Will CR7 score in his fifth World Cup?

On Thursday, the final eight teams get into the action at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Before the five-time world champions from Sugarloaf tackle the title mission in the evening match, there will be the first appearance of superstar Cristiano Ronaldo at 5pm.

In Group H, Portugal will face Ghana, a bet on the 2016 European champions is considered very likely by the bookmakers and a maximum of 1.40 is offered for the success of the Europeans, at the bookmaker Bwin, which we tested.

The Portuguese are not only the clear favourites in this match, but are also contenders to win Group H. This group of four is rounded off by a group of four. This group of four is completed by the national teams from Uruguay and South Korea. Portugal have not exactly delivered convincing results in the recent World Cup past, winning only three of the last 14 World Cup matches.

Given the quality of the attack between Portugal and Ghana, the prediction of a game with many goals is quite obvious. This is also supported by the fact that Ghana have scored once in each of their last five World Cup matches.

The venue is Stadium 974 in Doha, where a total of six preliminary round matches and one round of 16 match will be played. The capacity is just under 44,000 spectators, with the match kicking off at 5pm on Thursday.

Portugal – Statistics & current form

The Portuguese side have been regulars at World Cups since the 2002 World Cup. While the European Championship in 2016 was a great success, the semi-final has been the highest of the feelings at World Cups so far. Qatar 2022 will probably be the last major tournament for superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, who is driven by ambition to prove his many critics wrong. At the same time, he wants to play himself into the limelight once again, because after his explosive interview, a future at Manchester United is no longer conceivable.

A lap of honour was necessary

Only five European teams have featured at every World Cup finals since 2002. Qualification for the tournament in Qatar only went according to plan to a limited extent. With 17 points from eight qualifying matches, Ronaldo & Co. missed out on winning their group, while Serbia secured a direct ticket to the World Cup. So they went into an extra round and wins against Turkey and North Macedonia secured qualification.

On Thursday, Cristiano Ronaldo could write football history once again. So far, the 37-year-old has scored in four different World Cups, a feat achieved only by Pele, Uwe Seeler and Miroslav Klose. No player has ever scored in five World Cups. Between Portugal and Ghana, odds of around 2.10 are offered for a goal by “CR7”. His seven World Cup goals so far have all come in the group stage.

However, Portugal is not only Cristiano Ronaldo, which became particularly clear in the Euro 2016 final, but also shows the current squad of Fernando Santos. The Portuguese have enormous qualities, especially on the offensive. Rossoneri Rafael Leao was voted the best Serie A player in 2021/22 and continues to perform at the highest level. With Joao Felix, Bruno Fernandes or even Bernardo Silva, there is another highly talented trio.

The offensive power that Portugal can develop in the 4-3-3 system with the extremely attacking wing-backs (Joao Cancelo, Nuno Mendes/Raphael Guerreiro) is enormous. But long-term coach Fernando Santos has a strong safety aspect and too much risk is not taken. The balance always has to be right and if a draw is enough once in a while, then victory is not not pushed.

Predicted line-up of Portugal:
Diego Costa – Mendes, Dias, Silva, Cancelo – Bruno Fernandes, Carvalho – Joao Felix, Bernardo Silva, Rafael Leao  – Cristiano Ronaldo

Last matches played by Portugal:

Friendly matches
18/11/2022 – Portugal 4 – 0 Nigeria

UEFA Nations League A Grp. 2
28/09/2022 – Portugal 0 – 1 Spain

25/09/2022 – Czech Republic 0 – 4 Portugal

13/06/2022 – Switzerland 1 – 0 Portugal

10/06/2022 – Portugal 2 – 0 Czech Republic

Ghana – Statistics & current form

In African qualifying, there was still a knockout clash after the group stage to finally punch their ticket. Just before these matches, the Ghana Football Association decided to make a change. Serbian head coach Milovan Rajevac (who had already worked from 2008 to 2010) was relieved of his duties after a disappointing Africa Cup of Nations. At that time, Otto Addo was already working as a co-coach in addition to his function as BVB talent coach. Now he took over his home country permanently and led Ghana towards Qatar in the duel against Nigeria at the end of March.

Wrong underdogs according to the world rankings

The significance of the FIFA World Ranking is open to question, but it is a small indication of the strength of a national team. Ghana is currently only ranked 61st in this list and is thus the weakest team of all 32 World Cup starters. Whether Ghana is actually weaker than Saudi Arabia, Iran or hosts Qatar must surely be doubted.

However, Ghana certainly deserves the role of outsider in this group. Yet the quality of Otto Addo’s squad has improved considerably in recent months. This is not to be explained by an explosion in the performance of some of the Black Stars’ players, but rather by the fact that Ghana has been able to convince some well-known players to switch associations. The Basque Inaki Williams, Tariq Lamptey, Denis Odoi or Stephan Ambrosius have opted for the country of their ancestors.

The newly formed team recently showed its mettle in the dress rehearsal against Switzerland (2:0 victory). So the Addo protégés should by no means be underestimated. Especially offensively, Ghana can be expected to score at least one goal. Ghana have scored at least one goal in each of their last five World Cup matches. In the World Cup opener between Portugal and Ghana, betting on both teams to score is very interesting, especially because of the very high odds of up to 2.50.

Predicted line-up of Ghana:
Ati Zigi – Baba, Salisu, Amartey, Lamptey – Owusu, Abdul Samed – Andre Ayew, Williams, Barnieh – Jordan Ayew

Last matches played by Ghana:

Friendly matches
17/11/2022 – Switzerland 0 – 2 Ghana

28/09/2022 – Nicaragua 0 – 1 Ghana

24/09/2022 – Brazil 3 – 0 Ghana

African Nations Championship Qualification
03/09/2022 – Nigeria (4)2 – 0(5) Ghana

28/08/2022 – Ghana 2 – 0 Nigeria

Portugal – Ghana Direct comparison / H2H balance

The direct comparison between the two teams actually spits out a match. Eight years ago, at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, this clash also occurred in the group stage. An own goal gave Portugal the lead in the first half before Asamoah Gyan equalised for the Black Stars in the second. However, Cristiano Ronaldo was on hand once again in the closing stages to secure a 2-1 win for Portugal.

Portugal – Ghana Tip

The opening match of the World Cup is of great importance. The Portuguese eleven disappointed in the last attempts, but this year the victory is firmly planned. Against the nominally weakest team in this group, a win is almost mandatory. However, the odds on the favourite winning the match between Portugal and Ghana are not particularly lucrative. But the odds offered on the goal markets are very interesting.

The first World Cup matches and also the statements of ex-referee Pierluigi Collina have shown that a lot of stoppage time is to be expected in Qatar. The delays in play are to be cushioned by a large amount of stoppage time. So a football match will not only last 90+3 minutes, but 100-minute matches will not be uncommon.

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