Portugal vs Ghana Prediction
24th November 2022
19:00 Qatar Time/16:00 GMT
Stadium 974, Doha
Current Form (Last Five Matches):
Portugal vs Ghana Prediction Match Overview
9th-ranked Portugal kick-off their World Cup campaign against 61st-ranked Ghana in Group H. The Portuguese are coming into the tournament off the back of a reasonably successful UEFA Nations League campaign in which they narrowly lost out to Spain at the group’s summit. The Portuguese were forced to navigate the UEFA section playoffs to book their place in Qatar as they finished as group runners-up to Serbia. Portugal’s recent form can be characterised as inconsistent, as evidenced by a run of matches starting with a 4-0 win over Switzerland and a 2-0 win over the Czech Republic, before falling to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Switzerland. A 4-0 away win over the Czechs preceded a 1-0 defeat to rivals Spain in the UEFA Nations League group decider, before Portugal warmed up with a 4-0 win over Nigeria less than one week ago.
The Ghanaians will be buoyed by their recent form which includes an excellent 2-0 warm-up victory over Switzerland in a team containing some new faces. As part of a recruitment drive to take advantage of the Ghanaian diaspora, Atletic Bilbao’s Inaki Williams and Brighton’s Tariq Lamptey lined up and it’s hoped that this will improve Ghana’s chances of emerging from Group H. Other recent results include a 1-0 win over Nicaragua, a 3-0 defeat to Brazil, a 2-1 victory over Qatar and a 1-0 win against Benin.
Injuries and Suspensions
Might not play: Mendes (Portugal)
Portugal vs Ghana Prediction Analysis
Ghana’s presence at Qatar 2022 can be considered something of a shock as they managed to upset a strong Nigeria side on away goals. Recognising that they needed to improve the quality of the player pool available to Addo, they now appear to be a stronger proposition than when they qualified for the tournament, at least on paper. Pacey frontman Inaki Williams is joined by the equally-fast Tariq Lamptey who will look to bomb forward at every opportunity to counter effectively against a Portuguese side that will be expected to enjoy the lion’s share of possession. A task no doubt aided by the abundance of quality that Portugal possess throughout the midfield areas. Bernardo Silva and Joao Felix are by no means traditional wide-men and will not be hugging the touchline for Portugal, and we can expect them to be heavily involved in midfield along with Bruno Fernandes and Ruben Neves, with William Carvalho primarily expected to shore up things in midfield and recycle possession. Arsenal’s Thomas Partey will be aiming to throw a spanner in the works in an attempt to gain Ghana a foothold in midfield. This will be crucial to Ghana’s chances in the game as they will need a reliable outlet in midfield from which to launch quick transitions. The Portuguese aren’t known as a particularly gung-ho team so long balls over the top probably won’t cut it.
In attack, we can expect to see the Portuguese involve a wide variety of creative options in different areas of the park. Joao Cancelo can operate virtually anywhere with the ball in possession and is somebody whom the Ghanaians will pay close attention to, in tandem with his Manchester City teammate and World Class playmaker Bernardo Silva. Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes will also be heavily involved and possesses the ability and the willingness to directly unlock defences with probing through balls and crosses. Neves will keep things ticking over in midfield to ensure that Ghana can’t find a rhythm. There’s much conjecture over who will start up front, but we feel that coach Fernando Santos will remain loyal to former Manchester United striker Cristiano Ronaldo in a public display of faith. Can Ronaldo grasp his opportunity to prove the doubters wrong? Form and father time aren’t on his side, but his quality is undeniable even if his legs don’t appear willing at times.
Ghana possess some excellent attacking threats of their own, particularly Inaki Williams and newly converted striker Mohammed Kudus. Kudus may well play somewhat deeper in this Ghana set-up, however, he’s an excellent technical player and has proven recently to have a knack in front of goal. Ghana will look to get forward quickly, with attacking support coming in the form of brothers Andre and Jordan Ayew.
Portugal Key Players
While Ghana are expected to sit back and keep things tight when out of possession, so it proves that Portugal will need their creative players at their very best to create opportunities in tight spaces. This is a scenario which Bernardo Silva faces most weeks in the Premier League and it’s to Manchester City’s great benefit that he is uniquely suited to playing in tight spaces. A highly technical, intelligent player who can’t be shackled easily, Ghana will have their hands full with him which in turn could make it more difficult to shut down Portugal’s other attacking threats.
Given Portugal’s likely gameplan and Ghana’s significant threat on the counterattack, if they can get in behind the Portuguese defence, it makes sense that they will look for Cancelo to provide an additional outlet to retain the ball and keep Ghana at arm’s length. Cancelo will also look to get on the ball and create opportunities both infield and as a more traditional fullback. It will prove important to keep the Ghanaians guessing, and Cancelo provides them with another option.
Ghana Key Players
New recruit Inaki Williams provides Ghana with a threat that perhaps they didn’t have before – a striker who can burst in behind defences and hurt the opposition. Known for his explosive pace, the Portuguese will be wary of allowing the Atletic Bilbao man a free run at goal and this may cause them to approach the game somewhat more cautiously at times, which could play into Ghana’s hands as they look to wrest control from the Portuguese in midfield.
Ghana face an uphill battle to establish themselves in this fixture, but Arsenal man Thomas Partey is an excellent all-round midfielder. Partey will play a more offensively minded game than he does with his club side and he’s able to do so because for a player with a defensive reputation he possesses an ability to play accurate forward passes at the right time. This could prove crucial for Ghana as we expect the majority of their chances will come via the counter-attack.
Portugal vs Ghana Prediction
We expect that Ghana will make a real go of this, but ultimately do not possess the quality that the Portuguese have at their disposal, particularly in defence. While they may well find the net, Portugal can create overloads with regularity and they have several creative influences who can hurt the Ghanaians.