Group H-Portugal vs Ghana Preview

Group H


Portugal vs Ghana | Thursday 24 November | Stadium 974 | 18:00

Portugal look to start the World Cup group stages with a bang when they take on Ghana in the first match. This Group H encounter will take place on November 24. Both teams have had a mediocre run in recent World Cup editions. This will be the first meeting between Portugal and Ghana since 2014 when the two teams played at the World Cup. Portugal ran out 2-1 winners back then.

To Win

Portugal 4/10

Draw 29/10

Ghana 7/1

Portugal heads into the World Cup with one of this year’s best squads. It will be interesting to see who Fernando Santos picks as his starting XI because they have so much quality in all areas of the field. At the back, I expect Joao Cancelo to replicate his Manchester City form and turn provider when needed in attack.

In midfield, Bernando Silva will be the chief architect alongside Bruno Fernandes, while they have plenty of options to shield the back four.

Upfront, the main focus will undoubtedly be on Christian Ronaldo. Even if the domestic form of the Manchester United superstar has been quite mixed, he has frequently delivered the goods for the national team. The numbers are still impressive for the 37-year-old, who is likely to appear in the World Cup for the final time.

Portugal and Ghana have only squared off one time, back in the 2014 group stages, when the European nation won 2-1 on a Ronaldo match-winner.

Ghana didn’t have a great run in the qualifiers, advancing from the African qualification group by the slender margins. They finished with the same number of points as second-seeded South Africa in Group G of the African qualifiers, but managed to advance through based on more goals scored. The third round of qualifiers saw them eliminate Nigeria in two games. They actually made it thanks to an away goal, scored by Thomas Partey. The team may not have a lot of expectation coming into the World Cup after having failed to reach the 2018 edition while also failing to get past the group stage in 2014.

The Black Stars’ coach, Otto Addo, will be tasked with getting his players to gel, with some having never played with each other in a competitive match. Getting the likes of Brighton’s Tariq Lamptey and Athletic Bilbao’s Inaki Williams to switch allegiances could be crucial to Ghana’s chances of making it out the group. Ayew brothers, Andre and Jordan, as well as Ajax’s Muhammed Kudus, are threats in attack, while Arsenal’s Partey is their key man in midfield.

Prediction: Portugal Win (4/10)
Portugal will fancy their chances of picking up a victory in this their first fixture of the competition. Winning 10 of their last 15 at the time of writing, Fernando Santos’ side are in good form and a victory here seems likely.

Mcebo Mpungose