- Portugal v Ghana
- Thursday, November 24, 2022, 11:00 ET
- At Stadium 974, Doha
Portugal have an array of attacking talent, but they face a tough opening World Cup challenge against Ghana
Who do Bettors Favor?
There is a clear favorite among bettors for this game, at least judging by the prices available at the best-rated online sportsbooks. Portugal are rated as low as -250 by some bookmakers, while the draw can be backed around the +350 mark and Ghana are available at up to +800
|Portugal v Ghana|
World Cup Group H Betting Briefing
World Cup Group H offers a fascinating mix of football styles and is one of the most unpredictable Groups in the tournament. Obviously, Portugal are the favorites to win the section, but they face some stiff competition, not least from World Cup regulars Uruguay, who are always tough to play against.
The other two teams in the Group are also dangerous. Ghana have a young and dynamic squad that has huge potential, while South Korea, led by Tottenham striker Son Heung-min cannot be underestimated.
There is also an added twist to this Group as it has been paired with Group G in the Round of 16 schedule. Qualifying from Group H in second place, therefore, is likely to mean a meeting with Brazil at the beginning of the knockout stages, which is probably the toughest of possible Round of 16 fixtures, so there is a big incentive to win this Group rather than simply finishing in the top two.
One Last Try for Ronaldo
At the age of 37, this will undoubtedly be Cristiano Ronaldo’s last World Cup as a player, and he would dearly love to sign off by winning the one trophy that has so far eluded him. His preparations for this last try at winning the World Cup have been far from ideal, however, and the ongoing deadlock with Manchester United means that he has hardly played this season.
Ronaldo does have a record of being at his best for major tournaments so it is probably safe to assume that he will firing on all cylinders in Qatar, but Portugal have one major issue to resolve.
Fernando Santos delivered Euro 2016 for the nation so has plenty of credit in the bank, but there is increasing frustration in Portugal and reportedly among his players about a perceived lack of adventure and a relatively negative approach. The criticism is all the more urgent because Portugal will go into this tournament with some extremely talented and attack-minded players, including Rafael Leao, Bruno Fernandes, Bernardo Silva and Joao Felix. Will Santos play it safe or loosen the reins a little and allow his best players to express themselves?
Ghana Pose a Threat
The positioning of the AFCON 2021 tournament before the final round of CAF qualifying games means that several African nations swapped managers in between, some with great success, including Ghana.
Their miserable AFCON campaign, which culminated in a humiliating 3-2 defeat against Comoros, saw the end of Milovan Rajevac’s second spell as coach and his replacement with Otto Addo, who proceeded to guide the team through a tricky World Cup qualification tie against Nigeria.
If they play to their potential, there is enough quality in this Ghana squad to cause major problems for all of their Group H opponents and they could pose a threat to Portugal. Thomas Partey is still a major influence in midfield, the Ayew brothers are still there and there have been significant new additions to the squad in Inaki Williams, who chose Ghana over Spain, and full-back Tariq Lamptey, while forward Mohammed Kudus is in excellent goal-scoring form.
World Cup Group H Match Betting Pick
This is a tricky Group game to weigh up as both teams have obvious talents and obvious flaws. In the case of Ghana, team spirit and collective responsibility have both been lacking at crucial times, most notably during their AFCON 2021 campaign, although that was a particularly low time.
For Portugal, the problem could be the coach. Santos has been used to draining the maximum potential from a limited group, with Ronaldo adding the star quality, but the Portugal squad is arguably as strong now as it was in the heydey of Luis Figo, Deco and Rui Costa. But playing a negative, cautious style risks allowing opponents to stay in the game and gain confidence.
Clearly, Portugal’s players want to play a more expansive style, and Santos may feel that this opening game is an opportunity to do so. However, even if caution prevails, Portugal’s greater experience will surely be enough to carry them to victory here and they look like a solid pick in the match betting market.