Portugal will probably be eager to let their soccer do the speaking after they face Ghana of their World Cup opener on Thursday amid controversy over Cristiano Ronaldo’s feedback about Manchester United and tensions between the squad and the media.
Euro 2016 champions Portugal hammered Nigeria 4-0 of their final warm-up match earlier than flying to Qatar, providing some encouragement to their followers after a poor run of type.
But Ghana – who reached the World Cup quarter-finals in 2016 – arrived on the Arabian Peninsula with wind their sails too after beating Switzerland 2-0 in a pleasant.
The match on the 974 Stadium in Doha provides the edges the prospect to put down an early marker in Group H, which additionally consists of Uruguay and South Korea.
Portugal coach Fernando Santos has come underneath stress from native media and followers following current disappointments – together with a last-16 Euros exit final 12 months.
There can also be discuss of stress within the squad and worries amongst followers that the staff is just too centered on serving captain Ronaldo, who at 37 is previous his prime.
“The environment in the changing room is excellent. No problems,” five-times Ballon D’Or winner Ronaldo mentioned on Monday. “The group is shielded. And I take this opportunity to say: stop asking about me.” But the possibilities of Ronaldo stepping out of the highlight look slim within the wake of an explosive TV interview during which he mentioned he had been betrayed by Manchester United, prompting hypothesis that he’ll quickly depart the membership.
He led Portugal to triumph at Euro 2016 however World Cup glory has eluded him and Qatar represents his final likelihood.
Some followers say the time has already come for Ronaldo to step apart and let expertise reminiscent of fellow Manchester United gamers Bruno Fernandes and Diogo Dalot and Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva, Ruben Dias and Joao Cancelo take centre stage.
Lining up in opposition to them for Ghana are more likely to be Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey, Leicester City defender Daniel Amartey and Athletic Bilbao striker Inaki Williams.
Coach Otto Addo, Ghana’s third supervisor in 12 months, has sought to rebuild the staff after a disastrous exhibiting on the Cup of Nations in early 2022, bringing in additional European-born gamers reminiscent of Brighton & Hove Albion wingback Tariq Lamptey.
But his plans suffered a setback when each of his main goalkeepers suffered accidents, that means third-choice Lawrence Ati-Zigi, who performs at St Gallen in Switzerland, will probably be entrusted to maintain out Ronaldo and his colleagues on Thursday.
The groups met on the 2014 World Cup in Brazil when Portugal received 2-1 due to a late winner by Ronaldo.