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World Cup

  • June 26, 2014
  • • 17:00
  • • Estádio Nacional de Brasília, Brasília, Distrito Federal
  • Referee: Nawaf Shukralla
  • • Attendance: 67540
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Portugal - Ghana Preview: Win or go home for Group G strugglers

Portugal - Ghana Preview: Win or go home for Group G strugglers

Cristiano Ronaldo - Portugal

Both teams need a victory and a USA defeat to have any chance of advancing to the last 16 - a scenario which should ensure excitement at the Estadio Nacional Mane Garrincha

By Stefan Coerts in Brasilia

Portugal coach Paulo Bento has plenty of selection worries ahead of Thursday's decisive match against Ghana, as he will probably have to make do without the services of a number of regulars.

Fabio Coentrao was forced to pull out of the squad after the loss against Germany, while Rui Patricio, Hugo Almeida, Andre Almeida and Helder Postiga have also been plagued by injury problems since the start of the tournament.

Beto is therefore expected to start between the sticks again while Miguel Veloso could fill in at left-back, thus making room for William Carvalho to start in midfield - although Ricardo Costa also remains an option in defence.

With both Postiga and Hugo Almeida unlikely to be match-fit in time, Eder is expected to feature from the start this time around after coming off the bench in Portugal’s previous two group stage matches.

Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah, meanwhile, has no noteworthy injury problems as the Africans aim to book their ticket for the round of 16 after a disappointing start to the tournament.

Kevin-Prince Boateng and John Boye picked up minor knocks in the draw versus Germany, yet both have been given the green light for the match against Portugal.

Appiah will have to make at least one change to his starting line-up however, as AC Milan’s Sulley Muntari is unavailable due to suspension, following his two yellow cards earlier in the competition.

His position will be taken by either Michael Essien or Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu, with the former sitting in pole position to feature from the start.

Furthermore, Appiah will have to choose between either Boateng or Abdul Majeed Waris – who has recovered from injury – to partner Asamoah Gyan in attack.

Players to watch

Cristiano Ronaldo

Position: Attacker

Games: 3

  • 1
  • 0
  • 0

The Real Madrid star has been unable to make much of an impact so far this tournament as Portugal were beaten 4-0 by Germany and had to settle for a 2-2 draw against USA. Ronaldo did show his class with a superb assist in the latter game to keep his side’s chances of reaching the round of 16 alive, however, even though he still seems to be struggling for match fitness. Portugal need something more from their star man on Thursday, though, and Ronaldo will be desperate not to disappoint his country.

A. Gyan

Position: Attacker

Games: 3

  • 2
  • 0
  • 0

The former Sunderland man became the first African player to score at three different World Cups with his goal in the 2-2 draw against Germany and will be determined to add to his tally against Portugal. The 28-year-old might no longer be plying his trade in one of Europe’s top leagues, but he remains an incredibly dangerous attacker who has proven he has ability to find the net at the highest level.

Editor's Prediction

It has been a disappointing World Cup for Portugal so far and they need the full three points against Ghana if they are to have a chance of reaching the knockout stages, while the African side find themselves in a similar position after defeat versus USA and a draw against Germany. Bearing in mind that neither of the two sides have impressed defensively in their first two matches, an open game appears to be on the cards and a draw with several goals appears to be a realistic outcome.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Portugal

Ghana

Wins
1
0
0
Wins

Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Portugal PRT
Portugal Portugal
Draw
Ghana GHA
Ghana Ghana
46%
46%

Top 3 Predictions

Portugal PRT
1 - 2
Ghana GHA
Portugal PRT
2 - 1
Ghana GHA
Portugal PRT
4 - 0
Ghana GHA

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