Friday’s 2022 World Cup action gets underway at Al Janoub Stadium at 3.00 pm as Ghana and Uruguay battle it out for a place in the knockout stage,
Otto Addo’s side bounced back from an enthralling 3-2 defeat to Portugal in their curtain-raising Group H fixture by taking down South Korea by that same scoreline last time out.
Having become only the fourth-ever side to register back-to-back 3-2 results at the World Cup, the Black Stars may want to take their foot off the gas and contemplate a more conservative approach.
While a point against Uruguay will guarantee progression into the round of 16 for the first time since 2010, Portugal’s potential loss in the group’s other contest could even open up a chance for the first-ever top-table finish.
Unlike their African rivals on the other side, Diego Alonso’s men cannot make calculations anymore after drawing a blank in both 2022 World Cup games thus far.
It looks like a goalless draw with South Korea on day one was no fluke, as the Uruguayans put another nightmarish attacking performance in a 2-0 defeat to the Selecao on Monday.
Though this is only Ghana’s fourth-ever appearance at the World Cup finals, they boast realistic chances of making it out of the group stage for the third time.
Winning back-to-back World Cup matches for the first time since 2006 would seal the deal, regardless of the Koreans’ fortunes against Portugal, yet even a point should prove enough.
Scoring has been Ghana’s thing at major tournaments, with the Black Stars pursuing a piece of history in Al Wakrah as they could become only the second African nation to score in eight successive World Cup fixtures.
Unless they want to end their World Cup journey already in the group stage for the first time since 2002, Uruguay will have to not only maintain their 100% unbeaten World Cup record against African nations (W2, D2).
They’ll have to beat Ghana and defy their underwhelming four-game form preceding this clash (W1, D1, L2), having failed to get on the scoresheet three times in that span.
Head coach Alonso has no excuses for Uruguay’s poor scoring form, with La Celeste boasting the likes of Darwin Nunez, Edinson Cavani and Luis Saurez in the frontline.
Another scoring blank would see them become the first team from the CONMEBOL region to go an entire World Cup group-stage journey without finding the net since Peru in 1978.
Ghana vs Uruguay Head-to-Head
The only previous World Cup encounter between these sides was that controversial quarter-final tie in 2010. Suarez picked up a straight red for a deliberate handball, which eventually helped Uruguay advance into the last four.
Indeed, at 1-1, the veteran striker extended his arm to deny a sure goal, but Asamoah Gyan failed to convert the resulting penalty, with La Celeste progressing via a penalty shootout.
Ghana vs Uruguay Potential Line-ups
Ghana (4-2-3-1): Lawrence Ati-Zigi; Tariq Lamptey, Daniel Amartey, Mohammed Salisu, Gideon Mensah; Thomas Partey, Salis Abdul Samed; Mohammed Kudus, Andre Ayew, Jordan Ayew; Inaki Williams.
Uruguay (3-5-2): Sergio Rochet; Jose Maria Giminez, Sebastian Coates, Diego Godin; Guillermo Varela, Giorgian De Arrascaeta, Federico Valverde, Rodrigo Bentanur, Darwin Nunez; Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani.
Ghana vs Uruguay Prediction
Blinded by an overwhelming desire to settle the score, Ghana would be well advised to hold their horses and try to hit the Uruguayans on the counter, using the blistering pace of their wingers.
Uruguay will have to play out of their comfort zone, as they must take the fight to the Black Stars if they are to leapfrog the Africans into second place right at the death.
But we expect the Ghanaians to walk away happier of the two teams.
Ghana 1-1 Uruguay
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