Portugal v Ghana: World Cup 2022 – live | World Cup 2022

Portugal: Diogo Costa, Joao Cancelo, Danilo Pereira, Ruben Dias, Raphael Guerreiro, Ruben Neves, Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes, Otavio, Joao Felix, Cristiano Ronaldo.

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Ghana: Lawrence Ati-Zigi, Abdul-Rahman Baba, Daniel Amartey, Alexander Djiku, Mohammed Salisu, Alidu Seidu, Thomas Partey, Salis Abdul Samed, Mohammed Kudus, Andre Ayew, Inaki Williams.

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v Ghana starting line-ups”,”contributors”:[],”primaryDateLine”:”Thu 24 Nov 2022 10.35 EST”,”secondaryDateLine”:”First published on Thu 24 Nov 2022 09.30 EST”},{“id”:”637dfc808f08edd1a151fef0″,”elements”:[{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

Built from shipping containers and other bits and bobs, the temporary arena that is Stadium 974 plays host to today’s Group H encounter between Portugal and Ghana. Much as he would like it, Cristiano Ronaldo has been dominating the headlines in the build-up to this game and will be under pressure to deliver in the wake of that interview with that man, an act of insubordation that resulted in him severing ties with Manchester United earlier this week. A massively self-regarding cog in a team brimful of talents that often seem cowed in his presence, it remains to be seen whether Ronaldo will be more help than hindrance as team embark on this World Cup campaign.

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In Qatar on the back of a play-off win against Nigeria, Otto Addo’s Ghana come into this tournament on the back of friendly wins over Nicuragua and Switzerland, which came in the wake of a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Brazil. There is a suggestion that Addo doesn’t know his best side, but received a boost in September when Brighton right-back Tariq Lamptey, who qualifies for the Black Stars through his father, decided to declare for Ghana.

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Lamptey joins his fellow Premier League players Mohammad Salisu (Southampton), Daniel Amartey (Leicester City) and Thomas Partey (Arsenal) and Jordan Ayew (Crystal Palace) in the Ghana squad. Like Lamptey, Athletic Bilbao’s Inaki Williams also declared for Ghana in recent months at the behest of his grandad and various Ghanaian officials. The striker’s parents crossed the Sahara in search of a new life in Spain when “Kweku” was still in his mother’s womb. Interestingly, Inaki’s younger brother Nico came on as a sub for Spain in their demolition of Costa Rica yesterday.

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Anyway, enough introductory chat – kick-off in Doha is at 4pm (GMT) but stay tuned in the meantime for team news and build-up.

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key events

Ghana: Difficult to know what to expect from Ghana, which is outside the top 60 in the Fifa rankings and had an unspeakably bad Africa Cup of Nations in January, finishing bottom of its group by just one point, suffering the humiliation of defeat at the hands of Comoros along the street.

That disastrous performance earned Ghana manager Milovan Rajevac his P45 and he was replaced by former Borussia Dortmund midfielder Otto Addo. Still hired by the Bundesliga squad as a scout, he promptly guided Ghana through a World Cup play-off against Nigeria. Former Brighton manager Chris Hughton, former Netherlands international George Boateng and former Nordsjælland manager Mas Dramani are also part of Ghana’s new management structure.

The starting lineups of Portugal-Gana

Portugal: Diogo Costa, Joao Cancelo, Danilo Pereira, Ruben Dias, Raphael Guerreiro, Ruben Neves, Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes, Otavio, Joao Felix, Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ghana: Lawrence Ati-Zigi, Abdul-Rahman Baba, Daniel Amartey, Alexander Djiku, Mohammed Salisu, Alidu Seidu, Thomas Partey, Salis Abdul Samed, Mohammed Kudus, Andre Ayew, Inaki Williams.

Unemployed 37 year old leaves for Portugal. Photograph: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images

Portugal: Coach Fernando Santos says the team is as integrated as it has been over the years despite the enduring soap opera. Nick Ames’ report from Doha.

Interview: “That’s when I went to talk to my grandfather. I told him there was a chance I could play for Ghana at the World Cup and what he thought. He said straight away that he didn’t have much left to live and dreamed of his nephew playing for Ghana. Then there was nothing left to think about.” Sid Lowe discovers what changed an initially reluctant Inaki Williams’ mind and convinced him to declare himself for Ghana, the country where his parents are from and where he was conceived .

The Portugal coach speaks: “Winning a tournament like this is extremely difficult for any team, for any country,” said Fernando Santos. “You just have to look at these first matches to see it clearly. I was watching the Croatia-Morocco match just now, and you see very homogeneous matches.

“That’s because most of the players are in the same leagues. Against Ghana, for example, two or three of their players are opponents of Bruno [Fernandes, who was sitting alongside him] in the same championship. They play for big teams and are used to the tactical issues involved. In the past you could see the difference, but nowadays you don’t, especially since all the coaches are of the highest level.

