Update: 01.12.2022 16:25
Doha – On Friday, the rest of Group H will be decided at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. The Portuguese, who have been 100% successful so far in the tournament, are already certain of the elimination fights, and the second participant in the round of 16 will be decided between Ghana, Korea and Uruguay. In the best position is the African team, which has two points more than its competitors. A draw could be enough for the Ghanaians in the duel with Uruguay, on the other hand, the South American team needs to win just like the Koreans against Portugal.
The Ghanaians lost to Portugal 2-3 at the start of the tournament, but then beat Korea with the same result. The African team is starting at the World Cup for the fourth time and only failed to advance from the group at the last participation eight years ago. A draw would be enough for the Ghanaians to take part in the top 16, if Korea beat the Portuguese by no more than one goal or if they did not score a high number of goals in a narrow victory.
The Ghanaians can avenge their World Cup quarter-final defeat to Uruguay in 2010, when the African team was eliminated in a penalty shoot-out after missing a free-kick at the end of regulation time on the hand of Luis Suárez, who prevented a goal on the goal line and was sent off.
“For me, this is not a big issue. Every player would do his best to ensure that his team advances. What happened in 2010 is sad, but we are looking forward,” said Ghana coach Otto Addo. “Uruguay is a very compact team. They have a lot of experience, excellent strikers. It will be very balanced, but we have what it takes to beat them,” he added.
So far, Uruguay remains below expectations in Qatar. The 1930s and 1950s world champions are the only ones not to have scored at the championships as they first drew 0-0 with Korea before losing 2-0 to Portugal. The Uruguayans are starting at the World Cup for the fourth time in a row and have advanced to the playoffs in their last three appearances. This time, even a win might not be enough for them if Korea wins against the Portuguese.
“We are going to put all our soul and life into the upcoming match. Ghana is a very good team, but we know them. We have beaten them before and we know how to beat them again,” said Suárez, who celebrated tumultuously after his dismissal 12 years ago penalty by the Ghanaians. “I have no reason to apologize. It’s not my fault that I didn’t give the penalty,” added the 35-year-old Uruguayan top scorer.
After the triumphs over Ghana and Uruguay, the Portuguese are already certain to advance after two rounds. The European champions from 2016 want to win Group H and avoid the expected winner of the “goofball” Brazil in the round of 16. For that, they need to get at least a point, if they don’t want to rely on the result of the game Ghana – Uruguay. “It would be a battle between two great teams, but both us and the Brazilians wish we could meet later,” Portugal coach Fernando Santos said.
It is uncertain whether captain Cristiano Ronaldo, who missed Wednesday’s training session and was in the gym, will play in the match against Korea. “I think it’s 50 to 50 whether he will play or not. We’ll see how he is physically,” Santos said.
The Koreans have only won a point from their opening two matches and are not in control of the situation. If Ghana beat Uruguay, even a possible victory over Portugal would not be enough for the Asian team to progress. The Koreans, the fourth team from the world championship in 2002, are in danger of finishing in the group for the third time in a row.
Portuguese coach Paulo Bento will be missing from their bench, who received a red card for protests at the end of the last match. He is still looking forward to the fight with his compatriots, which he led in the past. “I was born Portuguese and I will die Portuguese. But now I work for Korea. I trust my assistants, we make most of the decisions together. This time they will be alone, but nothing much will change,” Bento said.
Both games kick off at 16:00 on Friday.
Source: České noviny – sport by www.ceskenoviny.cz.
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