Wednesday Nov 23, 2022. 17:00
Doha will welcome Portugal and Ghana to Stadium 974 this week, as the two nations get their 2022 World Cup campaign underway on Thursday evening.
Kick-off is at 6pm (SA, GMT +2)
Led by the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva, Portugal are deemed to be one of the juggernauts at the popular showpiece. As for Ghana, the African nation will be hoping to cause an upset as the lowest ranked team at the World Cup.
The European side showcased inconsistent form ahead of the World Cup, recording three wins and two losses in their last five games in all competitions. In preparation for the tournament, Portugal took on Nigeria earlier this month and came away with a 4-0 win over the Super Eagles in an International Friendly.
Portugal and Ghana last faced each other in the group stage of the 2014 World Cup, as Cristiano Ronaldo scored the winner in a 2-1 victory at Estadio Nacional de Brasilia.
Speaking ahead of the tie, Cristiano Ronaldo described the Ghana tie as the ‘most difficult’ fixture for his nation during the group stage but feels his side has enough quality to win the World Cup.
“I believe our national team has tremendous potential to win the World Cup,” Ronaldo said at a pre-match presser.
“We will see, I believe we can. I have that hope, that belief but we must start well against Ghana.
“But like these competitions always teach us; we must think calmly. We must think and focus on the first group game.
“We must think about the Ghana game which is the most difficult one.”
The Black Star’s dreamy run in the 2010 World Cup is still a hot topic among African football fans today, after the football loving nation reached the quarter-final stage of the tournament. In doing so, Ghana, along with Cameroon and Senegal have the joint-best finish of any African side at the World Cup.
Ghana recorded four wins out of five games in all competitions leading up to the World Cup, with their only loss during this time coming against Brazil (3-0) in an International Friendly back in September.
In reflecting on the World Cup as a whole, Ghana defender Denis Odoi boldly mentioned that the Black Stars need to improve on their world ranking. Also, when asked if Saudi Arabia’s shock 2-1 win over Argentina gave his side motivation, Odoi reiterated that Ghana are focused on the task at hand.
“I swear I can’t believe it, we need to change something about that,” Odoi said as per Ghanaweb.
“It doesn’t give us a motivation; we are here to play as a team, we want to represent Ghana, and my experience shows that if you play as a team in the Champions League, you can’t do anything.”