Portugal might 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 kind.
However 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 possibility to put down an early marker in Group H, which additionally contains Uruguay and South Korea.
Portugal coach Fernando Santos has come below strain from native media and followers following latest disappointments – together with a last-16 Euros exit final 12 months.
There may be additionally discuss of stress within the squad and worries amongst followers that the workforce is just too targeted 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 stated on Monday. “The group is shielded. And I take this opportunity to say: stop asking about me.” However the possibilities of Ronaldo stepping out of the highlight look slim within the wake of an explosive TV interview through which he stated he had been betrayed by Manchester United, prompting hypothesis that he’ll quickly go away 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 corresponding to fellow Manchester United gamers Bruno Fernandes and Diogo Dalot and Manchester Metropolis’s Bernardo Silva, Ruben Dias and Joao Cancelo take centre stage.
Lining up towards them for Ghana are prone to be Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey, Leicester Metropolis defender Daniel Amartey and Athletic Bilbao striker Inaki Williams.
Coach Otto Addo, Ghana’s third supervisor in 12 months, has sought to rebuild the workforce after a disastrous exhibiting on the Cup of Nations in early 2022, bringing in additional European-born gamers corresponding to Brighton & Hove Albion wingback Tariq Lamptey.
However 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, might be entrusted to maintain out Ronaldo and his colleagues on Thursday.
The groups met on the 2014 World Cup in Brazil when Portugal gained 2-1 because of a late winner by Ronaldo.