streets of major cities.

In response, major universities said they will close until the situation is resolved in order to protect students.

The protesters say they will continue to demonstrate but are open to discussions with the government. More violence took place on Thursday in Dhaka and elsewhere in the country as police fired tear gas at protesters, according to police officials and local television.

At the heart of the demonstrations is a quota system that reserves up to 30% of government jobs for family members of veterans who fought in Bangladesh’s 1971 war of independence against Pakistan.

Protesters want to abolish this system, which they say is discriminatory and benefits supporters of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's Awami League party, which led the independence movement. They want it replaced with a system that’s based on merit.

Even though job opportunities have grown in some parts of the private sector, many people prefer government jobs because they are seen as more stable and lucrative. But there aren’t enough to go around — each year, some 400,000 graduates compete for around 3,000 jobs in the civil service exam.

Under the quota system, government jobs are also reserved for women, disabled people and members of ethnic minorities, but students have mainly protested against jobs reserved for veterans’ families.

Hasina has defended the quota system, saying that veterans deserve the highest respect for their contributions in the war regardless of their political affiliation.

Her government has also accused the main opposition parties, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party and the right wing Jamaat-e-Islami party, of fueling chaos. The BNP has backed the students' calls for shutdown on Thursday.

On Wednesday, authorities also raided the headquarters of the BNP and arrested several activists from the party's student wing.

The clashes come months after Hasina maintained power in an election that was boycotted by opposition parties and saw opposition members jailed ahead of the polls.

This isn’t the first time there’s been uproar over this issue. In 2018, Hasina’s government halted the quotas after mass student protests.

However, the High Court nullified that decision last month and reinstated the quotas after relatives of the 1971 veterans filed petitions, sparking the latest round of protests. The Supreme Court suspended that decision and promised to rule on the issue on Aug. 7. Despite this, the protests have persisted.

“I am requesting all to wait with patience until the verdict is delivered,” Hasina said in a televised address Wednesday evening. “I believe our students will get justice from the apex court. They will not be disappointed.”

The furore has also highlighted cracks in Bangladesh’s governance and economy following the pandemic and global upheaval of the wars in Ukraine and Gaza and reflect a lack of good quality jobs available for young graduates.

“The reason behind such huge participation is that many students go through the bitter experience of not finding the jobs they deserve after completing their education," wrote Anu Muhammad, a former economics professor and analyst, in the Dhaka-based Daily Star newspaper. "In addition, rampant corruption and irregularities in government job recruitment exams and selection processes have created immense frustration and anger.”

“The country’s economy shows growth, but jobs are not being created,” he wrote.

Hasnat Abdullah, a protest coordinator, said the students want to return to classes but will do so once their demands are met.

On Thursday afternoon, Bangladesh’s Law Minister Anisul Huq said that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina asked him to sit with the protesters for a dialogue, and he was ready to sit down on Thursday if protesters were willing.

AP writer Krutika Pathi contributed from New Delhi, India.

Students advocating for quota reform in public service held a mock funeral at Dhaka University in memory of those who died during clashes, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Wednesday, July 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Rajib Dhar)

Students advocating for quota reform in public service held a mock funeral at Dhaka University in memory of those who died during clashes, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Wednesday, July 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Rajib Dhar)

CORRECTS LOCATION - Students clash over quota system at New market area of Dhaka, Bangladesh, Tuesday, July 16, 2024. Police have fired tear gas and charged with batons overnight during violent clashes between a pro-government student body and student protesters, leaving dozens injured at a leading public university outside Bangladesh's capital over quota system in government jobs, police and students said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Mahmud Hossain Opu)

CORRECTS LOCATION - Students clash over quota system at New market area of Dhaka, Bangladesh, Tuesday, July 16, 2024. Police have fired tear gas and charged with batons overnight during violent clashes between a pro-government student body and student protesters, leaving dozens injured at a leading public university outside Bangladesh's capital over quota system in government jobs, police and students said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Mahmud Hossain Opu)

Police fire tear gas shells and rubber bullets to disperse students shouting slogans in favor of quota system in public service at the university campus, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Wednesday, July 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Rajib Dhar)

Police fire tear gas shells and rubber bullets to disperse students shouting slogans in favor of quota system in public service at the university campus, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Wednesday, July 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Rajib Dhar)

Police fire tear gas shells and rubber bullets to disperse students shouting slogans in favor of quota system in public service at the university campus, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Wednesday, July 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Rajib Dhar)

Police fire tear gas shells and rubber bullets to disperse students shouting slogans in favor of quota system in public service at the university campus, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Wednesday, July 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Rajib Dhar)

Students clash over quota system at Jahangir Nagar University at Savar outside Dhaka, Bangladesh, Monday, July 15, 2024. Police have fired tear gas and charged with batons overnight during violent clashes between a pro-government student body and student protesters, leaving dozens injured at a leading public university outside Bangladesh's capital over quota system in government jobs, police and students said Tuesday.(AP Photo/Abdul Goni)

Students clash over quota system at Jahangir Nagar University at Savar outside Dhaka, Bangladesh, Monday, July 15, 2024. Police have fired tear gas and charged with batons overnight during violent clashes between a pro-government student body and student protesters, leaving dozens injured at a leading public university outside Bangladesh's capital over quota system in government jobs, police and students said Tuesday.(AP Photo/Abdul Goni)

Here's what to know about the violent protests over government jobs roiling Bangladesh

Here's what to know about the violent protests over government jobs roiling Bangladesh

Here's what to know about the violent protests over government jobs roiling Bangladesh

Here's what to know about the violent protests over government jobs roiling Bangladesh

Students clash over quota system at Jahangir Nagar University at Savar outside Dhaka, Bangladesh, Monday, July 15, 2024. Police have fired tear gas and charged with batons overnight during violent clashes between a pro-government student body and student protesters, leaving dozens injured at a leading public university outside Bangladesh's capital over quota system in government jobs, police and students said Tuesday.(AP Photo/Abdul Goni)

Students clash over quota system at Jahangir Nagar University at Savar outside Dhaka, Bangladesh, Monday, July 15, 2024. Police have fired tear gas and charged with batons overnight during violent clashes between a pro-government student body and student protesters, leaving dozens injured at a leading public university outside Bangladesh's capital over quota system in government jobs, police and students said Tuesday.(AP Photo/Abdul Goni)

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