The last group of World Cup Qatar 2022 it is one of the most unpredictable of all, perhaps the most unpredictable actually. With Uruguaythe longest-serving champion of the World Cup (1930), there will be a fierce fight for qualification to the round of 16 together with powers from other continents such as Portugal (Europe), South Korea (Asian) and Ghana (Africa). The difference between each one is not much and this, of course, makes the fight much more interesting.
For this reason, already at the gates of the World Cup, we make an analysis of Group H, where without a doubt its protagonists will spark in the Qatar desert. It is not for less.
Portugal and Cristiano’s last dance
The World Cup is surely the tournament that has resisted Cristiano Ronaldo the most in his career. Having won everything he could get his hands on, this trophy is the only one missing from his cabinet. And that is why this fifth World Cup will be very special for him. It will be his last dance, his last attempt.
By squad and basically by names, Portugal should be guaranteed first place in Group H and, therefore, their pass to the next round. But in reality you have no guarantees of anything. The team led by Fernando Santos -winner of Euro 2016 and Nations League 2019- is not going through a good sporting present. Even almost left out of the World Cup.
The Portuguese squad comes from getting the World Cup qualification in the European playoffs and, in addition, they were eliminated in the group stage of the last edition of the Nations League. Now the environment inside the locker room is not the most desired either. There has been much speculation lately about a tense relationship between Cristiano and his teammates.
|archers||Diogo Costa (Porto), José Sá (Wolverhampton) and Rui Patrício (AS Roma)|
|defenders||Diogo Dalot (Manchester United), João Cancelo (Manchester City), Danilo Pereira (PSG), Pepe (Porto), Rúben Dias (Manchester City), António Silva (Benfica), Nuno Mendes (PSG) and Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund)|
|Frills||João Palhinha (Fulham), Rúben Neves (Wolverhampton), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United), João Mário (Benfica), Matheus Nunes (Wolverhampton), Otávio Monteiro (Porto), Vitinha (PSG) and William Carvalho (Betis)|
|strikers||André Silva (Leipzig), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United), Gonçalo Ramos (Benfica), João Félix (Atlético Madrid), Rafael Leão (Milan) and Ricardo Horta (SC Braga)|
However, beyond this not so good news, the ‘quinas team’ is the favorite to move from the group, either in first or second place. “Honestly, Portugal is unknown because of how the dressing room is now. But without a doubt, he is a candidate to qualify ”says Marcelo Burgos, a Paraguayan journalist.
Of course, Fernando Santos will have to urgently solve the team’s collective performance problems. What the coach is most criticized for is the fact of not being able to ‘cohabit’ and consolidate his stars well in his scheme, because in addition to CR7, there are Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes, Joao Félix…
“Portugal has a great team. In names he is one of the best in the World Cup. It will be necessary to see if in performance too, because in that aspect it has not been so good. Probably his coach is a little more conservative than what the names he has among the summoned indicate “indicates the Argentine journalist Juan José Buscalia.
Be that as it may, the Portuguese team will have to play a more than good role if their aspiration is as high as that of Cristiano Ronaldo, their star. This team has never been able to win the World Cup. At most he has achieved a third place in England 1966 and a fourth place in Germany 2006 (with CR7 present). But it is clear that with the crack of Manchester United everything is possible.
Uruguay is the favourite?
The doubts that Portugal leaves today increase the certainties of Uruguay in Group H. The Uruguayan team, resurfaced with Diego Alonso in command, seeks to be the protagonist and has the necessary weapons to achieve its ambitious goals.
In fact, the ‘Celeste’ has the sensation of the football moment in its squad: Fede Valverde. The Real Madrid midfielder is going through a great present and hopes to complement himself perfectly with the team’s veteran stars (Luis Suárez, Diego Godín, Edinson Cavani, Martín Cáceres and Fernando Muslera), as well as the other rising stars (Darwin Núñez, Ronald Araujo, Sergio Rochet and Facundo Pellistri).
“Uruguay has everything to take the group ahead with experience and youth, they also have a Valverde who is on fire”highlights Marcelo Burgos.
|archers||Fernando Muslera (Galatasaray), Sergio Rochet (National) and Sebastián Sosa (Independent).|
|defenders||José María Giménez (Atlético de Madrid), Sebastián Coates (Sporting Lisbon), Diego Godín (Vélez), Martín Cáceres (Los Angeles Galaxy), Ronald Araujo (Barcelona), Guillermo Varela (Flamengo), José Luis Rodríguez (Nacional), Mathías Olivera (Napoli) and Matías Viña (Rome).|
|Frills||Lucas Torreira (Galatasaray), Manuel Ugarte (Sporting Lisbon), Matías Vecino (Lazio), Rodrigo Bentancur (Tottenham), Federico Valverde (Real Madrid), Facundo Pellistri (Manchester United), Agustín Canobbio (Athletico Paranaense), Facundo Torres ( Orlando City). Nicolás de la Cruz (River) and Giorgian De Arrascaeta (Flamengo)|
|strikers||Maximiliano Gómez (Trabzonspor), Luis Suárez (National), Edinson Cavani (Valencia) and Darwin Núñez (Liverpool)|
For many, the Uruguayan team is the favorite to become the leader of this group. And this is not about any coincidence. Uruguay has already known how to eliminate its three rivals in the World Cup lately: it clipped the wings of South Korea in the round of 16 in South Africa 2010 (2-1), it did the same in the quarterfinals of the same World Cup against Ghana in a definition heart-stopping penalty shootout (4-2), and left Portugal on the road in the round of 16 in Russia 2018 (2-1).
