PREVIEW (via Reuters)
Portugal are eager to let their football speak for themselves when they take on Ghana in their World Cup opener on Thursday, amid controversy over Cristiano Ronaldo’s comments about Manchester United and tensions between the squad and the media.
2016 European champions Portugal defeated Nigeria 4-0 in their final pre-season game before flying to Qatar and encouraging fans after a poor form.
But Ghana, who reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup in 2010, also arrived in the Arabian Peninsula with wind in their sails after a 2-0 win in a friendly.
The match at the 974 Stadium in Doha will give the teams an early chance to make their mark in Group H, which also includes Uruguay and South Korea.
Portugal coach Fernando Santos has come under pressure from local media and fans after recent disappointments – including a knockout round last year.
There is also talk of tension in the squad and concern from fans that the side is too focused on serving captain Ronaldo, who is past his prime at 37.
“The environment in the dressing room is excellent. No problems,” five-time Ballon D’Or winner Ronaldo said on Monday. “The group is shielded. And I’m taking this opportunity to say: stop asking about me.” But the chances of Ronaldo stepping out of the limelight are slim after a explosive TV interview in which he said he was cheated by Manchester United, leading to speculation that he will soon leave the club.
He led Portugal to Euro 2016 triumph but the world title has eluded him and Qatar is his last chance.
Some fans say it’s already time for Ronaldo to step aside and focus on talents like Manchester United team-mates Bruno Fernandes and Diogo Dalot, as well as Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva, Ruben Dias and Joao Cancelo.
They are likely to feature Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey, Leicester City defender Daniel Amartey and Athletic Bilbao striker Inaki Williams for Ghana.
Manager Otto Addo, Ghana’s third manager in 12 months, has sought to rebuild the team after a disastrous performance at the Cup of Nations in early 2022, bringing in more European-born players such as Brighton & Hove Albion full-back Tariq Lamptey.
However, his plans suffered a setback when his two leading goalkeepers suffered injuries meaning Lawrence Ati-Zigi, who plays at St Gallen in Switzerland, is the third choice to keep Ronaldo and his colleagues away on Thursday.
The teams met at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, when Portugal won 2-1 thanks to a late winner from Ronaldo.
Costa (TW), Dias, Cancelo, Pepe, Mendes, Neves, Fernandes, Carvalho, Ronaldo, Andre Silva, Leao
Ati Zigi (GK), Lamptey, Amartey, Salisu, Baba, Partey, Abdul Samed A. Ayew, Kudus, J. Ayew, Williams
WHEN AND WHERE TO SEE
Portugal vs Ghana – Kick off, broadcast and live streaming info
Where will the World Cup match between Portugal and Ghana be kicked off?
The game between Portugal and Ghana will be kicked off at Stadium 974.
When will the World Cup match between Portugal and Ghana kick off?
The game between Portugal and Ghana will kick off on November 24, 2022 at 21:30 IST.
Where to watch Portugal vs Ghana game in India
The World Cup match between Portugal and Ghana will be broadcast live on Sports18 and Sports18 HD. On Android and iOS, the FIFA World Cup 2022 will be streamed live on JioCinema.
Where to watch Portugal vs Ghana game outside of India?
The list below shows where you can watch the Portugal vs Ghana game outside of India
United States – TV: FOX, Telemundo; Live Stream: fuboTV, Fox Sports App, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo
Canada – Television: CTV, TSN; Live stream: fuboTV, TSN app
United Kingdom – Television: BBC One; Live stream: BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport website
Australia – TV: SBS; Live Stream: SBS On Demand
New Zealand – TV: Sky Sports; Live streaming: Sky Sport
Malaysia – TV: RTM, Astro; Live Stream: Astro Go
Singapore – TV: Mediacorp Channel 5; Live Stream: StarHub TV+, IPTV, Singlet TV
Hong Kong – TV: BeIN Sports, ITV; Live Stream: Now TV, ViuTV
Nigeria – SuperSport and Showmax Pro.