World Cup Preview - Group H: Is Ronaldo key to Portugal's chances?


Rounding off the group stage previews, attention turns to Group G as Cristiano Ronaldo aims to secure a World Cup winners' medal. 




How they qualified 


Ghana qualified for the World Cup after seeing off a group filled with Zimbabwe, Ethiopia and South Africa. The Black Stars missed out on the 2018 World Cup and will be keen to establish themselves in a tricky group in Qatar. 


One to Watch - Inaki Williams 


Inaki Williams had been an ever present for Athletic Club after playing 236 consecutive La Liga matches, and he looks set to be one of Ghana’s star man after making himself available for their trip to Qatar. He didn't make a senior appearance for Spain’s national team, which allowed him to make the change to the Black Stars. 


Young Player to Watch - Kamaldeen Sulemana 


Kamaldeen Sulemana, who joined Rennes at the start of last season from Danish club Nordsjaelland, has been in and out of the side this season. He has predominantly featured as a substitute, but performances for Ghana could see more faith within the Rennes ranks in the future, but replacing Martin Terrier, in the run of form that he’s in, is going to be tough. He’s made 12 appearances for Ghana and is hoping to add to that in Qatar. 




With a tough group containing Portugal and Uruguay, we may see Ghana struggle to make the knockout stages. 




How they qualified 


Portugal were pipped to top of their qualification group by Serbia, but were able to negotiate playoff matches against Turkey and North Macedonia. The Euro 2016 champions will be playing the side that knocked them out in the last World Cup, Uruguay 


One to Watch - Cristiano Ronaldo 


In what is probably his last ever World Cup, Cristiano Ronaldo is undoubtly the one to watch for Portugal. From hitting 18 Premier League goals last season to being forced out of the team and frustrated with his lack of playing time, the last few months have been tumultuous for the Portugal and Manchester United legend. How that affects his form in Qatar, and whether or not the rest of the squad will feel the repercussions, will be interesting for all to see. 


Young Player to Watch - Rafael Leao 


Rafael Leao has been one of the young players to watch for Portugal and AC Milan over the last year or so, and he played a key role in the latter's title win last season. His performances this season have caught the eye of many top clubs, and impressive performances will only keep those teams interested. 




With the amount of quality in Portugal’s ranks, we expect them to make the knockout stages. Whether that is in first or second will depend on how well they perform against Uruguay. 


South Korea 


How they qualified 


South Korea made it through the Asian Qualification losing just once and finishing two points behind Iran, but 11 points ahead of third. They’ve been able to qualify for the last nine World Cups, and Qatar will be their 11th in their history. 


One to Watch - Son Heung-Min 


Tottenham’s Son Heung-Min will be the player to watch for South Korea. He is arguably the most well known Korean player, and he is seen as an icon in his home country. As for his football, this season has been mixed for Son, who won the Golden Boot last season. His form in the final third will still be South Korea’s best chance at qualification, if they are to make it out the group. 


Young Player to Watch - Lee Kang-In 


Lee Kang-In, who has excelled for Mallorca this season, is the young player to watch for South Korea. He’s made six appearances for his nation and will be another player who could help the Taegeuk Warriors with their ambitions to get out of the group.  




Despite the success of Son Heung-Min, South Korea are still expected to bow out in the group stages. They are also expected to finish bottom of the group, but their game against Ghana will most likely decide whether or not that will be the case. 




How they qualified 


Uruguay finished behind Brazil and Argentina in CONMEBOL qualification, but the change of manager from long standing boss Oscar Tabarez to Diego Alonso in 2021 helped inspire the team to qualify for the 2022 World Cup. 


World Cup Preview - Group H: Is Ronaldo key to Portugal's chances?


One to Watch - Federico Valverde 


Federico Valverde is one of Uruguay’s players to watch. The Real Madrid man has been a key player for Los Blancos this season, scoring eight goals and assisting four in the 19 matches he’s played in all competitions. He’s featured in 44 games for Uruguay and will be a go-to man for La Celeste at the World Cup. 


Young Player to Watch - Darwin Nunez 


Darwin Nunez endured a slow start to life in Liverpool, but he has started to establish himself at Anfield. The same can also be said for the national team, where he is looking to add to his 13 caps. Nunez will be one of the main focal points of the Uruguay attack, which won’t be the case for veterans Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, who are less agile and older than the former Benfica striker. 




Uruguay have a fantastic crop of players in their ranks, and this will only help them to meet their expectations and qualify from the group. They’ll most likely progress with Portugal, but whether or not they top the group will determine on how they perform against the side lead by Cristiano Ronaldo. 


Group stage prediction

1. Portugal

2. Uruguay

3. Ghana

4. South Korea

World Cup Preview - Group H: Is Ronaldo key to Portugal's chances?