By the time Group H kicks off at the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar we should already have an idea of how the other groups are shaking out. Group H is interesting because it is arguably a group of death, the World Cup Group that's most difficult, but many would argue that title lies elsewhere. Regardless, the group stage is going to be tough for all four in this group, and it's really up in the air as to who is likely to make it through.
Portugal (9th in FIFA World Rankings)
It's, of course, quite the debate as to whether Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi is the greatest living player. But, of course, Qatar 2022 has pitted them both in difficult groups. Argentina, battling it out in Group C, is the EA Sports FIFA simulation pick to win it all. But Ronaldo will be looking to bolster his resume by adding that ever elusive World Cup Trophy to his case.
Portugal may be one of the most overrated teams in the FIFA rankings. Don't get me wrong, they have world class talent - clearly. But Bruno Fernandes and CR7 have struggled to play together, both for club and country, as of late. They won Euro 2016 over France, which is clearly a feat given the French squad is the reigning World Cup champion, but they basically backed their way into the trophy in that tournament. They could win the group if they can get it all together. They could also finish fourth. It depends on a few other factors, but none that have to do with them.
When we see the result of Portugal vs Ghana in their first group match we should have a decent understanding of where they stand. Because if they can't come out of that with three points it's going to be an uphill climb.
Uruguay (14th in FIFA World Rankings)
The Uruguayan team is young and exciting. They're bringing back stallwarts like Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani, and long-time captain Diego Godin. They are three of six players over the age of 25 who have been named to this very experienced squad. But beyond that, this team is different than those of the elder trio's past teams.
Darwin Núñez and Rodrigo Bentancur are putting the Premier League (and Champions League competition) on notice in their first full seasons with Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur respectively. They'll be able to bring the energy and link up play with hopes of the elders keeping them grounded. This team has the grit, experience, determination, and youth to find their way through to the next round. And I'd fully expect them to find a way to do so.
Korea Republic (28th in FIFA World Rankings)
Things got a bit scary for South Korea just a couple weeks before kickoff as Son Heung-min, their captain and goals leader, fractured his face going up for a challenge for Spurs in their final Champions League group match against Marseille. He had surgery on four separate orbital fractures, and still was named into the squad for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Finals.
Beyond Sonny, South Korea has a decent team, but they have not been playing at their best as of late. They have the ability to make their way to the knockout stages in what is their 10th straight World Cup appearance. However they're going to need Serie A defender Kim Min-jae to hold strong while Hwang Hee-chan and Hwang Ui-jo try to create opportunities with Son up top.
It won't be an easy road, but if they can find their Asia Cup form of years' past, they may find a way past Ghana and Portugal and into the knockout stages.
Ghana (61st in FIFA World Rankings)
For Americans, Ghana had been the bane of our existence in the 2010 World Cup tournament. In 2010, the Ghanaians ousted the United States in the round of 16, and then were drawn in their group in 2014, at which time the USA got their revenge. Historically, Ghana has done pretty well in international tournaments, but are coming into this one as the lowest ranked nation to make the World Cup.
On paper they should have a repeat of this year's African Cup of Nations and finish last in the group. But, despite their difficult year, they cannot be slept on. Brighton's Tariq Lamptey and Southampton's Mohammed Salisu made their international debuts in September. Arsenal's Thomas Partey and Crystal Palace forward Jordan Ayew have a bit more experience and should be able to help stabilize a team that has been pretty lackluster in 2022.
But the pace of their youth could find ways to make the other teams in this group uncomfortable, and pull off a performance that we'd expect coming from a nation who have found their ways to the quarterfinals before.
The Expected Results
It's hard to really decide who is going to do what. But I think Uruguay takes the group, South Korea will be runners-up, Portugal and Ghana finish with the same points, but the Portuguese will just edge them out on goal difference.
And because those are my predictions, it'll be the polar opposite and chaos will ensue. The group matchups will take place at Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Stadium 974 in Doha, Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, and Al Janoub Stadium in Al-Wakrah.
Other World Cup Groups
- Group A: Qatar, Netherlands, Ecuador, Senegal
- Group B: England, USA, Wales, Iran
- Group C: Argentina, Mexico, Poland, Saudi Arabia
- Group D: France, Australia, Denmark, Tunisia
- Group E: Spain, Costa Rica, Germany, Japan
- Group F: Belgium, Canada, Morocco, Croatia
- Group G: Brazil, Switzerland, Cameroon, Serbia
World Cup Schedule
- Group Stage: Nov. 20-Dec. 2
- Round of 16: Dec. 3-6
- Quarterfinals: Dec. 9-10 at Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, Lusail Iconic Stadium in Lusail, Al Thumama Stadium in Doha, Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor.
- Semifinals: Dec. 13-14, with matches held at Lusail Iconic Stadium in Lusail and Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor.
- Third-place Playoff: Dec. 17 at Khalifa International Stadium in Al Rayyan.
- World Cup Final: Dec. 18 at Lusail Iconic Stadium in Lusail.
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