Brazil, Portugal, South Korea and Uruguay kick off their campaigns on a star-studded fifth day of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Neymar begins his quest to win the World Cup and get certified Brazil Legend when they start their Group G campaign at 7pm against Serbia.
It’s been another quiet week for Cristiano Ronaldo, who left Manchester United on Tuesday, and his Portugal side Start with the face Ghana in group H
Heung-Min Son, after having surgery earlier this month to stabilize a fracture around his left eye, is ready to take the lead South Korea in their opener against Uruguay at 1 o’clock. The day begins with Switzerland assumption Cameroon at 10 a.m.
World Cup games – November 24th
- Switzerland versus Cameroon – Group G, kick-off 10 a.m
- Uruguay vs South Korea – Group H, kick-off 1 p.m
- Portugal vs Ghana – Group H, kick-off 4 p.m
- Brazil vs Serbia – Group G, kick-off 7 p.m
Fernandes: Portugal don’t let Ronaldo distract them
Bruno Fernandes insists Portugal are “100 per cent” focused on the World Cup despite the distraction of Ronaldo’s Manchester United departure.
Ronaldo said it was “the right time for a new challenge” after his contract with the Premier League was terminated.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of Thursday’s game against Ghana, Fernandes said: “We’re all 100 per cent focused on the national team and the World Cup. We all know what we have to do.
“We are in a championship that is every player’s dream and a competition every player wants to play in.”
Asked if he would be uncomfortable with his former Manchester United team-mate, Fernandes added: “I’m not uncomfortable, I don’t have to choose sides. Cristiano has always been an inspiration for me so it was a dream come true to play with him but we know that nothing lasts forever.
“It was good while it lasted. We have to respect his decision whether we agree or not.”
Portugal coach Fernando Santos insisted the issue of Ronaldo’s move hadn’t been raised in the group, adding: “It’s something that wasn’t discussed when we were all together. The conversation never came, not even from him (Ronaldo).”
Brazil celebrates the ‘Favorites’ tag
Brazil have no problem with being favorites to win the World Cup and dealing with the pressure must come naturally to their players, says head coach Tite.
“The pressure is natural. Brazil has the greatest history in football and with that legacy comes the pressure,” he said.
“We have some of the players who get the most media attention in the world, so let’s take it natural, winning a World Cup is our dream. Pressure is inevitable.”
Brazil have won the World Cup five times and Tite said it was not his responsibility that Brazil had not won the tournament for 20 years.
He said he could only be responsible for the last four years, his only full cycle since Brazil lost to Belgium in the quarter-finals in Russia in 2018.
“In Russia we only had two years to fix the team and I came to the rescue. It’s different now because I had the opportunity to build the team the way I wanted,” said Tite.
“That’s why my feeling today is very different than four years ago. I’m not that nervous because all the work is done.”
“We will not target Son”
Uruguay coach Diego Alonso refuted suggestions his players were targeting Son’s vulnerability in his face.
“It’s difficult to answer your question,” he said in a pre-match press conference. “The question is about Son and we have the utmost respect for Son, but they have other players and are very well trained with an exceptional starting XI.
“The only advantage we will have here is our football. We will try to be better than them and use our players not to take advantage of the other team’s difficulties.”
Alonso also hailed his players as “the best in the world” as they attempted an unlikely third World Cup triumph.
“Uruguay players are the best in the world, they defend us through thick and thin,” he said. “The most important tool we have is the feeling that the Uruguayan players have, how they identify, the sense of belonging that they have.
“When I say the Uruguayan players are the best in the world, it’s because they are my players. The Uruguayan players respect the team, that’s why they’re the best.”
Yakin: This is the best Swiss team ever
Switzerland coach Murat Yakin said on Wednesday the current national team is the “best ever” and determined to reach the later stages of the World Cup in Qatar.
Switzerland have progressed through the group stages in three of their last four tournaments, only missing out on 2010.
Yakin, who took the helm after Switzerland reached the quarter-finals of Euro 2020 last year, predicted the country would put on their best performance at any World Cup in Qatar, where they will also face Brazil and Serbia in Group G.
“I think we’re seeing the best Swiss national team there has ever been,” said Yakin. “We have improved a lot and now we want to make history. We’re not just here to participate. We are here to win and we want to go through to the next round.”
Heung Min son will be fit enough to take care of that South Korea in the World Cup opener against Uruguay.
Head coach Paulo Bento confirmed the Tottenham forward will play with the black protective mask he has been wearing in training since he fractured his left eye in a Champions League game against Marseille on November 1.
While Son will feature for South Korea, he meets Tottenham team-mate Rodrigo Bentancur, his fellow Premier League striker Hee Chan Hwang will be out with a hamstring injury.
Barcelona defender Ronald Araujo could be involved Uruguay after a hamstring injury and Liverpool’s Darwin Nunez He is expected to shake off the minor ankle bump he sustained in training this week.
Serbia coach Dragan Stojkovic remains hopeful of the striker’s fitness Aleksandar Mitrovicwho missed Fulham’s last Premier League games with a foot problem.
“He’s been working with the team for the past four or five days,” said Stojkovic. “The good news is that he doesn’t feel the pain in the area where he injured himself.”
Serbia coach said Juventus full-back Filip Kostic was doubtful with a muscular problem.
Opta Stats: Will Uruguay End Troubles In Opening Game?
- This is the first encounter between Switzerland and Cameroon ever. It is also only the second time that Switzerland have met African opponents at a FIFA World Cup – they beat Togo 2-0 in the group stage of the 2006 World Cup.
- Cameroon have qualified for their eighth FIFA World Cup, the most by an African team. They have also played more matches at the FIFA World Cup than any other African nation (23), while only Nigeria (23) among African teams have scored more goals at the tournament than Cameroon (18).
- Not only has Brazil won five FIFA World Cups, they have won more games (73) and have the best win rate (67 percent – 73 wins in 109 games) of any nation in the history of the tournament.
- Uruguay have won their opening game in just one of their last seven World Cup appearances (U3 L3), most recently against Egypt in 2018. Despite this, they have progressed through the group stage in five of those seven editions.
- Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo is one of just four players, along with Pele, Uwe Seeler and Miroslav Klose, to have scored in four different FIFA World Cups. No player has found the net in five editions.