History, therefore, plays in favor of the sky-blue team and takes refuge in it to shine more than everyone in Group H. “Uruguay is always a very strong team and I think it will be in the qualifying positions”points out Juanjo Buscalia.
South Korea and Ghana go for the feat
Although Portugal and Uruguay have the preference and the forecasts in their favor, there is no way for them to trust each other. In front they will have two great teams that already know what it is to reach the final phases of the tournament: South Korea and Ghana.
In fact, in 2002 the South Koreans reached the semifinals as World Cup co-hosts, becoming the first Asian team to reach that stage. They also reached the round of 16 in South Africa 2010. The Ghanaians, for their part, managed to get past the group stage in two of the three World Cups they participated in (round of 16 in Germany 2006 and quarter-finals in South Africa 2010).
“Ghana is an absolutely unpredictable team, like a good African, and South Korea too. They are very physical. Although there is a favoritism of Portugal and Uruguay, it seems to me that things are not so clear. This is one of the more even groups. If any of the two favorites slips, there are two others selected in a position to complicate the classification “warns Buscalia.
“I think Portugal and Uruguay will advance, as they have better footballers. But Ghana has strengthened itself well and Korea always makes it difficult. This group will be hard fought. But I’m leaning towards Portugal and Uruguay. The surprise could be Ghana with Iñaki Williams”
|POSITION||GHANA CALLED PLAYERS||SOUTH KOREA CALLED PLAYERS|
|archers||Manaf Nurudeen (KAS Eupen), Danlad Ibrahim (Berekum Chelsea) and Lawrence Ati Zigi (St. Gallen)||Kim Seung-gyu (Al-Shabab), Song Bum-keun (Jeonbuk Motors) and Jo Hyeon-woo (Ulsan)|
|defenders||Denis Odoi (Bruges), Tariq Lamptey (Brighton), Alidu Seidu (Clermont), Daniel Amartey (Leicester City), Joseph Aidoo (Celta de Vigo), Alexander Djiku (RC Strasbourg), Mohammed Salisu (Southampton), Abdul-Rahman Baba (Reading) and Gideon Mensahi (Auxerre)||Kwon Kyung-won (Gamba Osaka), Kim Moon-hwan (Jeonbuk Motors), Kim Min-jae (Naples) Kim Young-gwon (Ulsan), Kim Jin-su (Jeonbuk Motors), Kim Tae-hwan (Ulsan), Yoon Jong-gyu (Seoul FC), Cho Yu-min (Daejeon Hana Citizen) and Hong Chul (Daegu FC)|
|Frills||Andre Ayew (Al-Sadd), Thomas Partey (Arsenal), Elisha Owusu (Gent), Salis Abdul Samed (Lens), Mohammed Kudus (Ajax) and Daniel Kofi Kyereh (Freiburg)||Kwon Chang-hoon (Gimcheon Sangmu), Na Sang-ho (FC Seoul), Paik Seung-ho (Jeonbuk Motors), Lee Kang-in (Real Mallorca), Lee Jae-sung (Mainz), Jeong Woo-yeong (Freiburg) ), Hwang In-beom (Olympiakos), Hwang Hee-chan (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Song Min-kyu (Jeonbuk Motors), Son Jun-ho (Shandong Taishan) and Na Sang-ho (FC Seoul).|
|strikers||Daniel Barnieh Afriyie (Hearts of Oak), Kamal Sowah (Bruges), Issahaku Abdul Fatawu (Sporting Lisbon), Osman Bukari (Red Star), Iñaki Williams (Athletic Bilbao), Antoine Semenyo (Bristol), Jordan Ayew (Crystal Palace) and Kamaldeen Sulemana (Stade Rennes).||They are Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur), Cho Gue-sung (Jeonbuk Motors) and Hwang Ui-jo (Olympiakos).|
In that context, it will come as no surprise if this time South Korea and Ghana hit it again. For these two teams, there is nothing to lose and much to gain. So the team led by Son Heung-Min, who arrives just for the appointment after undergoing surgery for a facial fracture, and the team whose star is Iñaki Williams will not hesitate to go for the feat.
“South Korea is going to depend entirely on how Son arrives and that is very dangerous. I don’t see Ghana as very strong or with brilliant figures that can strike a blow. But there are real chances.”Burgos points out.
Without a doubt, this group will be very close. Any forecast may or may not fail. This is how these four teams announce it. It has become clear.
I have worked in the news industry for over 10 years. I have a keen interest in sports and have written for many different publications. I am currently working as an author at 24 News Recorder. I cover mostly sports news but also write about other topics such as current affairs and politics. I have a strong interest in social media and how it can be used to engage with audiences.