“We are prepared for opponents who will cause us many problems. Ghana is a very well organized team. Their match against Switzerland proved it. African teams are very talented, unpredictable and always improve tactically. Today they are much more complete teams.”

On Ronaldo’s speech: “Will it take away our concentration?” he asked. “No, he won’t. I’ve never heard of the players here, in training, in their free time, when they play table football, not even Ronaldo himself. Maybe in their rooms they turn on the TV, talk to their family members, do what they want.

“But what is important is the total concentration that I see in my players and a fantastic spirit, very in tune with what they have to do, what our goals are, but at the same time aware of the difficulties we will face because they have a realistic perspective ”.

Portugal boss Fernando Santos (left) and Bruno Fernandes attend yesterday's press conference.
Portugal boss Fernando Santos (left) and Bruno Fernandes attend yesterday’s press conference. Photograph: Xinhua/REX/Shutterstock

The manager from Ghana speaks: “We have quality and we can compete,” said Otto Addo. “We have to be brave and self-confident. We have seen in some of the upsets that the little things decide the games and we expect it to be the same against Portugal.”

Asked if he thought the hoopla surrounding Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure from Manchester United would have an effect on today’s match, Addo replied. ““I don’t know and to be honest I don’t care. This isn’t our problem and I don’t think it’s a big problem. Everyone wants to win and whatever happens it’s a big stage a big match at World Cup level. So I don’t think normally this would bother anyone.

Otto Addo (left) and Andre Ayew spoke to the press yesterday at the Qatar National Convention Center.
Otto Addo (left) and Andre Ayew spoke to the press yesterday at the Qatar National Convention Center. Photograph: Ali Haider/EPA

Today’s match officials

  • Referee: Ismail Elfath

  • Assistant referees: Kyle Atkins and Corey Parker

  • Fourth Officer: Stephanie Frappart

  • Video assistant referee: Armando Villarreal

Ismail Elfath leads today's largely American squad of match officials, in which French referee Stephanie Frappart will act as fourth official.
Ismail Elfath leads today’s largely American squad of match officials, in which French referee Stephanie Frappart will act as fourth official. Photography: Kieran McManus/BPI/REX/Shutterstock

The first news on the team

Diogo Jota’s absence from the Portugal squad due to a calf injury means team manager Cristiano Ronaldo Fernando Santos is likely to start Bernardo Silva and either Joao Felix or Rafael Leao in attack alongside His Ladyship, while there are concerns over the fitness of PSG left-back Nuno Mendes.

Along with a backroom squad including Chris Hughton and George Boateng, Otto Addo is believed to be injury free and will tackle his starting XI from a full deck. He will be forced to choose an inexperienced goalkeeper after Charlton’s Jojo Wollacott and South African Richard Ofori are ruled out of this World Cup through injury. Lawrence Ati-Zigi (2), Manaf Nurudeen (2) and Danlad Ibrahim (0), Ghana’s three goalkeepers in Qatar, have only made four senior international caps.

Lawrence Ati-Zigi is one of three goalkeepers in Ghana's squad who have made just four senior international caps.
Lawrence Ati-Zigi is one of three goalkeepers in Ghana’s squad who have made just four senior international caps. Photograph: Laurent Gillieron/EPA

Group H: Portugal v Ghana

Constructed out of shipping containers and other junk, the temporary arena that is Stadium 974 hosts today’s Group H match between Portugal and Ghana. As much as he’d like it, Cristiano Ronaldo has dominated the headlines in the build-up to this match and will be under pressure to give his all in the wake of That interview with That man, an act of insubordination which led him to sever ties with Manchester United earlier this week. An extremely self-absorbed cog in a squad full of talent who often seem intimidated in his presence, it remains to be seen whether Ronaldo will be more of a help than a hindrance as the squad embarks on this World Cup campaign.

In Qatar after the play-off victory against Nigeria, Otto Addo’s Ghana arrives at this tournament after the friendly wins over Nicuragua and Switzerland, after the 3-0 defeat against Brazil. There is a suggestion that Addo doesn’t know the best side of him, but he got a boost in September when Brighton right-back Tariq Lamptey, who qualifies for the Black Stars through his father, decided to declare for Ghana.

Lamptey joins his fellow Premier League players Mohammad Salisu (Southampton), Daniel Amartey (Leicester City) and Thomas Partey (Arsenal) and Jordan Ayew (Crystal Palace) in the Ghana squad. Like Lamptey, Athletic Bilbao’s Inaki Williams has also declared for Ghana in recent months at the behest of his grandfather and various Ghanaian officials. The striker’s parents crossed the Sahara in search of a new life in Spain when “Kweku” was still in his mother’s womb. Interestingly, Inaki’s younger brother Nico came on as Spain’s substitute in their Costa Rican demolition yesterday.

Anyway, enough introductory chat: Kick-off in Doha is at 16:00 (GMT), but stay tuned in the meantime for team news and preparations.

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