In the third installment of the PortuGOAL mini-series on Portugal’s Group H opponents at the FIFA World Cup 2022, we get the lowdown on Ghana with the help of brilliant African football journalist Gary Al-Smith.
The Seleção open their World Cup season in Qatar on Thursday 24 November against Ghana. What awaits Portugal?
Keeping an eye on – Who are Ghana’s star players?
Iñaki Williams, a hard worker who could be a game changer with the right service. His recording this summer brought an upfront dose of quality that the Black Stars desperately need.
Kudus Mohammed had a successful season with Ajax, especially in the Champions League. One of the creative engines of the Ghana team, he has found new life as a false 9 in Amsterdam this season, scoring and assisting for fun.
Strengths/weaknesses – what does Portugal need to consider and what can it exploit?
Strengths: It might sound cliche, but this group seems united, and given their inexperience, that can make a difference. Only two of the 26 players traveling to Qatar have World Cup experience – André and Jordan Ayew.
Another strength is the individual quality. Which brings us to… Weaknesses – This Ghanaian team has hardly played together for long. A string of very talented newcomers, 20-year-olds and players who have changed nationalities means it can take time to build cohesion. If Portugal agrees, it could cause problems for Ghana.
Formation and style of play – what system does Ghana usually play? In general, would you describe them as an offensive or defensive team?
Once again, this Ghanaian team is so new that we find ourselves in a rare position where we can’t be 100% sure of a starting XI. There can be so many factors at play as to why the trainer, who has also been on the job for less than nine months, chooses one system over the other.
So far he has played 4-3-3, 4-5-1 and 4-4-2. He didn’t rely on any particular system.
Atmosphere in the camp – do you think Ghana are confident going into the World Cup?
They had a disaster at an Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year – the worst in Ghana’s history – and then somehow beat Nigeria to secure a place in Qatar. And then went on to a series of unimpressive performances in friendlies.
The fans’ expectations are very low, but Ghanaian football history suggests that this is when the team can surprise. Fingers crossed!
How did the Ghanaian media and fans react to the World Cup draw?
that it’s hard The fans are banking on a slum dunk attitude to pull Ghana out of the group because to be honest their recent form doesn’t offer much hope!
prediction time! Give us your 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th place predictions for Group H.
Call me crazy but… Ghana Portugal Uruguay South Korea
Our thanks go to Gary Al-Smith. Follow Gary on Twitter for Ghanaian and African football @garayalsmith.
See also: World Cup opposition watch: the Uruguay facts
See also: World Cup opposition watch: the facts about South Korea