In the third part of PortuGOAL’s mini-series looking at Portugal’s Group H opponents at the FIFA World Cup 2022, we get the lowdown on Ghana with the help of the brilliant African football journalist Gary Al-Smith.

The Seleção open their Qatar World Cup campaign against Ghana on Thursday 24 November. What can Portugal expect? 

 

Ones to watch - Who are Ghana’s star players?

Iñaki Williams, a hard worker who, with the right service, could be a game changer. His inclusion this summer injected a dose of quality upfront that the Black Stars badly need.

Kudus Mohammed, has had a barnstorming season with Ajax, particularly in the Champions League. One of the creative engines of the Ghana side, he has found new life as a false 9 in Amsterdam this campaign, scoring and assisting for fun.

 

Strong points/weak points – what must Portugal beware of and what can they exploit?

Strong points: Might sound cliché, but this bunch seem like they are united, and because of how inexperienced they are, that may count for something. Only two of the 26 players headed to Qatar have World Cup experience - André and Jordan Ayew.

Another strength is the individual quality. Which brings us to... Weak points - This Ghana team have hardly played together for long. A slew of very talented recent debutants, 20-something year-olds, and players who have switched nationality means cohesion may take time to build. If Portugal are united, it could give Ghana problems.

 

Formation and playing style – what system do Ghana usually play? Would you describe them generically as an attacking or a defensive team?

Once again, this Ghana team is so new that we find ourselves in a rare position where we cannot be dead certain of a starting XI. So many factors can go into why the coach, who is also less than nine months in the job, will choose one system over the other.

So far, he has played 4-3-3, 4-5-1, and 4-4-2. He hasn't relied on any one system.

 

Mood in the camp – do you think Ghana come into the World Cup in a confident frame of mind?

They had a disaster of an Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year - the worst in Ghana’s history - then somehow beat Nigeria to book a place in Qatar. And then went on a run of unimpressive performances in friendlies.

Expectation among fans is very low, but Ghanaian football history suggests that is exactly when the team can surprise. Fingers crossed!

 

What was the reaction in the Ghanian media and among the fans to the World Cup draw?

That it is a tough one. Fans are counting on a slum-dunk attitude to get Ghana out of the group, because, to be honest, recent form does not give much hope!

 

Prediction time! Give us your 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th place predictions for Group H.

Call me mad but... Ghana Portugal Uruguay South Korea

 

Our thanks to Gary Al-Smith. For all things Ghanaian and indeed African football, be sure to follow Gary on Twitter @garayalsmith.

 

Related: World Cup opposition watch: the lowdown on Uruguay

Related: World Cup opposition watch: the lowdown on South Korea

 

Comments (3)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Portugal won the first World Cup group stage first game only in 1966, 1986 and in 2006. Every 20 years apparently, so not sure how this game will end :D.

Samuel
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Santos and Portugal must not take any of their opponents lightly! they have strengths that can easily beat Portugal.
For one, African teams fight like hell, they never give up no matter how down in the score they are, two South Korea has a...

Santos and Portugal must not take any of their opponents lightly! they have strengths that can easily beat Portugal.
For one, African teams fight like hell, they never give up no matter how down in the score they are, two South Korea has a talented team and a Portuguese coach, Son will be hard to play against, our defense must not let up. Uruguay ? we all know what they did to us the last time we played them.

I don't like the way our team plays, we pass to much and don't push forward and try to score. to some this may sound reckless, but statists are what they are. The more you shoot at a goalie the better your odds in scoring, it's not rocket science.

A few things worry me, one is Carvalho at mid field and Ronaldo not playing and just hanging around the goal waiting for that one pass. He needs to be more involved in the mid field, if he can't because of his age, then give the opportunity to the younger player.

In the end, I want Portugal to win, not Ronaldo if you get what I mean.

Forca Portugal.

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Rui A Brandao
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Ghana is the lowest ranked squad at the World Cup. Still, Portugal makes ANY opponent a tough one. A 0-0 tie would not be surprising, setting up the usual Portugal "back against the wall" struggle to escape "by the skin of their teeth" their...

Ghana is the lowest ranked squad at the World Cup. Still, Portugal makes ANY opponent a tough one. A 0-0 tie would not be surprising, setting up the usual Portugal "back against the wall" struggle to escape "by the skin of their teeth" their group. However, the decider will likely be the South Korea match. We'll see if it's a redux of their ill-tempered loss to them back at the 2002 WC.

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F.C.JCHarvard
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