World Cup 2022 Group H Team Previews
Portugal will be a team to watch in the 2022 World Cup. They feature the legendary Cristiano Ronaldo, who is their captain and top goal scorer. At the age of 37, he is still amongst the top strikers in the world, though realistically this will probably be his final World Cup tournament. He helped guide Portugal to the finals of the European Championship in 2016, but he sustained an injury early in the game and had to be substituted. Despite this, he remained a positive force from the sidelines, and motivated his team to beat France and win Portugal's first international trophy.
In the World Cup, Portugal had their best performance when they reached third place in 1966. In recent times, their best finish came in 2006, when they finished fourth. In 2018, Portugal were grouped with Spain, Iran and Morocco, and qualified for the knockout stage after they finished the group in second place. They then faced Uruguay in the round of the last 16, but they were knocked out after the game ended 2-1 to Uruguay.
The Portuguese team that will enter the World Cup this year has far more accomplished players then their squad in the previous edition of the tournament, and they will be amongst the teams that are favoured to win the title. In goal, they have their long-time goalkeeper Rui Patricio, but they also have Jose Sa for a reliable backup choice. In defence, they have Pepe, who is still playing in the top flight despite being 39 years old. Next to him, there are many defensive options such as Danilo Perreira, Joao Cancelo, Raphael Guerreiro, Ruben Dias, and Nelson Semedo. The Portuguese midfield is littered with talented players such as Bruno Fernandes, Bernardo Silva, Ruben Neves, Joao Moutinho, Renato Sanches, and many more. Cristiano Ronaldo will lead the attack, and he has many good players who can set him up such as Diogo Jota, Andre Silva, Joao Felix, and Goncalo Guedes.
Ghana’s best World Cup performance came at the 2010 World Cup in Africa. They were the only African team in the competition to survive the group stage, and with a nation behind them, the team beat the United States and then faced Uruguay in the quarterfinals. One of the most controversial moments in the World Cup happened when Ghana took a corner in the last minute of extra time, and they had a shot on goal punched off the line by Luis Suarez. Suarez received a red card for the illegal move, and Ghana were set to win the game if they converted the penalty kick. Asamoah Gyan missed the kick, the game went to penalties, and Uruguay won.
It was an extremely sore point for the team, and though they returned to the World Cup in 2014, they were put in a group of death with Germany, the United States, and Portugal. Ghana did not win any of their games and they ended the group at bottom place.
This year they will return to the tournament after missing out on the 2018 edition, and they will be hoping to exact their revenge on Uruguay, who are in the same group. Their head coach, Otto Addo, is a first time manager, after being an assistant coach for Borussia Dortmund and Borussia Monchengladbach. He has multiple options for a goalkeeper, including Ricjard Ofori and Joe Wollacott. In defence, he can use Premier League duo Baba Rahman and Daniel Amartey, as well as Jonathan Mensah, Andy Yiadom, and Alexander Djiku. Mubarak Wakaso is the most capped midfielder player, and alongside him, there are midfielding options such as Thomas Partey, Jeffrey Schlupp, Alfred Duncan and Mohammad Kudus. In attack, they have the two sons of Ghana's most legendary player Abedi Pele: Andre and Jordan Ayew.
South Korea had their best finish in the World Cup in 2002. They hosted the tournament, along with Japan, and managed to reach fourth place. Topping a group that consisted of the United States, Poland and Portugal, South Korea then went on to beat Italy and Spain. They met Germany in the semi-finals and finally lost, and then lost the third place play off to Turkey, but their achievement was celebrated by millions of Asian football fans. Their next best run came in 2010, when they reached the round of the last 16. Their group comprised Argentina, Greece and Nigeria, and South Korea beat Greece, drew with Nigeria and lost to Argentina, but claimed enough points to advance to the knockout stage. There, they faced Uruguay, who knocked them out of the competition.
In 2018, South Korea failed to reach the knockout stage, but the highlight of their World Cup campaign came when they caused a surprise upset to the defending champions Germany. In the last match of the group stage, Germany needed a win to qualify for the knockout stage, but instead they were held to a goalless draw against South Korea. After 90 minutes, 6 minutes of injury time was added to the game and South Korea managed to score 2 goals. This was not enough for them to finish in second place, but it was a great achievement to beat the defending champions.
The key man in the South Korean team is Son Heung-min, who plays for Tottenham Hotspur. There are also some other quality players such as Hwand Hee-chan, who plays for Wolverhampton Wanderers, Hwand Ui-jo, who plays in the Ligue 1, Lee Jae-sung who plays in the Bundesliga, and their captain Kim-Jin su.
Many football fans may not know that Uruguay has won more titles than nations such as England, Spain, Portugal, and the Netherlands. Uruguay have won two World Cups, in 1930 and 1950. The 1930 tournament was the inaugural World Cup, and it was held in Uruguay. In the following 2 World Cups of 1934 and 1938, Uruguay refused to participate because they were held in Europe and it was not seen as fair for the South American footballing federations to be forced to travel there. They won the World Cup held in 1950, the first after the war, and since then, they have finished in fourth place three times. In 2010 they came in fourth when they beat Ghana in the quarterfinals but then were beaten by the Netherlands in the semi-finals. Facing Germany in the third place playoff, they managed to take the lead early in the second half, but Germany equalised and then scored the final goal in the 82nd minute, to end the game 3-2.
In 2018, Uruguay was put in the same group as Russia, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. They won all of their games without conceding a single goal, to go top of the group and qualify for the knockout stage. In the first round of the knockout stage, they beat Portugal, and then went on to the quarterfinals where they were knocked out by France.
The Uruguayan team is full of stars, with a huge age gap between the older players and younger players. Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani, Diego Godin, and Fernando Muslera, are all key players but they are in their mid-30s. This should not be too much of a problem as there are plenty of younger players such as Ronald Araujo, Jose Gimenez, Federico Valverde, Rodrigo Bentacur and Darwin Nunez, who all play in top European clubs.
An Interesting Group for Betting Strategies
Portugal definitely have their list of star players and they will be most fan’s prediction to win the group. However, Uruguay have a huge depth of talent as well, and they have beaten all three teams in recent World Cup knockout stages, so they will be the team to beat. South Korea and Ghana are the two teams least likely to win, but neither team should be underestimated. Ghana will seek revenge on Uruguay, and South Korea is also not likely to be an easy match for any of the other teams in the group.
As such, it is a very hard group to predict, which makes betting on it full of exciting possibilities. There are numerous markets to take advantage of and those who like to strategize may have a lot of fun with this group.