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Portugal start campaign against gritty Ghana


24 Nov 2022 00:00:00 | Update: 24 Nov 2022 01:11:34
Portugal start campaign against gritty Ghana

Portugal have come to Qatar with a squad that has been deemed by many as their best ever and they will start the mission to win their first-ever World Cup against a Ghana side whose biggest power is their grit to grind out results.

While much of the talking regarding Portugal has been about Cristiano Ronaldo’s relationship going sour with his club Manchester United, those talks have now succumbed as they have cut ties and Ronaldo will be joining a new club after the World Cup.

Besides that, Portugal have a great squad as coach Fernando Santos has a lot of options to choose from. Diogo Costa of Porto is likely to start in goal for them, with Ruben Neves and Pepe pairing for central defence. Diogo Dalot and Raphael Guerreiro are set to play as full-backs, with Ruben Neves, Bernardo Silva, and Bruno Fernandes forming the midfield.

In attack, Ronaldo will have AC Milan’s Rafael Leao and Atletico Madrid’s Joao Felix to accompany him, along with Goncalo Ramos, Andre Silva, and Ricardo Horta making appearances from the bench.

Portugal are coming with a mixed form as they have won three of their last five matches, losing two.

On the other hand, Ghana have a talented squad in their hands too. They will have Premier League players Daniel Amartey, Tariq Lamptey, and Mohammed Salisu in defence, while their midfield will be led by the excellent Thomas Partey of Arsenal.

Besides Partey, they also have Ajax’s Mohammed Kudus and veteran Andre Ayew, meaning their midfield will be formidable.

Besides the pace of Inaki Williams in attack, Ghana will also have the services of Jordan Ayew, Felix Afena-Gyan, and Kamaldeen Sulemana.

They have pretty good form on their shoulder too as they have won four out of their last five matches, and qualified for the World Cup as the top team of their group.

Ahead of the match, questions were there whether Ronaldo’s issues with United would hamper Portugal’s morale, but Ghana coach Otto Abdo and skipper Ayew brushed it away.

"I don't care, it's not our problem and I don't think it's a big problem," Addo told a press conference Wednesday. "Everybody wants to win and we're at World Cup level, I don't think this can disrupt anybody."

“As my boss said it's not really our problem what's happening in the Portuguese team, they are great professionals, playing for top teams, they will be ready for the World Cup. Portugal are the ones who are favourites on paper, we have to show on the field, that on paper is not what will happen on the pitch,” Ayew said.